Digital Agency

Conjure Circle Highlights: June 2023

Sam Hannah

June 23, 2023

Key takeaways from June’s Conjure Circle Breakfast: Exploring Digital in 2023 and Beyond.

In this Conjure Circle Breakfast, we were joined by industry leaders from from Abatable, Motorway, Molo, TrueLayer, Volta Trucks, and Vyne. This month’s event saw us delve into what might be disrupting industries when digitising, what’s next for digital transformation, some of the success stories of digital implementations across companies, and a few other key issues.

Below, Sam, Bob, Rachel, Bea, and Josh from Conjure’s senior leadership team delve into their key takeaways from the conversations.

Sam’s Key Takeaways

AI naturally came up within 30 seconds, and Rachel’s takeaway covers that base so I’ll leave that for her! What was new was the discussion around the Apple Vision Pro, and opinions on the device were divided. I fall into the optimist camp; excited about the potential and keen to see it succeed. The sceptics pointed out the failure of the metaverse and Apple’s misfires with the Newton and Pippin. It was universally agreed that Apple missed the mark with the father / children scene in the launch video, with one asking “Are the kids dead”? It was also agreed that win or lose, if anyone has a shot of making an AR headset work it would be Apple.

Curiously blockchain also popped up in conversation taking me straight back to 2018. When the room was challenged to name a successful blockchain product only the Maersk / IBM supply chain programme was mentioned, which prompted me to see where that ended up. Turns out it got shelved. I’d be genuinely curious to see a blockchain success story so if you spot one do let me know!

Bob’s Key Takeaways

We’re now exactly a year on from when we started with our Conjure Circle — that’s eight Circles in, over 96 plates of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, Blueberry pancakes and Eggs Benedict, countless cups of coffee, and glasses of orange juice consumed before 10:30am in the middle of our summer months!

I’m enjoying every moment of opening and closing our breakfasts, meeting our new attendees, and watching our Conjure Circle grow from strength to strength. Each breakfast leaves me feeling supercharged for the day ahead, but also hugely reflective around people’s responses to our questioning themes, and where they are within their organisations own digital journey. And it feels like we’ll continue to keep spiralling in debate when we discover it’s ‘All Change Again’ and when we ask each other ‘Are we there yet?’. Our quests to nail our digital transformation backlogs are all stories to be continued.

Rachel’s Key Takeaways

This month’s event began as quite a few have over the last few months — with a strong emphasis on the emergence and potential dominance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in various industries. We discussed the prevalence of AI and the concept of “AI-ifying” products with growing integration of these technologies into everyday applications.

However, a critical question arose regarding whether AI can and should be applied to every aspect of business and life. There was a significant shift in perspective as attendees viewed AI as an accelerator, assistant and co-pilot rather than a replacement for human intelligence, empathy, experience, and emotion. We explored the importance of avoiding innovation for the sake of aligning to new industry buzzwords and instead focusing on practical applications that truly enhance customer experiences.

One key theme that emerged was the recognition that technology evolves at a much faster pace than human evolution. However, humans possess a remarkable ability and resiliency to quickly adapt to new tools and ways of working. The digital design industry, having undergone multiple technical transformations in the past, was deemed well-equipped to adapt to this ongoing evolution.

The importance of agility in today’s fast-paced world was highlighted, with an emphasis on defining an internal approach and best practices for agility within organisations. Aligning vocabulary across teams is crucial to ensure that everyone is on the same page and can effectively collaborate. We also discussed the concept of embracing ambiguity, which is inherent in agile practices. To be truly agile, teams must become comfortable operating in the grey area as part and parcel of the joys and challenges of working with agile methodologies.

Finally, the notion of radical collaboration emerged as a key takeaway. In order to succeed in whatever the future may hold, clients, customers, and agencies must come together and adopt a radically collaborative mindset. This approach allows for the exchange of diverse perspectives and expertise, ultimately leading to truly innovative solutions and better outcomes.

Bea’s Key Takeaways

At the Conjure Circle this week, we had a really interesting, varied discussion about emerging technologies and how they are impacting the current digital landscape. Sam started off the session by posing a question to the group based around whether it’s possible to harness the power of AI in any digital context, or whether it only applies to certain products/industries. There seemed to be a degree of consensus that AI should be seen as an accelerator and is therefore applicable to a wide variety of digital scenarios, but that its use should be considered and interrogated; as opposed to being incorporated for the sake of it.

Another key theme that arose was related to challenges in the automotive industry. We spoke about some of the difficulties around creating a cohesive digital and physical experience for vehicle users. When working in product design in the automotive context, it is important to design human-centred, future-facing interfaces, but also intuitive inputs like buttons and physical control units. When designing both, it can sometimes be a challenge for all aspects to be built at the same time, in a way that ensures a seamless experience. One way of tackling this, that was discussed, is to create a really solid up-front foundation for the experience, mapping out all aspects of functionality in a way that is future-proofed; prior to starting any build.

Towards the end of the breakfast, we broke out into smaller groups to discuss our work, roles and related topics. It was interesting to hear more about some of the different individuals at the conjure circle and to hear about their experiences in the industry.

Josh’s Key Takeaways

The Delaunay yet again provided the perfect backdrop for another successful round of discussions on the current state of play, covering recent innovations in generative AI, the latest tech release of the Vision Pro, and opportunities around web3. Underpinning these were a number of carefully considered themes including best practises to improve the CX, barriers to digital transformation and future ways of innovating between agency and client.

Sheltered from the morning’s downpour, we were ready to kick off proceedings with an important question: will Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the technologies that emerge in the future be a force for good or evil? Overwhelmingly the consensus was positive with attendees viewing it as more of an accelerator or something that would help them in their workflow and delivery as opposed to a replacement of roles or ideas. Supporting this is the crucial point that as humans we ultimately possess the most valuable skill, our decision making ability and the nature in which we are able to discern between concepts and decide on the best course of action. How likely will it also be in replicating our ability to think in completely abstract ways, and producing the likes of the 2007 Cadbury gorilla advert.

With the clouds retreating and expressions revitalised, we were able to broach the next topic. What are some of the pitfalls and threats of AI and how can we mitigate them? The issue of privacy presented some thoughtful conversations around how accessible personal information might be to bad actors and the continuing prevalence of fraud. An example that was mentioned was the idea of NFT passports. What happens if I lose my passport and need to renew or make changes, how secure is my information and what environmental impact will this storage of information have?

A number of interesting points were also raised in relation to the automotive industry, ranging from automating vehicle inspections, limiting mistakes in the hand-over process as well as freeing up designers to further explore the world of emotional design. What will become evident and increasingly important will be the ride experience with more and more automated vehicles hitting our roads. The opportunity to put this at the forefront of our designs and treat it with a higher degree of reverence will unlock new experiences and improve our skills as creators.

Closing statement

Thank you to all who attended this Conjure Circle event. The engagement, perspectives, and ideas you have brought to the table were incredible and helped make the breakfast a real success.

We will be back with more Conjure Circle events on 12th July so, as always, if you’d like to come along please get in touch.