November 20, 2019

3 Takeaways from HORIZON NYC at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival

We were thrilled to host a HORIZON discussion focused on “The Living-Centered Economy of our Future” as part of Fast Company’s Innovation Festival in New York City earlier this month. The annual Innovation Festival unites “exceptional leaders and doers shaping the future.”

Our discussion specifically explored important topics around shifting consumer demands, how we integrate tech in to work, life and the built environment, and opportunities for positive social change in the future. The diverse and esteemed panel including Kaiser Permanente’s Chief Transformation Officer Jodie Lesh, Walt Disney Imagineering’s VP of Planning, Design and Engineering Dan Carney and our CEO Brad Lukanic addressed these topics and talked through how they apply to their different business models.

The audience featured New York City health, business, education, entertainment and real estate leaders along with designers and members of Fast Company’s Impact Council. Here are four key takeaways from the event.

Kaiser Permanente is thinking broadly about healthcare
Jodie shared that she feels “the current healthcare consumer has become disillusioned as they’ve been consistently spending more money and not seeing radically different results” and that reality requires healthcare providers and systems take on new roles to help people.

Jodie now leads Kaiser Permanente’s Office of Transformation to tackle new issues and advance projects that could lead to real breakthroughs for human health. “Kaiser Permanente has always been innovative, but we recognized the significant changes in society demanded a new level of focus and investment relative to innovation. That’s the Office of Transformation’s role.”

She added that Kaiser Permanente has a deep portfolio of efforts to solve societal challenges like hunger and homelessness, but now her team is “leading a paradigm shift when it comes to solving these issues. We’re working on entirely new business models that push our company and health in exciting new directions.”

Walt Disney Imagineering is evolving to serve new consumer experiences

“We recognize our new consumers are able to engage the Disney brand completely different than previous generations,” shared Dan. “For us, it’s not just delivering a single experience for where families can watch fireworks, attend a parade, enjoy a themed dinner or attraction … but also allowing for … and even help create individual moments in that journey.”

To make this happen, the Imagineering team is leveraging technology as a catalyst. “We are looking at opportunities for our guest to personalize their story through multiple related touchpoints regardless if they are in our parks, playing our video games, reading our books or simply purchasing our merchandise.”

This shift in consumer expectations even spurred Disney to restructure the business segment as Dan explained that “Imagineering is now a creative engine that goes beyond the parks, hotels and cruise ships; it now includes oversight of the publishing, and games business, as well as merchandise product development. We recognized that the integration of these core functions would unlock incredible potential and allow our guest to engage in stories through their personalized narrative in new ways.”

Solving today’s complex issues requires new levels of problem-solving
“Change happens so fast and issues are so complex in today’s world, we can’t problem-solve the way we used to,” explained Brad early in the session. “We really think we’re nearing the end of market segmentation where we design for Education or Health in singularity. For example, consider the total child. On a given day they can experience a hospital, their school, a community park. We need to always consider the whole continuum to best serve them. We can’t build teams or expertise in silos.”

In building these new teams, it’s also requiring design firms like CannonDesign to recruit and hire entirely new types of talent. As Brad explained, “We can’t just look for an individual with project experience and a level of years in the industry and be set anymore. We’re also now hiring computational designers, data scientists, industrial engineers,” he added. “Our teams are so differently comprised than they would have been five years ago, but that’s how we eliminate silos and help organizations best seize opportunities amidst this change and complexity.”

Our panel discussion was one piece of our engagement during the Fast Company Innovation Festival as we also teamed with Kaiser Permanente to host an interactive Fast Track later the same day. In that session, we demonstrated how living-centered strategies can help people with mental health and wellness. Attendees broke into four groups to think about new systems, products and/or services that could help people dealing with stress, anxiety, depression and more.

This marks the third year CannonDesign has been part of the Innovation Festival and we’re already looking forward to 2020.

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