Founding Circle

james wallman

Author & experience designer

Founder of the WXO. Written two (bestselling) books on the Experience Economy: Stuffocation & Time And How To Spend It - which the Financial Times named a Book Of The Year. Runs advisory firm The Future Is Here. Building an experience gifting startup. Works for the UK’s government's Department for International Trade as Sector Specialist, Experience Economy.

Joe Pine

Author & experience thinker

Internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and management advisor, who coined the term Experience Economy through the seminal book, The Experience Economy (now in its third edition). Since then, Joe has led the Experience Economy, and brought many people along with him. Runs management advisory firm Strategic Horizons with The Experience Economy’s co-author Jim Gilmore.

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Tanya Weller

Director, Samsung Showcase KX

Tanya is a marketing director with a passion for experience. She started her career agency-side developing experiential campaigns for brands like Diageo, Heineken, Microsoft, and Coca Cola. Continuing her love for experiences she joined Merlin Entertainments to lead product and marketing for Thorpe Park and London Eye. She designed and marketed roller-coasters and Fright Night Mazes. She's now at the helm of Samsung’s global flagship space in Kings Cross, a 20,000-square-foot brand showcase which promises to power local London culture with Samsung’s innovations. Thanks to Covid, she’s pivoted the space to a virtual hub offering video chat, live broadcasts and content production.

Sheena Patel

Founder, YonderBeyond

Sheena has spent the past decade devising and delivering live events, experiential campaigns and immersive attractions. She co-created and produced Time Run - voted top 5 escape games in the world - and a playable episode of BBC’s Sherlock: The Game is Now - Visit London’s 'Best New Tourism Business' 2020. She now supports some of London’s most exciting experience companies including Gingerline, Bearded Kitten and Flavourology. She was selected to join Arts Council England & Digital Catapult’s Creative XR 2020 Cohort and is currently developing a new in-home AR storytelling platform.

Mat Duerden

Experience design educator

Co-author, with Bob Rossman (see below) of Designing Experiences (published by Columbia Business School Press), Mat is an Associate Professor of Experience Design and Management in the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University. He teaches courses in experience design and need finding at the undergraduate and MBA levels. His research focuses on experience design in a wide variety of contexts including work and leisure.

Fiona Rene

Actor, Interactive Performance Director, Educator

Based in Los Angeles, California, Fiona is a pioneer of the immersive theatre and haunted house scene. She's been creating, curating, and directing in theatrical immersive shows since 2008. Alongside her acting career, she now consults and advises immersive events and teaches actors and interactors.

Joe Macleod

UX designer, Head of 'Endineering'

Joe is a UX designer based in Sweden whose passion lies in an area of UX that's often ignored. Hence, his book 'Ends: Why We Overlook Endings For Humans, Products, Services and Digital. And Why We Shouldn't'. Joe founded andEnds to solve this problem. His next book, out in 2021, will describe the 8 tools for creating better endings. Joe holds a BA in Design from St Martin's, and a MA in Interaction Design from the Royal College.

Meredith O'Shaughnessy

Experiential Architect and Creative Director

Meredith is an award-winning Experiential Architect and Creative Director, working with the world’s most exciting brands to create immersive engagement strategies that deliver cut-through in the booming Experience Economy. Overlaying innate creativity with deep sector analysis she immerses audiences in brand stories, unlocking the potential of today’s experience economy for innovators in luxury retail, technology, hospitality and beauty. Her mission is to elevate experience strategies rooted in emotional connection, while championing sustainability, diversity, and community.

Richard Parry

Richard Parry

Head of Experience Economy,
UK Department for International Trade

Richard set up the world's first governmental organization for the Experience Economy - a team in the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) to help UK companies sell experience-based products and services overseas. Richard's career has been in trade promotion across a number of sectors and countries – but he says that working in the Experience Economy beats everything which has gone before. Among Richard's Experience Economy successes include founding a trade body for the UK's museums and atrractions sector, ExperienceUK, and making the connections that led to new experiences in Hong Kong, China and Canada.

Nasya Kamrat

Founder, Faculty

Nasya Kamrat is an award-winning futurist and creative strategist who works and plays at the intersection of strategy, storytelling, design, and technology. In 2012, she founded Faculty, a certified women-owned spatial storytelling agency that creates bespoke, human-centric experiences for global brands—IRL and URL.

