21 July 2009

Happy birthday Experientia

Be the first to share

Experientia
On 21 July 2009, Experientia turns four years old. From four friends and business partners to an office of over twenty staff and collaborators, Experientia has grown quickly. It’s a far cry from the early days of meeting in partners’ homes, but it has been an interesting journey.

From idea to experience – the founding of a company
We begin the story at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, where both Mark Vanderbeeken and Jan-Christoph Zoels were working, Mark as Communications Manager and Jan-Christoph as Senior Associate Professor. Based in Italy, the two friends were busy strategising about building an experience design consultancy, which could compete with leading design agencies in Europe.

At that time Michele Visciola was working as an international usability expert and teaching at Milan Polytechnic. He had previously founded an Italian usability company that was bought by a major software company, and now wanted to start an international company.

In April 2003, Michele co-organised a conference on the semantic web at the Interaction Design Institute. Speaking with Mark, he talked about his ambition to found a company; the story began to take on a shape of its own. Before long, Mark had introduced Michele to Jan-Christoph, and they had met up with Pierpaolo. With a gestation period of two years, including meetings in Rome, Milan, Turin and the Ivrea countryside, the idea of an experience design company was developed. In the spring of 2005 the four met for a one and a half day conference, and brainstormed on the philosophy, concepts and strategies that would underlie the business. Michele came up with the name, with inspiration striking him in the train station of Milano Centrale on the way back from a business meeting!

After finding the name, the next important step was securing the right website address. Experientia.com was owned by BuyDomains, a domain name trader, and was for sale at a cost of US $2800. Pierpaolo dictated his personal credit card details over the phone to Mark, in order to quickly buy the domain name – the first official Experientia transaction!

On the 21st July 2005, at the offices of their notary, Experientia was officially born.

The early days
The first challenge was to find a home for the company. The partners soon moved into the fourth floor of Via Cesare Battisti 15, overlooking the charming piazza Carlo Alberto in the heart of historical Turin. Within a year, they found that they had outgrown the space, and began looking for new, more spacious offices. The search took them all over Turin, including an eerie 17th-century building which housed the ex-offices of the Inquisition! Finally the search led them in a full circle, when the partners noticed a sign for the current office space on the second floor of the same building. In March 2007 they moved into the new offices, without even needing to change the business cards!

All over the world
The Experientia staff have always had an international flavour, with current team members coming from as far away as Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea and the USA just to name a few. The staff, just like the clients, were originally sourced from the partners’ wide networks, built over twenty years of professional experience each.

The atmosphere at Experientia is open and collaborative, with a horizontal structure, and a hands-on approach from the partners, who choose to be strongly involved in the projects. The partners each bring a different area of expertise to the mix, as do the staff, with experts in strategy, design, usability and communications.

The client roster now boasts an impressive list of new and past clients, including some of the biggest names in telecommunications, technology and fashion, from all over the world. The Experientia reputation has grown over the years through word of mouth, based on innovative processes, creative solutions and high quality deliverables This is also due to the active communications and outreach strategy of the partners, which includes the highly successful blog Putting People First, presentations at conferences and workshops, and articles in such well-known industry journals as Interactions Magazine.

To the next four years… and many more
As Experientia continues to grow, the team strives to bring user research and design together, and to communicate the message that companies and public services must start putting people first. The vision for the future includes continued growth, despite the economic slowdown, with the possible setting-up of business units that deal with specific areas, such as health care, or public governance, and regional offices. Part of this expansion will be a greater emphasis on service design, experience prototyping, the integration between international usability and design, and the development of design strategies.

The last four years have been an unforgettable experience for all involved, positioning Experientia for exciting opportunities in the years ahead.

Client roster
Adaptive Path (USA), Alcatel-Lucent (France, Spain), Area Association (Italy) with project site DiTo, Arits Consulting (Belgium), Arup (UK), AVIS (Italy), Barclays (Italy, UK), Blyk (Finland, UK), Casa.it (Italy), Cittadellarte (Italy), City of Genk (Belgium), Condé Nast (Italy) with project site Style.it, Conifer Research (USA), CSI-Piemonte (Italy), CVS-Pharmacy (USA), Dada.it (Italy), Design Flanders (Belgium), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Expedia (UK), Facem Tre Spade (Italy), Fidelity International (UK), Finmeccanica (Italy), Flanders in Shape (Belgium), Foviance (Italy), Fujitsu-Siemens (Germany), Haier (China), Hewlett Packard (India), Idean (Finland), IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia), IKS-Core Consulting (Italy), Istud Foundation (Italy), Keep Sight (USA), Kodak (USA), LAit (Italy), Last Minute (UK), La Voce di Romagna (Italy), Max Mara (Italy), Media & Design Academy (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), Motorola (USA), MPG Ferrero (Italy), Nokia (Denmark, Finland, France), Red Hat (USA), Research in Motion (Canada), Samsung (Italy, Korea, UK), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Italy), Swisscom (Switzerland), Syneo (Italy), Tandem Seven (USA), Techno System S.p.A (Italy), Thomson CompuMark (USA), Torino 2008 World Design Capital (Italy), Usability Professionals’ Association (Italy), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, UK), and Whirlpool (UK).

Be the first to share
28 May 2015
The driverless car push ignores challenges of people and context
Autonomous or driverless cars are based on a technology push strategy. Beyond statements like “freeing up time”, “reducing accidents” and some simple scenarios on “remote parking” or “vehicle sharing”, there is far too little thought …
25 May 2015
A Bauhaus-inspired, human-centered internet of things
In a short opinion piece in The Guardian, Jenny Judge and Julia Powles state that the Bauhaus movement could be a model for a more human-centered internet of things: "Back in the early 20th century, the …
17 May 2015
We are ignoring the new machine age at our peril
In 2009, W Brian Arthur published a remarkable book, The Nature of Technology, in which he formulated a coherent theory of what technology is, how it evolves and how it spurs innovation and industry. Technology, …
17 May 2015
Design thinking without deep analysis is reckless. A more balanced approach is needed.
Larry Keeley, co-founder of innovation firm Doblin which is now a unit of Deloitte Consulting LLP, says that too often advocates of “design” regard it as an elixir that can somehow transform conservative companies into …
10 May 2015
Developing patient-centred care: an ethnographic study of patient perceptions and influence on quality improvement
Developing patient-centred care: an ethnographic study of patient perceptions and influence on quality improvement By Alicia Renedo and Cicely Marston BMC Health Services Research (2015) 15:122 DOI 10.1186/s12913-015-0770-y Background - Understanding quality improvement from a patient perspective is …
9 May 2015
Modernizing the US immigration system with user-centered design
Vivian Graubard describes on WhiteHouse.gov how the U.S. Digital Service is working on modernizing the USA’s still largely paper based immigration service, pairing a better technical base with user-centered design. We traveled to USCIS (United States …
5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster
Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to …
5 May 2015
Intel anthropologist creates data processing tool for Quantified Self community
When data can be both individual, and potentially aggregated across many people, who does and does not have a say in what “the data” ultimately means? A thought provoking piece by Dawn Nafus, an anthropologist …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

See all articles