KURIOS Innovation: SAP X Cirque du Soleil®

While Cirque du Soleil was wowing fans in Sydney with its latest show, “KURIOS™- Cabinet of Curiosities”, SAP and Cirque du Soleil were wowing industry with new approaches to innovation. During three days of workshops, SAP and Cirque du Soleil inspired representatives from Acclimation, AGL, Dell, Metcash, Stockland, Taronga Conservation Society, Woolworths, and ZAG about how technology can be used to elevate consumer experiences and wow customers. 

The ‘Lab du Cirque’ Innovation Workshop was setup with the aim of challenging attendees to consider how technology can be used in their industry and beyond. With disruption the new normal, Adam Sivell, Innovation Manager at SAP, asked participants to imagine what society, technology and their industry would look like in 5 years’ time. Adam then tasked the group with creating ideas that could solve real-world business challenges, using innovative technology and approaches.

One key trend and business challenge identified by attendees was the increasing importance of delivering a superior customer experience. With technology making switching between brands easier than ever, 80 per cent of consumers will swap brands if they have a poor experience.

At the event, guests discussed how technology has given companies the power and tools to get insights about their customers to improve their services and operations. Getting the right data, however, was a universal challenge.

One reason for this was that businesses have historically focused on collecting and analysing operational, or ‘O’ data. This tells you what products your customers are buying, at what times, or how. At Lab du Cirque, participants heard how this was only part of the puzzle.

Adam explained that many businesses are failing to identify and use a crucial piece of the data landscape: experience, or ‘X’ data. This is the data that tells you the beliefs, emotions and intentions of your customers – why people have bought a certain product or how they felt about the service they received.

Failing to combine both X and O-data will only give businesses half of the picture. Worryingly, the group learned that while 80 per cent of CEOs currently believe they are delivering a superior experience, just 8 per cent of their customers agree.

Luckily, Marc Gagnon, Director of Enterprise Architecture and Innovation at Cirque du Soleil was on-hand to showcase how his team are innovating to capture X-data so Cirque can understand its audience and deliver the best possible experiences.

Attendees were invited to take part in a proof of concept created in partnership by Cirque du Soleil and SAP. Each guest watched a short video from the Cirque du Soleil show, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, and, using facial recognition technology, their emotional journey was captured and analysed with machine learning, SAP HANA, big data, and analytics. This enabled the group to understand how viewers felt at every stage of the video.

Not only was the activity fun and engaging, creating lots of laughs as attendees got to see their reactions and emotional journeys mapped in real-time, Marc explained how this could deliver new insights to understand how audiences were reacting to the show. In turn, this enabledCirque du Soleilto learn how this new experience, or ‘X data’ combined with existing operational, or ‘O data’ could help improve their shows to deliver even better experiences.

Marc explained that intentional innovation is a core value at Cirque du Soleil, where they strive for continuous improvement so they can lead the world in live entertainment. Working together with SAP in partnership on activities like the emotional journey proof of concept allows a chance to explore the possible future, where X-data will be used as often as O-data.

Following the demo, Afsaneh Ghasemi, Solution Architect at SAP, gave the audience a detailed explanation of the value of machine learning and emotional AI, moving beyond the fan experience and into the value it can provide for industry.

For example, Afsaneh explained that in call centres it is now possible to use machine learning and SAP HANA to understand when call centre agents successfully help customers move from a negative to a positive emotion. These calls and the approach taken can then serve as valuable training tools to improve customers’ experiences.

Participants then learned of other real-world examples where brands including Porsche and Tata Cliq had used experience data from continuous customer feedback to improve their operations and service.

Through the example set by Cirque du Soleil and the group’s discussions, attendees learnt that when it comes to succeeding in future, embracing experience, empathy, and innovative new technologies leads to superior service and amazing outcomes. Even better, the group got to see the final product in all its glory, with a special evening trip to watch KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities and meet the team behind it.

This article first appeared on https://insidesap.com.au/kurios-innovation-sap-x-cirque-du-soleil/