Amy Brown

Head of Creative Strategy (Experiences and Ads Marketing), Google

Amy’s role is to connect users and customers to Google. Her work includes the Curiosity Rooms, Android at Mobile World Congress, Google Create and Google at the Cannes Lions Festival.

Amy joined Google from the Edinburgh Television Festival where she was Festival Director. She began her career at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts where she oversaw their membership and events strategy for 10 years.
With an MBA and an MA in Literature, Amy likes to bring the creative and business worlds together. And when not working for Google, she can be found running her homemade cookie business.

Jake Haupert

Founder, Transformational Travel Council

Travel innovator Jake believes that too many people go too far to feel too less - and wants to change this through the TTC, a collective of travel leaders who want people to get as much out of their time away as possible.

Tom Marchant

Tom Marchant

Founder, Black Tomato

Tom co-founded Black Tomato in 2005 and has since become known as a pioneer in the travel industry, harnessing experiential travel for the sophisticated consumer. Tom and Black Tomato have dedicated the last 15 years to exploring new destinations for curious travellers and broadening the realm of possibility for those seeking unique and insightful experiences within cultures rather than cookie-cutter itineraries. Tom has been named by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the 50 people redefining the way we travel, and by Walpole as one the 50 most influential people in luxury.

Matt Grech-Smith

Founder, Swingers

Co-founder of one of London's most successful immersive experience firms. The Institute for Competitive Socialising's Swingers started as a pop-up in Shoreditch, and is now in two permanent locations in London - the City and the West End. They raised £28m ($35m / €30) in 2018 in order to expand. The next sites opens in the US in 2021 in New York City and somewhere else – the second location is currently a secret.

Harry Brignull

UX designer & Founder, Dark Patterns

Besides a day job as a UX designer, Harry is an expert in 'dark patterns' - the tricks used in websites and apps that make you buy or sign up for things that you didn't mean to. He regularly gives talks on dark patterns, and advises the US Federal Trade Commission.

Gary Ellis

Professor, Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University

Gary Ellis is Professor and Bradberry Chair at Texas A&M University in the United States. He conducts research on the quality of structured experiences, with emphasis on experiences of youth. The focus of his current research is testing propositions of the theory of structured experiences, which was developed by Gary and colleagues in his laboratory.

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Mirco Pasqualini

Experience and Interaction Designer

25+ years of experience in strategic roles through Private Company, Incubators/VC and Agencies, focused on applying the design perspective through the multidisciplinary space of business & innovation. Mirco is based in New York. Author of Agencies and Brands in The Experience Economy.

A very sad update on Mirco. While out cycling in November 2020, he was knocked down and later died from his injuries. Mirco was one of the key early supporters of the WXO. To honour and remember our friend, it feels right that he keep his place in the Founding Circle.

Nir Eyal

Author, UX & Design Expert

Nir Eyal is formerly a Lecturer in Marketing at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and also taught at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. His first book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, is an international bestseller and taught companies how to design more engaging products. His second bestseller, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, reveals the Achilles' heel of distraction and provides a guidebook for getting the best of technology without letting it get the best of us. Indistractable won the 2019 Outstanding Works of Literature (OWL) Award, was named one of the Best Business and Leadership Books of the Year, according to Amazon and one of the Best Personal Development Books of the Year by Audible. Nir blogs at NirAndFar.com

Ben Hunnicutt

Author, Age of Experiences

Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt, PhD, is a historian. He has been a professor at the University of Iowa since 1975. His publications include Work Without End: Abandoning Shorter Hours for the Right to Work (1987), Kellogg's Six-Hour Day (1995), Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream (2013), The Age of Experiences: Harnessing Happiness to the New Economy (2020).

Alessia Clusini

Founder, Trybes Agency

Data strategist, Alessia has figured out a way to debunk the complexity of transformative experiences, to measure their impact and replicate it. She and her team at Trybes published the first research on the ecosystem where transformation quintessentially happens: Burning Man and transformational festivals. They mapped all the communities, groups, tribes, influencers, brands, organizations, events, official and unofficial channels and made sense of them to create a recipe for transformation. Alessia teaches this ‘transformative code’ to companies, thinkers and experience designers all over the world, generating new forms of transformative events and impactful experiences.

