Toppling the Towers

Take a look at this video. It was passed around our office recently.


We had a long discussion about it in one of our weekly staff meeting. If you were there, you could easily tell that it struck a nerve. I think that is because the core message in this video encapsulates what we try to do.

In the video, Ole Scheeren, an architect, explains how he solved architecture problems differently. In each case, he could have built something standard to meet the need. He could have built just another big tower in the case of the Headquarter for China’s National Broadcaster. Or he could have built a group of towers to build 1,040. Both would have been sufficient and solved the problem at hand.

But he looked deeper at the experiences and at the stories involved. He found that there were other problems to solve. Another tower wouldn’t become a pop icon figure and a piece of culture. Just like a group of towers won’t build a community. This requires a deeper look at the experience of the people around and using the product while solving their functional problems.

This is how we look at digital experiences. We can design and build just another logo, website or marketing campaign (i.e. towers). Or we can “topple the towers” and provide an experience for the community around it. We see digital much like Ole sees architecture — as complex systems of relationships.

I think that’s why this video speaks to us. We worry more about the people and the experience and not just building another tower.

If you didn’t watch the video yet, then do so. It’s only 16 minutes. I hope it will inspire you as much as it did us.