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As my innovation work for airlines with passengers and staff increased in the late nineties, I was proud and delighted to be asked by Singapore Airlines to help with passenger and crew co-creation for the cabin of the new A380. I could hardly believe the fantastic job that the airline made of implementing the results of these innovation sessions in Singapore, London and New York.

In the video you can see passengers speaking about their desire for a seat and a bed. Underlying this were several deeper desires. The first we expressed in our analysis as the wish for a ‘gradient of intimacy’ so that your space on the aircraft, like your space at home would progress from public to private areas. Also under the guise of ‘configurability’ (one of the consistent customer wishes for their seat/space on board) we uncovered the three essential ‘ways of being’ that passengers adopted in long-haul flying – you can think of these as ‘office’, ‘restaurant’ and ‘couch’, or more ergonomically as work, rest and play. These suites add a fourth zone, the most intimate – or bedroom – to the configuration.

As the airline gathered confidence after the delayed maiden flight of the A380 in 2007, they started to bring the idea of moving from public to private space in your own area alive with copy like: ‘even the most private areas have been created with you in mind…and when you’re ready to sleep a fully flat bed equipped with a flush mattress appears’ – thus acknowledging passengers desires for a transition from a seating environment to a separate sleeping space – and subtly hinting that this bed is not the seat flattened out with all its crevices beneath you! You will see this executed in a more confident in-house video in the second of SIA’s promotional films in the short clip.

It came to pass that Big Talk – our co-creation method – found particular acceptance in the ‘imagibuilding’ of passenger experiences in the air. I will post more videos of passengers’ visions shortly.

Thanks are due here to Mac Andrews and Nicky Forsythe, my brilliant partners in all of the early co-creation programmes. Couldn’t have done it without you guys!