Ray-Hole

ray hole

Founder, ray hole architects

One of the leading lights of the UK's museums, attractions and tourism industry, Ray and his team not only build attractions, but work with destinations to create more effective business models.

J. Robert (Bob) Rossman

The Dean of Experience Design

Bob has been designing and staging experiences for over 35 years as a designer, scholar, and consultant. His work has improved experience design by integrating the results of social science research on experience with the practice of designing and staging them. He is co-author of Recreation Programming, Designing, Staging, and Managing the Delivery of Leisure Experiences (2019, 8th ed.), and Designing Experiences, (2019).

Rodrigo Gallego

Nomad experience designer & founder, Eidos Global

Mostly based in Argentina, and trained as a lawyer, Rodrigo went to Burning Man and became a nomad experience designer. Co-founded learning experience agency Eidos Global, co-designed an SDG interactive museum in India, co-designed the first 'Student Experience Campus' in Buenos Aires. Is passionate about 'experience-based innovation': especially by innovating services and products through adding drama and immersion. Has given talks on innovation and experience design in the UK, US, Brazil & Argentina, at the London School of Economics, SOCAP Summit, HSM Expo and G20.

Debbie Flynn

Global Travel Practice Leader, Finn Partners

Debbie Flynn is the Managing Partner and Global Travel Practice Leader for New York based Communications agency Finn Partners. Debbie was the founder of The Brighter Group in 1995 and built it up to be one of the leading UK tourism specialist marketing and communications consultancies. Based in London, Debbie is each year named by the PR Week Power Book as one of the top 10 travel comms influencers in the UK and advises a number of organisations pro bono including Just A Drop, Tourism Cares and the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council. Debbie is a judge on the Peace Through Tourism Awards and sits on the advisory board of the Travel Media Awards and the World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage. Debbie brings 25 years of experience representing countries who have seen the importance of first class experiences as their key differentiator in a fast moving competitive global marketplace.

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mustapha Omar

Experience economy financier

Mustapha is an experienced investment banker with a successful track record of raising funds for companies. He specialises in technology companies. In recent years has raised capital for experiential companies, including floating Escape Hunt plc on the London stock market, and then subsequently served as the Commercial Director. He is currently a main board observer at a virtual reality company where he raised capital in a private placement. Mustapha has a first class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering with Mathematics, a PhD in Materials Science and is the author of several publications in scientific journals.

John Connors

Founder, Peak End Experience

John is a founding member of Bigsley Event House, the team that created The Color Run, Soul Pose Yoga, Hall of Breakfast, and Pumpkin Nights. After exiting Bigsley in 2018, John founded the experience design consultancy Peak End Experience, whose clients include Color Factory, Rise Lantern Festival, and Dinner with a View. John is also an adjunct professor of Experience Design at the Marriott School of Management.

Paul Zak

Founder, Immersion Neuroscience

A neuroscientist at Claremont Graduate University in California, USA, Paul has discovered a way to accurately predict the behavioural outcome of an experience.

Virpi Roto

Founder, Experience Research Society

After studying user experience at Nokia Research, Virpi has been researching the design of experiences at Aalto University, Finland. In 2020 she co-founded the Experience Research Society, whose mission is to unite experience researchers across disciplines.

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Brendan Walker

Thrill engineer

Described by The Times of London as "the world's only Thrill Engineer", Brendan is an impresario, broadcaster, entrepreneur and performance artist. His Thrill Laboratory has performed at the Science Museum and Alton Towers. His work has featured at the V&A and MoMA. Originally an aeronautical engineer, Brendan retrained in Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art, and is now Professor of Creative Industries at Middlesex University. HIs design practice Aerial creates experiences for clients such as Durex, Nissan, Royal Caribbean, the Barbican, and the Kimmel Centre. His latest venture, Studio Go Go, uses VR to turn good rides into extraordinary experiences. Supported by InnovateUK and Arts Council England, the studio plans to launch a new ride on Brighton Palace Pier later this year.

