You Need An Experience Architect

I’m often asked how my 6 years of architecture school plays into what I do right now.  I have a variety of things that I believe I learned in architecture that help me, but it wasn’t until the other day that it really clicked.  I was reading an interview about a CEO who had been trained as an architect.  She described architecture as building experiences.

All of sudden it hit me…that’s what I do.  I help companies look at an objective and architect the consumer experience to get to that objective.  And, it’s a lot of fun!

So, what are the parallels between healthcare communications and physical architecture?

  • There is no one answer.
  • You have to listen.
  • There is lots of data.
  • You have to use lots of materials. (print, e-mail, web, automated call versus concrete, glass, steel)
  • Each person’s experience is different.
  • Compliance matters. (building codes versus CMS)

Now, unfortunately, I can’t coin the term “experience architect”.  It’s been used by others.  For example, Tom Kelley from IDEO used it as one of his Ten Faces of Innovation.  He says an experience architect is one who:

Is that person relentlessly focused on creating remarkable individual experiences. This person facilitates positive encounters with your organization through products, services, digital interactions, spaces, or events. Whether an architect or a sushi chef, the Experience Architect maps out how to turn something ordinary into something distinctive—even delightful—every chance they get.

Fast Company talks about the Experience Architect in an article from 2005.  More commonly you’ll find articles or references to user experience architect. 

The point is that you need to think about things in this light, and I think the architectural paradigm is helpful in how you construct and embrace the creation of an experience for the consumer whether it’s around shopping, adherence, or managing diabetes.

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