The good life gaps in-between the future.
Working as a futurist can be very joyful and at times very frustrating, especially when thinking about the gaps in user experience as a business traveller moving around continents.
I really enjoy my work a lot. I am grateful I have the opportunity to be able to travel around the world and take the stage - usually for an hour or longer - to share my knowledge, experiences and my ideas
with smart and very diverse audiences around the world. It’s the exchanges with the people I appreciate the most, that’s where we learn from each other.
In the last two weeks, I travelled from Istanbul, Turkey to Lima, Peru (via Barcelona, Spain and Bogota, Colombia), to Moscow, Russia and to Minneapolis, USA (via Amsterdam, The Netherlands). Next week, I’m travelling to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (via London, UK and Bridgetown, Barbados) before I go and visit my family in Belgium for Christmas. Eleven countries in a few weeks time, eleven different cultures, all with very different views on the world and how to live a good life.
Every visit is a different experience, depending on the mind-set of the people you’re interacting with and their past cultural exchanges and history. Feelings and observations can vary from interacting with the not very human-centric and chaotic structures in Colombia to the loving, caring and joyful rituals of Peruvians, from the proud and determined Russians to the fast-food induced and media overloaded Americans.
Whatever the mood, every one of them is fascinated by the future and how to best prepare for it. The future used to be something we read about or see in science-fiction stories or movies, something to happen in 20 or 50 years, now the future comes closer every day as we are witnessing all the marvels we can create with technology.
The future doesn’t always have to be about big concepts and ideas, much of the areas to improve in creating better lives and experiences are in the small details. Just look at my user-experience as a business class traveller in the last couple of weeks, it’s not always smooth and perfect as it may seem or promised.
I listed below a couple of areas where improvement and better coordination between the partner airlines is very much needed.
• constantly having to input personal data during checkin at airlines and their partner web sites (Turkish Airlines, KLM, Delta Airlines, Atlas Global, Avianca)
• cancelling connecting flights while not being informed in time to make changes (Avianca)
• different checkin platforms/interfaces for different partners (all of the above mentioned)
• no API integration on mobile for partner connecting flights (all of the above mentioned)
• different lounges to go to then the one you did the booking with due to partner agreements (KLM, Delta Airlines, Atlas Global)
• different languages without language options (Atlas Global in Turkish only!)
• no vegan meal options (Delta Airlines, Atlas Global, Avianca)
• bad hotel choices when missing a connection (Avianca)
• average food in airport lounges (KLM, Delta Airlines, Atlas Global, Avianca)
• no updated or personalised entertainment selection on board (my personal wish list for all of the above)
Most of these things can be easily avoided with a bit of coordination between the companies proposing themselves all as partners while serving ‘at their best’ for business class travellers.
I want my clients, airlines, hotels, companies and people in my business travellers ecosystem journey to know my personal preferences (my favourite airlines and hotels, my vegan choice, the recipes I like the most, the music and movies I like, the kind of design I appreciate, unique experiences to live in places and cities, …) to propose me a supreme customised experience while travelling as I’m used to with my other favourite online services.
Where are the co-creation, co-design and co-innovation with customers from these brands?
When talking about the future, those are the things I’d like to focus on, they are not complicated and with a bit of vision and determination, these are the real ‘humanised’ services of the future, a future I’m looking forward to and rather not too far off.
I’m reflecting a lot on how to reduce my carbon footprint, how to move towards applying this better in my personal life, and how to create a more sustainable business model for what we do with human works design
. What about you?
In this week’s newsletter, you can read about humanist futures of learning, children first world design, social science, purpose beyond profit, decentralised autonomous organisations, sustainability, future of work and a lot of interesting links on artificial intelligence.
Enjoy the reading!