Peter Holst-Beck

Immersive theatre expert

Peter is an actor, director, producer and immersive experience designer. When he was Chief of Entertainment at the world’s oldest amusement park, Bakken, he developed ‘Korsbaek’, an interactive and immersive attraction based on one of Denmark's most beloved TV series, Matador, which was set in World War Two. Peter has created several immersive theatre projects within the Danish National Museum. In 2016 he created ‘Hamlet Live’ at Kronborg Castle. Co-author of the paper ‘Hamlet Live - The 7 I’s Experiential Strategy for Heritage Visitor Attractions’, Peter is currently working on the development of a new attraction for Copenhagen, the World of H.C. Andersen.

Jenny Southan

Founder, Globetrender

Jenny is the founder and editor of Globetrender, a travel trend forecasting agency and online magazine about the future of travel. Globetrender not only offers bespoke consulting services but weekly trend briefings and deep dive trend reports. Jenny is also a public speaker and freelance journalist who writes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph and Mr Porter. Previously she was features editor of Business Traveller magazine for ten years.

Barbara Neuhofer

Professor of Experience Design & Experience Designer

Barbara is a Professor of Experience Design and Head of Experience Design at the Department of Innovation and Management in Tourism at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Austria. She is an experience design advisor to businesses and co-founder of the Experience Design Summit Year Zero. Barbara has taught at several European universities, has given a TEDx Talk on “The Global State of Awe” and gives keynote presentations at the intersection of human experiences, design and digital transformation all around the globe. She is currently working on a book about the design of transformational experiences.

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Haian Xue

Experience Design Researcher

Haian is a design researcher who explores experience-driven and wellbeing-centric design from multiple perspectives (e.g., emotions, moods, culture, lifestyle and technology). Haian works at the Delft Institute of Positive Design, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology. Originally from Xi'an, Haian studied Industrial Design in Beijing, and obtained a Doctor of Arts (the Finnish equivalent of PhD in Design) from Aalto University. Since 2008, Haian has lived and worked in Finland, the UK, and the USA as a design researcher and teacher. His research interests stand at the intersections of design, experience, well-being and strategy.

Michael Foley

Anthropologist

Formerly a lecturer in IT at the University of Westminster, Michael is a writer who has published poetry, fiction and non-fiction, including The Age of Absurdity, an international bestseller, and Isn’t This Fun? an anthropological investigation of contemporary fun experience. His next book will be about process philosophy and its mission to intensify personal experience, especially via phenomenology.

Cliff Kuang

UX expert

Cliff is a user-experience designer, an award-winning journalist and co-author of User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play, which was picked as an Amazon Best Book of 2019 and Fortune Writers and Editors Recommended Books of 2019. Cliff was head of UX and product at Fast Company, overseeing user experience and strategy for its web properties. Before, he was an editor at Wired and the design editor at Fast Company. Cliff's writing on the intersection of culture, technology, and business has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Economist.

Colin Shaw

CX pioneer

Colin is the Founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy LLC who helps organizations improving their Customer Experience. Colin is recognized by LinkedIn as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’, as a result he has 289,000 followers of his work. The Financial Times selected Beyond Philosophy LLC, as one of the best management consultancies for the last two years. Colin has written seven bestselling books on Customer-driven growth. He is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast. Colin is a commentator on CNN, BBC TV, NPR, LBC and many other publications and media.

Brian Solis to release new book titled

Brian Solis

Digital anthropologist & futurist

Brian is a world-renowned digital anthropologist and futurist. He is also an award-winning author and global keynote speaker. Brian’s research, advisory and presentations humanize the relationship between disruptive innovation and its impact on institutions, markets and societies. He not only helps audiences understand what’s happening and why, he visualizes future trends and inspires people to take leading roles in defining the future they want to see. Brian serves as Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. His work focuses on thought leadership and research that explores digital transformation, innovation and disruption, CX, commerce, and the cognitive enterprise. He has advised leading brands, celebrities, and startups and his ideas and work are consistently featured in the press. He’s a regular contributor to leading business and industry publications including Forbes, Harvard Business Review, CMO.com, TheNextWeb, Adweek, among others. Brian is also an official LinkedIn Influencer. His work is followed by over 700,000 people across social media.

