Ask for our latest article, On Authenticity

My latest interactions column (written with Stokes Jones, Principal of Lodestar) On Authenticity has just been published.

While in Las Vegas for the first time a number of years ago, we had occasion to visit the Las Vegas Hilton where “Star Trek: The Experience” was operating. The immersive “themed attraction” spilled over into a cafe (Quark’s Bar and Restaurant) and shopping area both modeled after the TV show “Star Trek: Deep Space 9.” This led to slightly dissonant sights, such as an Andorian sitting at a table hawking credit card offers, where the free gift was a plastic sports bottle topped with an Andorian head. As we strolled through the Deep Space 9 Promenade, we came upon two Klingons. Of course, it was two actors portraying Klingons, but let’s set that important difference aside for a moment. They were chatting with tourists and posing for pictures. Eagerly waiting for his moment was a young boy with Down’s Syndrome, wearing a James T. Kirk T-shirt. (Some quick backstory: In the lore of “Star Trek,” Kirk and the Klingons were enemies.) As these two Klingons chatted with the boy and posed for a picture with him, the actors delivered a magical experience as they maintained character and gruffly acknowledged (just gruffly enough) the boy’s T-shirt and what it represented to them. They found a way to be kind to a vulnerable person while not destroying what he was there to appreciate: the essence of their Klingon-ness, their “Star Trek”-ness. Given that we were in Vegas, where a veneer of grandiosity often stands in for authenticity, this was a touching and impressive moment.

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Last spring I spoke about authenticity with the University of Oregon’s Contemporary Design class. I’d like to find other groups who would be interested in this presentation. To give you a little taste, we put together this quickie highlight from the talk:

Please get in touch if your organization would be interested in our interactive presentation on Creating Authentic Product Experiences.

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