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Designing a Product Multiverse: Learnings from Marvel Studios

What Black Panther, Iron Man & the Avengers can teach designers about creating connected product ecosystems

Designing ecosystems has been the flavour of the past decade - starting with Apple to most recently, Google making a tremendous effort in connecting their various service offerings together. However - the industry is beginning to look pretty much the same since the reference points in the digital products space are limited. It’s hard to differentiate Amazon’s strategy from Apple and Apple from Google.

BUT - there is a company that has been silently disrupting it’s industry using ecosystem thinking (althought they may not call it that) and can provide designers with a lot of inspiration. MARVEL STUDIOS, the makers of Iron Man, Avengers, Daredevil & most recently the infamous Black Panther has a lot to teach us. Starting in 2008 with the Iron Man movie, Marvel Studios has built an empire of interconnected franchises which have bred unparalleled loyalty from fans around the world.

My talk aims to explore the refreshing (yet familiar) nuances and tactics that we are designers can borrow from Marvel Studios approach to film making and apply it to designing product ecosystems - therefore bringing the best of narrative-based storytelling with functional integration of products.

In this talk, I will talk about my journey into comic books as a kid where I was introduced to Superman, a DC Comics character and how I shifted my loyalty over time to Marvel Studios superheroes - and why I did it. This journey draws parallels to how customers today, overwhelmed with choices move from one product to another.

At the end of the talk, the audience will walk away with the knowledge of how they can build deeper relationships with their customers by building products with principles that go beyond just adding more features.

Gaurabh Mathure

I recently left a renowned digital design consultancy, R/GA where I was a Executive Creative Director with expertise in UX to start my own enterprise product startup. I have been lucky to have led on various projects that involved the creation and envisioning of product and service ecosystems for huge brands like Fossil, Nike+, Mercedes and a few others. My talk draws from this experience and provides a perspective that will encourage designers to look outside of our industry for insight and inspiration.

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