Kadhar Mohammed

Workplace experience expert

Based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Kadhar leads workplace experience at at IT firm Cognizant, for whom he has worked, in India and the US, for 22 years. His passion is enabling large enterprises to deliver delightful and productive workplace focused on human-centric. The Workplace Experience function he leads is designed to think differently about the evolving workplace, not just about the functional way our workplace facilitates day-to-day activities but also about the delightful experiences it creates for employees, vendors, and partners. Educated in India, the US, the UK and Canada, Kadhar holds an MBA and an MS in Software Engineering.

Mohamed Baghat

LX pioneer

Cairo-based Learning Experience (LX) pioneer, Mohamed Bahgatis the author of FIRST Framework and is an ATD International facilitator, who has spent 20 years educating, coaching and consulting organizations in more than 25 different countries. In 2014, Mohamed founded SeGa Group, a US based LLC in talent development with an operational office in the Middle, East SeGa. SeGa's mission is to “Develop Human Developers” in active learning, gamification and coaching. In 2017, Mohamed published FIRST Framework, 5 Domains 15 Principles To Design & Facilitate Active Deep Learner eXperience. This book is for learning professionals, facilitators and designers to acquire a new perspective and to learn a new framework where the learner is the center of the whole process. This book's introduction is by Joe Pine and Roy Pollock, who wrote The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning.

Dorothy di Stefano

Experiential & immersive art impresario

Global thought leader, speaker, creative strategist, founder and director of Molten Immersive Art, from her firm's base in Adelaide, Australia, Dorothy leads a global collective of experiential artists who create large-scale, site-specific, digital immersive experiences. As an ambassador and consultant for the arts and with 20 years' experience, Dorothy sits on many cultural committees and is the International Partner representing Australia in the Global Startup Leaders Committee of the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF). She is the only Australian representative on the 'Experiential Design' judging panel for the prestigious ADC 99th Annual Awards in New York and was awarded LinkedIn's Top Voice for 2019. Dorothy has a worldwide following on this platform which she uses to highlight the importance and impact of art on our world and to showcase global artists to a business-focused community.

Andrew O'Loughlin at Victoria University Masterclass

Andrew O'Loughlin

Sports experience expert

Andrew has been delivering sports events for more than 25 years, for World Cups, World Championships and Games events, delivering experiences for brands like Nike, ESPN & Red Bull.

Claus Raasted

Creator Of Extraordinary Experiences

Claus has worked with designing extraordinary experiences for almost a quarter of a century. Today, he serves as the Director for The College of Extraordinary Experiences, is a Coach at McKinsey & Company, and hosts the podcast ”The Business of Extraordinary Experiences”. He is also a prolific author, with 30 books to his name, and has just finished The Innovation Cycle. Raasted also has a past in reality TV, but these days, who hasn't?

Albert Boswijk

Founder, European Centre for the Experience Economy

Albert is a seasoned business coach, consultant, author of several books and publications. Engaged in Deep Change processes, reshaping Business Value for international organisations. Founder & CEO of the European Centre for the Experience and Transformation Economies(2000). Published The Experience Economy, a new perspective, how to create meaningful experiences (Boswijk, Peelen, 2005) and Economy of Experiences (Boswijk, Peelen, Olthof 2012, 2015) and Economy of Meaningful Experiences (5th 2021). Albert contributed to the Handbook of the Experience Economy (Sunbo, Sorensen, Roskilde Univ. Elgar 2013) and is a keynote speaker of international reputation, guest lecturer at the University of Roskilde, University of Aalborg, University of Amsterdam, Tedx Stenden University, Team Academy School for Entrepreneurship.

vince Kadlubek

Immersive experience guru

Vince is a Founder of Meow Wolf, an award winning Art and Entertainment Production Company. Vince was the CEO at Meow Wolf through its formidable years, creating the business plan for Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, raising series A funding, and announcing Meow Wolf exhibits in Las Vegas and Denver. In 2020 he launched a creative consultancy, Spatial Activations, to pursue his passion for co-creating alternate realities that bring transformation to the world.

