The TIDE Conference at ISE encourages design thinking and creative synthesis in AV.

Where and when do you have your best ideas? In your office? Hunched over the conference room table? Probably not, said Kevin Jackson, editor-and-chief of Live magazine and moderator of TIDE (Technology Innovation Design Experience), convening February 5 during ISE 2018 in Amsterdam. Jackson suggested that our most original and revolutionary thoughts often strike in unexpected times and places. That’s why it’s crucial for AV professionals to see the familiar in fresh ways and explore radically new perspectives. It is this laboratory mindset that fuels TIDE and illustrates how AV businesses can benefit from design thinking.

Kevin Jackson urged TIDE’s 200 attendees to “take creativity seriously,” especially in this time of dramatic economic transformation. “This is the experience economy,” he noted. “Great marketing used to be about what you said, now it is about what you do for people. It’s how you add value to their lives.” He added that context and storytelling are key. But not just the stories you tell your clients; “it’s the stories you tell yourself. Business starts with personal growth.”

The riddle driving Daan Roosegaarde, an award-winning artist, change maker, and founder of Amsterdam’s Studio Roosegaarde, is how to yoke creativity and technological acumen for the greater social good. In his passionate opening keynote, “Landscapes of the Future,” Roosegaarde shared a call to action: “Everyone has creative power. It just has to be triggered.”

Jan-Erik Baars began his TIDE talk, “Design Thinking as a Strategy for Lasting Innovation,” with a definition: “Understand design thinking not as a standalone activity.” If you want to capture design thinking, he said, and make it essential for your business and lay the foundation to leverage it. “Design thinking asks [us to consider] why you are in business and how you respond to the challenges your customers might have.” This holistic strategy will help create the exceptional experiences that will shape the future of the AV industry.

“In the past, innovation was about technology…creating functions,” Baars explained. “Now innovation is about integrating experiences into seamlessly integrated channels for the user. The quality of the customer experience will determine whether you will have success.”

In the TIDE Talk “Lighting Design Meets Design Thinking,” Berlin-based educator and creator Sabine de Schutter showcased the poetic science of lighting design. She outlined the myriad ways design thinking has enhanced her architectural lighting design practice. “It’s about questioning the status quo, thinking with your hands,” she said. de Schutter also encouraged conference attendees to involve stakeholders from the beginning of a project, even prototyping and co-creating together.

While the day’s speakers represented various industries, from art to retail, the common thread was the transformative power of imagination. It’s a motor that will help keep AV professionals agile as technologies evolve and, in turn, help businesses thrive.

TIDE's Global Partners, Biamp, Nureva, and Samsung, joined AVIXA to bring this vital program to life in Amsterdam. “We can’t imagine a better way to kick off ISE than talk about technology, innovation, design, and the whole experience,” said Amanda Roe, Biamp’s Global Public Relations Manager / Research Manager. “It’s a great opportunity for us to participate as sponsor and start a new tradition.”

Other TIDE highlights included “The Interplay of Creativity and Commerce;” “Visualization in the Design Process;” a design thinking mindset workshop; a BMW product launch event case study on sound as a luxury; “Space As a Means of Communication; and “People, Stores and Technology.”

Margot Douaihy is the content director of AV Technology.

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