Future Hunters warmed up the Tuesday (slightly hungover) crowd rather nicely. It isn’t an easy task to deliver on the role of opening act, entertainer and experts in trend. The team of Erica and Jared did it again and certainly with a more cantankerous crowd than Monday as many cocktails were likely consumed just six hours earlier. Thank you for the caffeine for our brains to get us going.
The man, the Nobel prize winning author and the icon in behavioral economics was on the stage next. Daniel Kahneman, the author of Thinking, Fast and Slow sat for a discussion with Anthony Gell, author of The Book of Leadership. To start, let’s all acknowledge Mr. Gell’s exceptional job of interviewing such a brilliant mind without being tongue-tied. Now, to a hero of ours, Daniel gave us pages from his book but in his voice and while he didn’t translate for shopper marketing it was worth every word. Just listening to how Daniel’s mind works was insightful. If you need more on his models, the book is your best resource. It should be a required read for any research, finance or marketing department in any corporation.
The next group on the stage was a panel of Sumaiya Balbale from Jet.com, John R. Whitaker from Lowe’s and Emily Shannon from Mall of America. Emily was a returning face to the big stage and she continued to deliver unique nuggets beyond her content from yesterday (also not easy). Sumaiya gave us a quantity of nuggets from the frugal next generation of shoppers who default to digital. John Whitaker balanced physical and digital with how relevant Lowe’s is within Pinterest while still being a retailer with designed moments in a physical space.
The subject was the future of retail, which is facing some tremendous challenges with Alibaba, Amazon and others moving so much of buying online. And, with some countries in the world going from open markets to digital markets and skipping “the mall” economic phase entirely. Based on what we heard, retail has a vibrant future when it is properly blended between physical and digital. For some of you this is confirming, but for others it may be helpful to know retail has been around, will be around and the ability to understand what happens in the moment when people and brands intersect will always be important.
Our sleepy session, Kirk Olson from Horizon Media surprised the crowd with so many morsels of intriguing content it formed a moment of people asking for his presentation. While it didn’t look interesting on face (printed) value, Kirk delivered a full meal deal (sorry, McDonalds) for this audience of curious minds. While we gathered some of the items in a Twitter feed under #OmniShopperEvent your best bet is downloading the pages of his presentation and carving it up yourself. It is well worth the space on your hard drive.
Now, a bit on the conversations in-between. With some breaks, a lunch and other hallway conversations we discovered some of the larger threads of yarn from the morning. Here they are: 1. Cognitive Biases and how do we see beyond these to understand true human behavior; 2. The future of retail is bright and the design of moments is a big part of it; 3. The trends coming from wearables, getting back to authentic stories and vintage high-touch experiences. The morning had plenty of fuel for some empty brain tanks.
The afternoon slid a bit as the crowd may not have been into the conversations or perhaps we heard the term millennials just a few too many times. Whatever the case, the afternoon speakers had a larger uphill climb to get us back. Celeste Ireland spoke on telling stories with data and gave us a peak inside the culture of Maple Leaf Foods. From here we got a taste (actually no samples provided) of what Hershey is doing to break through some hard shell congestive biases in retail. While the lack of samples left this writer sorely disappointed, Kindle Partica delivered a concise and content rich speech with brain science, chocolate studies and a great case study with results. The lack of chocolate was overcome with great content. BTW, Welch’s provided samples in their presentation. Just saying…
Last, the bonus from the day came from the number of times our favorite behavioral economist and Nobel winner mentioned the word design. Daniel Kahneman is a big fan of the design world and repeatedly spoke to the importance of design with purpose. We haven’t met many economists and certainly few who talk about the importance of design. The birds sang and the words painted rainbows in our heads each time Daniel spoke (unprompted) on the subject of design.
Hello world, we are a design firm and we’re here to help, reach out when you would like to talk. We’d love to hear more challenging problems to solve. It’s the stuff that keeps us energized.
Now, let’s get some rest (in the form of a cold glass -or five- of Pinot Grigio) and we will see you back here tomorrow for day three.
Aaron Keller, Principal
I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader
and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting
idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it
to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and
numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks,
I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone.
Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior
and design? Oh, it’s on.
Kitty Hart, Director
I am the HartofCapsule, caring for our clients, friends,