BODW 2021 Trend Report

Global Design Reset: A Primer of Business of Design Week (BODW) 2021
Part 2: Phygital Reality

Will the Metaverse transform our digital existence as we know it? How can the customer experience be improved? What breakthroughs are on the horizon?

CatchOn & Editorial Team·20 October, 2021
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Video courtesy of Yat Siu

Animoca Brands

Gen Z lives in the phygital reality, where the line between physical and digital is rapidly blurring. Riding on innovations in AI, 5G and the popularity of NFTs, the fusion of the two worlds is expressed in a metaverse that is challenging the boundaries of lived experiences and economic activity. Pioneers at the forefront of this disruption can predict how the metaverse will unfold–and as the worlds of gaming and entertainment set the stage for our new digital reality, creative leaders and designers are rising to the challenge and making great strides in this ever more immersive world.


To meet these demands, companies moved 27 times faster toward their online and digital services. This extends beyond e-commerce and the main marketing pull is now in unique experiences in the phygital realm, as having to create lasting connections between brand and consumer was now the challenge.


As the race to please the Gen Z market ensues, retailers are banking on experiences outside the traditional, where the consumer is engaged through extended reality. Across industries, this is concretely demonstrated by the likes of AI-powered assistants and virtual changing rooms in retailers, online classrooms where students can learn beyond pages in a book, or in fintech and ease of online banking. These new and increasing experiences are upgrading the user and customer experience and bridging physical gaps through digital means for more seamless and more tailor-made transactions.


Supplementing these digital experiences, creatives are carving their place in this movement, carving strategies and narratives that will transform user experience and expand the world. These strategies focus on content, on design, or both. The combination of entertainment, content, and data-gathering is said to be a key strategy that many are banking on, and one of the smartest ways to achieve all three is through User-Generated Content, as seen on virtual games, apps, and social media.


As many have now had to shift to a digital-heavy lifestyle, what was once seen as a temporary solution is now a permanent reality.



The proposed key speaker line-up of this year’s Summit for the related topic includes:


  • Bernt Kåre Johannessen - Industry Manager, Epic Games (Sweden)
  • Yat Siu - Co-founder & Chairman, Animoca Brands (HK)
  • Refik Anadol - Media Artist, Refik Anadol Studio (US)
  • Sara Mao–Director - Christie's Education Asia Pacific  |  Vice President & Auctioneer, Christie’s (HK)
  • and others


This trend report is produced by Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) in partnership with CatchOn, a Finn Partners Company.


Stay tuned for BODW2021 SUMMIT. Let’s Reset @BODW2021!


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Global Design Reset: A Primer of Business of Design Week (BODW) 2021