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Aga Szóstek

Author & strategic experience designer

Aga Szóstek, Ph.D. is a strategic experience designer and author of The Umami Strategy: Stand Out By Mixing Business With Experience Design. For the past two decades, she worked at the forefront of combining design, technology, and business. Her approach inspired many organisations to bet on experiences as their market differentiator. When not consulting, Aga designs experiential tools called Seed Cards and co-hosts a podcast: Catching The Next Wave.

Noah Nelson

Founder, No Proscenium

As the founder of No Proscenium, the publication for the immersive and experiential arts in the US, and its sister site Everything Immersive, and a co-founder of LEIA - the League of Experiential & Immersive Artists - no one is better placed than Noah to understand the immersive theatre industry in the US. Noah holds a bachelor in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University. His reporting has been heard on NPR's All Things Considered and APM's Marketplace.

Kevin Dulle

Visual Thinkologist

Kevin has been encouraging exploration of ideas by inspiring curiosity in leadership teams for more than 26 years. To achieve this, he draws upon a rich and mixed history of graphic design, architecture, visual strategic planning, and experience design to aid in discovering unique solutions, develop long-term planning options and organize complex situations into cohesive visual strategies.

Paul Bulencea

CEO, College of Extraordinary Experiences

Paul is an award-winning experience designer, entrepreneur and author focused on transformational experiences. He is the co-founder and CEO of The College of Extraordinary Experiences, one of the world’s top experience design conferences. Paul co-authored Gamification in Tourism: Designing Memorable Experiences and travels extensively to speak about, design, participate in or implement transformational experiences.

Max Lenderman

Max Lenderman​

Experiential marketing pioneer

Max is a thought-leader for human-centric and experience-based growth strategies for their brands and businesses. He was formerly the CEO of School, a purpose-led creative consultancy for Fortune 100 brands and international non-profits. He started and led the global experiential practice at MDC Partner’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky and was executive creative director at Omnicom’s Radiate Group. He is the author of two acclaimed books. His Experience the Message is, according to Joe Pine, 'still the best book ever written on experiential marketing'. Max publishes a marketing ‘zine called CAMUS, writes regularly for Adweek, and lectures at the University of Colorado, Solvay School of Business and Denver Ad School. The only blot on Max's resume? He is a lifelong supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

Michael T Lai

Dean, X Thinking Institute & Senior Vice President & Senior Partner, TANG Consulting

With over 15 years of expertise, Mike helps clients position, envision, design, and deliver brand experiences. His past experience in the United States and Greater China includes: creating insurance retail stores in the financial industry, innovating new ways of interacting with smart homes in the consumer electronics industry, redefining the car purchasing and ownership experience at dealerships in automotive industry, and positioning university brand experiences for prospective students in the education industry. At the X Thinking Institute, Mike leads a team focused on creating business value through extraordinary experiences. He is the co-author of the book X Thinking. He teaches at the College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University (China). He has previously held posts at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong) and the Columbus College of Art & Design (United States). Mike holds a PhD in Design from Tsinghua University (China), a MDes in Interaction Design from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong), and a BFA in Advertising & Graphic Design from the Columbus College of Art & Design (United States).

Heather Gallagher

Producer, Transformative Spectacles & Experiences

As the former Head of Technology for Burning Man for 17 years, Heather was at the heart of a global phenomenon which rose from a blank dusty uncharted desert canvas to become a pinnacle expression and example of the power of the Experience Economy. She helped cultivate and shepherd a culture, community and organization dedicated to the art of the experience, co-created content, civic engagement, and powerfully transformative events. Heather left in 2019 to pioneer another uncharted creative canvas, when she designed groundbreaking immersive augmented reality experiences for consumer entertainment and brand activations. With her keen ability to blend creativity, technology and humanity, Heather currently consults and advises on projects ranging from remote gathering platforms to immersive technologies, experiential venues and tech-powered art-filled spectacles. Her mission is to create moments of awe and wonder that inspire everyone to manifest brighter and better visions of themselves and the world.

