Expect Experiences that Have a Positive Environmental Impact

The challenge of the next decade will be to reimagine how we live through the lens of environmental empathy.

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As the impact that humans have on the environment becomes impossible to ignore, we need to balance our personal actions against the toll they take on the environment. From an experience perspective, this doesn’t mean ignoring the personal aspect of experience and replacing it with a focus on the environment. Rather, the change will be to better balance the two. When it comes to experience design, this requires us to redesign or invent new experiences that serve a purpose larger than customer-centricity.

This demand will only grow in the coming years. It is no secret that more individuals are focused on environmental issues as the threat of climate change grows. As this begins in earnest, the time to make experiences more aligned with environmental issues is now.

There are several distinct ways that environment-driven design may be manifested in a customer experience. One of the most important changes will be increasing “environmental empathy” in the experience. Experience design was developed on the premise of being human centered; however, this investment in a singular focus has created “human selfish” experiences. Going forward, this will be balanced with more focus on the environment. Green value-add will also begin to permeate experiences. Experiences that do no harm are simple, but the real benefit comes from doing good or impacting the planet in a positive way during the experience.

Brands that are focused on environmental empathy will use their design to `differentiate themselves from competitors that appear less environmentally minded. In some industries or verticals, such as eco-travel, we may well see a race to “out-green” the competition. To showcase the commitment, look for some brands to design experiences that make bold commitments to sustainability and positive impact. This will include helping customers see how their actions can help or be beneficial. Positioning a purchase or interaction as delivering a positive environmental result will be important to a substantial number of customers who may make decisions based on the visibility of their beneficial impact.

It is important to realize that forming partnerships and working in coordination with partner brands will enable some amazing offers and experiences that will have profound impact. For example, imagine if Airbnb, Uber, and Apple joined forces to completely rethink the urban living experience and reduce human impact. Then imagine if they went a step further and invited people from every walk of life in those communities into those conversations that support more responsible actions.  This would be an incredibly bold commitment and one that would certainly generate a great deal of excitement.

It should be noted, however, that real progress is already being made. After launching the world’s first reusable tampon applicator earlier this year, DAME is now carbon-positive. This is a key part of the overall experience and marketing strategy. For more information about environment-driven design and other new experience trends discovered by Cognizant Digital Experience, go to: https://www.cognizant.com/digital-experience/future-of-digital-experience/ecocentric-design.

Coming Next:

Centrality in Well-Being: The pandemic made us much more health-aware. Well-being isn’t guaranteed. In the future, experiences will support delivering self-care and well-being either directly or as part of an adjacent transaction. Exciting new approaches such as using gamification to showcase well-being features will help brands attain the role of a trusted partner. As more of the population, both older and younger, makes health a primary focus of their life, this well-being functionality will become more of a competitive differentiator.

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