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A Maze-Like Park to Keep People Apart

Many public parks have closed worldwide because of the fear that people can’t follow the  six foot physical/social distancing guidelines, limiting the outdoor places people have to escape, exercise, and enjoy the outdoors.

Austria-based studio Precht used this new rule as a design constraint to conceptualize “Park de la Distance”—a maze-like park that encourages physical distance in Vienna. It is shaped by the human touch: inspired by a fingerprint and LOOKING like an elaborate green labyrinth from above. With parallel lanes for visitors to stroll through the green landscape, each lane allows only one person to enter at a time, with thoughtful gates and visual cues indicating if the path is free. The walk is intended to serve as an urban oasis for a 20 minute stroll to self-reflect, center and be outside while staying safe.

So many aspects of our life, work, and world are being imagined and designed anew in this pandemic. What simple aspect of your Experience, using a physical distancing constraint, could be transformed?

Volume 16 – New Ways of LOOKING
”What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. …
Though we may all look at the same things,
it does not all follow that we should see them.”
— John Lubbock

Make the Invisible Visible

Cinematographer and friend of The Experience Lab, Louie Schwartzberg, has an uncanny way of shining light on what otherwise would be ignored or unseen. In this video from STIR showcases his use of stunning time-lapse photography, as well as high-speed and nano-photography, to capture the movements in nature that are too small, slow, or fast for our eyes to process with normal vision. “I love to use film to take us on a journey through the portals of time and space, to make the invisible visible… Who knows what waits to be seen, and what wonders will transform our lives?”

What details in our organizations might we be missing with our naked eye? What tools might we use to Notice on a more detailed level where we have opportunities to grow, or where unexpected beauty exists?

The Future in Sight

Apps allow us to control our homes. Our music. Our communications. Our social life. Why not our vision too? Enter the Smart Glasses

that can automatically adjust their focus with the press of a button. These liquid-filled beauties are controlled by a mobile app that only needs updated prescription information to remain accurate for the user.

“The major advantage of these smart eyeglasses is that once a person puts them on, the objects in front of the person always show clear, no matter at what distance the object is,” says Carlos Mastrangelo, the electrical and computer engineering professor LEADING the research along with doctoral student Nazmul Hasan.

This is good news for our ability to Notice because Noticing, of course, requires seeing things clearly. By the age of 45 most of us will need glasses for reading, and those who do wear glasses will be changing prescriptions on a nearly annual basis. That’s a lot of time and money to ensure that we can see clearly. With these new smart glasses, we’ll never have to replace a prescription again, and we’ll be able to shift perspectives however we choose. These clunky spectacles may LOOK a little odd now, yet don’t fear; the team is still working on streamlining the design. The future is bright!

Why You Gotta Be So Rude?

Researchers have Noticed that rudeness does more than affect doctors’ moods – it actually impacts performance. This New York Times piece examines the research and highlights that, although many health care professionals may feel immune to rudeness, it does in fact change how they behave and perform. Rudeness creates a negative environment, and it’s important to Notice the energy around us and where various influences come from. To help prevent the negativity, we can look carefully for potential sparks for those behaviors. What sets people off? How is stress playing a role? What pressures can we help alleviate? Rudeness affects our spirit, morale, and behaviors. We need to Notice it before it gets in the way of health and in the way of healing.

What might upset parents or patients in our hospitals? What about our nurses and doctors? In what ways might we help maintain a positive environment by eliminating negative cues?

See the World Differently? It Could Be in Your Genes.

Is your brain missing the art appreciation chip? It could be your genes. In this fascinating New York Times Magazine piece, the author explores a recent study in the Journal of Personality and highlighted in New Scientist that demonstrates how artists and creative people really do see the world differently.

In the study, volunteers took a personality test measuring their levels of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to Experience, as well as a vision test called the “binoculary rivalry” in which each eye takes in a different color and/or image. While most participants reported seeing one color at a time, others saw something else–the two dots merged together into a single, two-colored image. This handful of people also tested very highly on the “openness to new Experience” trait which is closely linked to creativity. The researchers argued that “openness is linked to differences in low-level visual perceptual Experience.” Lead author and psychologist Anna Antinori wrote, “Their brains are able to flexibly engage with less conventional solutions … We believe this is the first empirical evidence that they have different visual Experiences to the average individual.” We may in fact be hard-wired to Notice things differently.

As the conductor in your organization, how can you utilize your team members’ ability to see the world differently?

Volume 15 – Noticing Details Large and Small

Noticing takes practice. In this most unusual time, there are incredible insights, ideas and innovations we are Noticing emerge in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attention to details large and small, that are worth spotlighting, as businesses do their part to support flattening the curve. LUSH is promoting hand washing guidelines and offering free hand washing stations in their storefronts in the UK.  Delta Flight Products shifted its attention from making aircraft interiors to making face shields to support health caregivers. And Zappos is repurposing what it does best—providing exceptional customer service and helping people find answers for anything. It’s inspiring to see so many industries pivoting to do what they can to make the Experience better for everyone. 

In this time of COVID, are you Noticing daily details more vividly? Take time to Notice if  there are small moments or elements from our day (of which we may have previously been blinded to) that are now more present and in our sights.

Seeing with Sound

Sonic astrophysicist Wanda Diaz Merced studies the stars in an unconventional way: through listening.When she lost her sight halfway through her career, instead of losing hope, she got creative and found a new way to Notice the stars about which she was so passionate. We tend to first Notice with our eyes, yet how might we use our other senses to Notice as well? Think about our workplaces and the Experiences we create there. How do other senses, such as sound or smell, shape the Experience of our internal and external customers? Think about our waiting spaces, offices, or lounge areas. Do our places feel warm and inviting or sterile and isolating? Are they loud or soothing? What provokes our sense of smell or touch? What kind of impressions emerge when we immerse ourselves in those spaces with our eyes closed?


The Anti-Noticing

While we may feel more distracted now than ever, the notion of distraction has been around since the beginning of humanity. Plato, Shakespeare, Homer, and even the Greek god Hercules, acknowledged and used distractions. This provocative piece in the Harvard Business Review by Michael Lipson, a clinical psychologist, explores the history of a distracted mind and shows how we can examine our own distractions to understand how to create greater focus.

Whether the tactic is used in meditation, in a meeting, or while trying to meet a deadline for an important report, Lipson agrees that when we intentionally acknowledge and Notice our distraction, we have a choice to refocus on the task at hand instead of floating idly into mind-space.

This Week in “Big E Experience”: Keep Climbing

Pre COVID-19, catalysts in The Experience Lab spent much of our time on Delta Airlines. It is an airline The Lab has trusted and admired for their commitment to their Experience, from the inside out. During these difficult times, we’ve continued to Notice and the positive way Delta is communicating details. CEO Ed Bastian sent a memo first to team members clarifying Delta’s commitment and the safety measures being put in place to keep everyone safe and healthy. Next, he shared with customers Delta’s commitment to extending SkyMiles through 2021, waiving travel fees and sharing news of the new “Delta Clean.” This small message, while seemingly insequential to some, matters to so many and demonstrates the power of small details in the alignment of brand message and brand Experience, 

In unprecedented times, Delta is also exemplifying why it matters that we experiment, learn, and grow every step of the way. Delta shares frequently the many ways they are learning from this Experience. It’s what we call “Experience Resilience,” and it’s as important in health care as it is in the airline industry.

What are you Noticing about how organizations are communicating during this time of crisis? Is the communication amplifying or detracting from the overall brand Experience? What small details are making the greatest difference?