Charlie Melcher

Publisher & Founder, Future of StoryTelling

Charlie Melcher is the founder and director of the Future of StoryTelling (FoST), a community of people from the worlds of media, technology, and communications who are exploring how storytelling is evolving in the digital age. At the heart of FoST are two signature events: . The two-day, invitation-only FoST Summit gathers top thinkers and practitioners from diverse fields to share ideas and experiences shaping the storytelling landscape. FoST Festival, open to the public, features VR and AR experiences, tech demos, a multi-person VR theater, panel conversations, live performances, interactive games, and much more. Charlie is also the founder and CEO of Melcher Media, Inc., an award-winning app developer, book producer, and branded content company. The company has won numerous design awards and has produced 29 New York Times bestsellers.

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Martin Coat

Immersive Theatre & Festival Expert

Martin is a Theatrical Director, Artistic Director and Creative Producer. After graduating in 2010 as a professional actor and driven by the view that audience interactivity was invaluable in the development and promotion of the performative arts, Martin dedicated his career to creating daring and detailed immersive worlds. His time over the last decade has been divided between three major roles . Director of Theatre and Concept Development for Boomtown Fair, a five-day music festival with 70,000 attendees that prides itself on its theming, performance arts and storytelling. Artistic Director at Dank Parish, an immersive theatre company producing many events and performances including the Legitimate Peaky Blinder Festival. Creative Producer at Rogue Beacon, a creative agency specialising in alternate reality gaming, intellectual property development and narrative-driven brand experience.

Ben Rabner

Former Head of Experiential Marketing, Adobe

Ben is a Chief Give-A-Damn Officer for customers as I lead CX (customer experience) transformations across people, processes and tech. I am also a fire-starter in helping companies and leaders become disrupters and change agents in building strategies and tactics that ignite, excite and motivate profitable customer behaviors. As a modern renaissance CX and marketing leader, I create meaningful and memorable human experiences that move customers along their journey by using: anthropology, ethnography, neuroscience, sociology, creativity, innovation, technology, storytelling, and analytics. Some of my greatest attributes are: curiosity, empathy, true grit, big imagination, challenge the status quo, listen - really listen. View my mini-documentary below of Reimagining Possibilities.

Michael Acton Smith

Founder, Calm

Michael Acton Smith OBE is the current co-CEO and co-Founder of Calm, a meditation space company. He is also the founder of Firebox.com, and founder and chairman of children's entertainment company Mind Candy – the creators of Moshi Monsters. He has been described by British newspaper The Daily Telegraph as "a rock star version of Willy Wonka".

Brian Hill

Experience Design Professor

Brian Hill, Ph.D., developed and teaches a popular class at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, USA called Creating a Good Life through Experience Design to 1500 students each year. The course combines positive psychology, life hacks, and life design with experience design in a way that is relevant and applicable to students. Besides teaching and researching experience design and management, Brian's life mission is to provide meaningful adventurous experiences for family, students, and friends in extended challenging outdoor pursuits.

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Daryl Choy

Author of the first Chinese book on the Experience Economy

A pioneer in experience design for over 10 years, Daryl has helped MNCs and SMEs design integrated brand, customer, and employee experiences for lasting improvements to performance. His book Experience Wave, published in 2019, is the first Chinese book on the Experience Economy. Daryl holds a BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, an MSc in Marketing from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is a Chopin fan, and loves Chinese Chess and tennis.

Stephanie Riggs

Immersive Trailblazer and Storyplexer (aka Creative Director / Technologist)

Former Disney Imagineer and Refinery29 (Vice Media) Experiential Creative Director, Stephanie has been creatively bridging the theatrical and computer science industries for over two decades through ground-breaking projects in theme parks, theatre, film, experiential, academia and VR/AR/XR. Author of the acclaimed book “The End of Storytelling”, she keynotes at conferences around the world.

Karen Guggenheim

CEO and Founder of WOHASU

Organizer and producer of the World Happiness Summit and H-20 meeting. Karen is committed to increasing individual happiness, well-being in education, happiness at work, and community well-being. In WOHASU, she developed a comprehensive platform where new ideas are incubate, innovative programs and services are created to highlight happiness as a crucial element of sustainable development, personal and and societal well-being. Along with fellow experts, Karen has developed unique programming like the WOHASU/Florida International University Chief Happiness Officer Certificate program, and eLearning programs designed to increase well-being in education and at work. A variety of impacts can be seen from the outcomes of WOHASU. Karen is a community builder and is devoted to co-creating a happier, more sustainable world.

