Philips and NH Hoteles, user-centric or technology driven innovation?

NH Hoteles and Philips have announced that they will conduct an intensive two-year study into the optimization of well-being amongst hotel guests. To support the research, NH Hoteles and Philips have teamed up as a first step to create a unique room at NH Hoteles’ flagship Barbizon Palace hotel in Amsterdam featuring the latest in ambient solutions. Researchers will collect consumer insights into how different room settings and technologies affect the guests’ hotel going experience and well-being as well as their interaction and relationship with entertainment systems and lighting.

The room is named the “NH Ambient Experience”. Although I think that this study is very promising, I’m also a bit troubled. The way I see this study being conducted reads like a technology driven study.

What I’m curious about is how Philips and NH Hoteles are learning about the experiences that really connect to peoples needs. Apart from the hotel room and apart from the lighting technology available.


Photo: My most memorable hotel experience…

A nice example of a company who does research like this is Nokia. Jan Chipchase is a researcher at Nokia and keeps a blog: Future Perfect.

Future Perfect is about the collision of people, society and technology, drawing on issues related to the design research that I conduct on behalf of my employer – Nokia

I definitely don’t agree with what I read: “…experience the new state-of-the art technology”. This is not what a true experience is about. This perspective is a technology one in stead of a human one. The big question remains: “What do people want?” You really need to know that first before you provide them with technology.

I truly think and believe that Philips is a very innovative company. Especially when it comes down to technological innovation. In that field they are one of the best. But where is their customer? It is really nice to read that this study is part of the Philips ambition to become more consumer-centric. I’m looking forward to learning more about the methods Philips is using to involve users in helping them to innovate.

We will be posting about a research project we did in consumer experiences of environmentally friendly packaging soon. Turns out that the experience in the supermarket is less valuable than the experience just before the garbage bag…

How to deal with that as a producer in the FMCG market like Unilever or Ahold?



At 31Volts we love people, design and innovation. Occasionally we take the time to share our thoughts on this blog. Like what you see? Let's get in touch!

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