The Vision of the GCC Experience Transformation Road-map: Where to Start?

In Design Research activities, you face many touching stories where you sympathize and engage with but I still remember that old and calm gentleman who was participating in a design research activity concerning some failure aspects of a healthcare system. He was setting among three other interviewees where everyone was telling his case. When it was his turn, he told us about his beloved young daughter’s painful case that was full of details and suffering moments. When he was done telling the story,  we discovered that his daughter has died and that he only came to the interview in case this can help in saving  someone else’s daughter.

Upon writing my first article of this seriesTowards An Experience Transformation Road-map for The Gulf Cooperation Council Service Landscape!” I received this difficult yet important question “where to start?”. Although I think I’ve many answers to this question but mentioning all possible answers and solutions will complicate the idea behind this whole initiative which is meant to simplify the actions and steps in this journey so I decided to move with only one solution that I believe will open doors for tons of other solutions. But before talking about the solution, I’d like to mention the reason behind the keyword “Transformation” that’s at the center of this initiative.

In business and commercial contexts it can be accepted to talk about service and experience as the basis of transaction between the company and its customers but in a country and its citizens context this will be improvident. A transformation is what every person really desire and it’s what Pine and Gilmore referred to as a distinct economic offering, the fifth and final one in their Progression of Economic Value.

To further elaborate on the importance of Transformation as the ultimate economic offering, I’d like to refer to this important excerpt from Pine and Gilmore’s The Experience Economy:

“While commodities are fungible, goods tangible, services intangible, and experiences memorable, transformations are effectual. All other economic offerings have no lasting consequence beyond their consumption. Even memories of an experience fade over time. But buyers of transformation seek to be guided toward some specific aim or purpose, and transformations must elicit that intended effect. That’s why we call such buyers aspirants; they aspire to be someone or something different. Without a change in attitude, performance, characteristics, or some other fundamental dimension of self, no transformation occurs. And this change should be not only in degree but also in kind, not only in function but also in structure. The transformation affects the very being of the person.”

I believe the experience transformation will happen in every GCC country when every family and family member living in these countries is familiar with and able to use the Human Centered Design “also referred to as Design Thinking “with some differences that can be mentioned in an Academic context” approach and mindset in each and every day to day communication activity.

I mentioned the family as it is the foundation of society and the common platform for every person of the society be a service provider, policy maker, teacher, nurse, patient, student, minister, physician, parent, son or daughter, brother or sister to name a few. Usually every family member will take her/his perceptions, experiences and inherits to their interactions with the outside community members whether as service providers or receivers.

What that gentleman did in the design research activity mentioned above is the highest level of transformation or can even be of a higher degree which is to contribute for the good of the others even if your own need is impossible to be met.

The vision of the solution is to facilitate building a “Co-Design Innovation Lab, CDIL” in each city of the GCC countries. This CDIL should be on the city level not on the ministry or municipality level to avoid the silo and selfish initiatives and to be people centered not government or ministry centered. Every CDIL will be the hub for research, concept development, testing and prototyping ideas and solutions for the communicated problems and challenges. Therefore, people (citizens, policy makers, decision makers, expats…) will meet in this place to talk, discuss, and work together for co-building a better future.

We will follow the human centered design mindset and approach to be the umbrella for the whole initiative. This will be a long journey but for making this happen, we’ll start with small initiative to be the enabler and facilitator of the ultimate vision.
The next article will describe the CDIL initiative in details and will provide the possible ways of contributions and support for anyone who is interested in supporting or being part of this initiative.

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