Randy White

CEO White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group

Randy White is CEO of the 32-year-old White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. Randy is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on feasibility, concept development, design and production of leisure/entertainmentexperience venues. He's worked for over 600 clients in 37 countries. Over 100 of his articles have been published in leading leisure/entertainment industry magazines and he has been a featured keynoter and speaker at over 40 different industry conventions.. Randy is the editor of his company’s Leisure eNewsletterand he blogs, tweetsand posts on Linkedin. ​

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Alice Loy, PHD

CEO, Creative Startups & Partner, DaVinci Ventures

CEO, Creative Startups & Partner, DaVinci Ventures In 2013 Alice launched the world’s first accelerator for creative entrepreneurs. Today Creative Startups accelerates 150+ creative companies around the world each year and invests in game changers like Meow Wolf, Native Realities, and Embodied Labs. Currently Alice is obsessed with companies building story-driven immersive experiences and technologies. In 2018 Alice co-authored the ground-breaking book, Creative Economy Entrepreneurs: From Startup to Success. Alice is a sought-after speaker on topics ranging from developing creative entrepreneur ecosystems to investing in creative growth companies. Alice lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Gary David

Professor of Sociology and Professor of Experience Design at Bentley University

Gary is a Professor of Sociology and Professor of Experience Design at Bentley University, as well as being a Certified Clinical Sociologist. He has developed courses and training programs on ethnography and experience design, focusing on people’s everyday lives as the foundation for understanding and creating experiences. He also consults through his company ethno-analytics, focusing on integrated design and experience alignment in organizations. He works across experience channels, including customer, user, employee, patient, learning, and community experiences. He also co-hosts the Experience by Design podcast.

Diane Magers

Founder & CEO, Experience Catalysts

Diane is the Emeritus Chair and recent CEO for the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), speaks and conducts workshops all over the world to help transform Experience Management strategy into action. Diane has an MBA and a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP), and holds certifications in Voice of Customer, Customer Experience Management, Net Promoter Score and CX Design and Innovation LUMA certified.
Diane specializes in experience strategy, design thinking, journey management and value mapping, She has spent more than 25 years transforming experiences for brands such as Sysco, AT&T, State Farm, Dale Carnegie, CommScope, Invisalign, Ciena, Freeman, Cisco. Sodexho, Equifax and MoneyGram.

Andrew Lacanienta

Experience Designer for the People

Andrew is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Experience Industry Management at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. Between 10+ years of academic study in experience design, a love for facilitating learning, and a yearning to connect humankind Andrew is excited and ready to bring experience design to the people. To local businesses, community supported agriculture, the lives of our friends, neighbors, and communities – and into our own individual lives. Afterall, the most important experience we can design is our own human experience. What will you do today to more intentionally design your own human experience?

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Herb Kim

Founder, Thinking Digital Conference & 3 TEDx conferences

Herb is Founder of the Thinking Digital Conference, which will celebrate its 14th Anniversary in 2022. Herb is alos the Founder and Director of TEDxManchester, TEDxLiverpool and TEDxNewcastle, and a Trustee for the Sage Gateshead Music Centre. In 2019, he was named as one of the top 100 Asians in UK Tech. In 2014, Buzzfeed included Herb on its list of “Geordie Heroes”. In 2011, Wired Magazine included Herb as one it’s Wired 100 top tech industry influencers. In 2010, The Guardian named him as one of its Top 100 most influential media figures. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, and educated at Princeton University and the Wharton School of Business, Herb has lived on Merseyside, UK since 2007.

Annette Mees

Annette Mees

Head, The Audience Labs, Royal Opera House

Annette Mees is an award-winning immersive theatre director and cultural strategist. She has directed experiential work across art forms, mixing live and digital to create new forms of immersive experiences. She advises and speaks on the future of culture, artistic innovation, and interdisciplinary partnerships. She is currently the Head of The Audience Labs at the Royal Opera House in London - exploring the artistic possibilities of immersive technologies. It partners leading performing artists with cutting-edge creative immersive technology to create world-class work that innovates and pushes boundaries of cultural experiences.