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Designing for Real Human Connection

This week Fast Company brought together the brightest minds in business, technology, and design for its fifth annual Innovation Festival, and our New York studio hosted a Fast Track.

It’s easier than ever to communicate through technology, but that can often come at the expense of real connection. How can we design experiences and spaces that combat digital addiction and promote meaningful human interactions? 

It’s a question that Rapt Studio CEO and Chief Creative Officer David Galullo discussed with the CEO and Founder of Hinge, Justin McLeod, during the morning’s fireside chat. With a full audience in attendance, they spoke about the importance of placing meaningful interaction at the core of spaces, products, and brands.

With parallel intent but in different industries, Rapt and Hinge design for deeper connections. Hinge is the fastest-growing dating app in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia, thoughtfully matching people in different cities who seek to find their person — transitioning online connections to offline relationships. Rapt works around the globe at the intersection of spatial experience and emotional connection, bringing people together across physical and digital touchpoints.

Together, Galullo and McLeod considered a few different subjects during their conversation. They discussed the fact that vulnerability determines the quality of relationships — personal ones and those we form in the workplace. They acknowledged that the work doesn’t stop once you’ve found your soulmate, but rather takes continuous attention and effort. They also spoke about the importance of establishing company cultures that put a premium on authenticity and intentional communication. And they covered a few additional questions:

  • How do we create experiences that aren’t built just for that immediate hit but that rather have lasting, sustained impact?
  • Choosing your life partner will be the most important decision you’ll make, and the process warrants hard work. How can that be reconciled with a society fixated on quick and easy?
  • As technology evolves, what is its responsibility to change the way people connect, express their identity, see or feel seen?

In keeping with the theme of this year’s Innovation Festival of “A Connected World,” the illuminating chat revealed fundamental truths and raised even more questions to consider for the leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators in attendance.