I did an interview for Steve Dragoo's Experience Monitor recently. Here is the first part:
Adam Lawrence was born in the UK. He studied psychology and worked in marketing and product conception in the motorcycle industry before running away from suits to join the theater in Bavaria. He now lives in Germany and the Americas, and divides his time between acting, stand-up comedy and the experience design consultancy "Work•Play•Experience" which he runs with service innovator Markus Hormess.
We caught up with Mr. Lawrence recently, and were able to get this exclusive interview (in two parts) for readers of The Experience Monitor.
TEM: What do you think is unique about your own style of experience design?
ASL: My theatrical approach. Experience design is all about shaping a customer's perception and emotion - and showbusiness has been doing that since the first story tellers squatted at the first campfires. I use theatrical tools - like rehearsal, subtext, improvisation and staging - to help staff create an amazing, authentic experience that they and the customers truly enjoy.TEM: What can you tell us about your background, and what led you into the field of Experence Design?
ASL: I'm a trained psychologist, who won his spurs in marketing and product conception, then became an actor and comedian. What else could I possibly do? :)Put another way, my psychology background gives me an idea how people perceive and decide. My industry experiences wised me up to the problems faced by enterprises trying to innovate and to grab and grip customers. And being on stage makes me acutely, painfully aware of exactly how the audience (or customer) react to surprise, timing, phrasing and all the rest of the emotional massage that is show-biz.TEM: You are an Englishman living in Germany (and sometimes the Caribbean). There has to be a story behind your current location. What gives?ASL: Well, I got disillusioned with the whole UK marketing game for a while in the early nineties, and headed for the Alps (nearly). It's great here - but I really lucked out when part of my family moved to a quiet Caribbean nation. Both Central Europe and Jungle Central are massively stimulating, so I try to split my time and keep busy at both ends.
TEM: Who are your personal heroes in the field of Experience Design?ASL: I have to say Pine and Gilmore, because they helped me focus my thoughts on the whole subject, and Joe Pine especially was kind enough to encourage me to follow them up. Their more recent work on authenticity really came at an important time.I also think that the surprise-meister Andy Nulman is amazing. Although he doesn't call himself an experience designer, everything he does is about focussing on the customer and exceeding expectations. And he keeps on doing it again and again...Otherwise it absolutely has to be Bugs Bunny. Seriously. Timing and (apparent) effortlessness are nine tenths of the battle.
The Experience Monitor is a great little newsletter produced by Service Solutions. Here's the relevant issue. If you sign up now, you'll be in time for the second half of the interview... ;)