The Corporate Museum as an Experience

New interactive corporate space formulas allow visitors to uniquely and engagingly experience a company– making them more than just about a story and products. Rather than exhibitions or corporate museums, these are interactive paths that offer new perspectives using digital technology tools. They represent an opportunity for the company to reflect on its identity and expand its boundaries.

Aboca Experience, Sansepolcro (AR) | Art Direction, Exhibition e Interaction Design by Dotdotdot

More companies are interested in organising and digitising their archival material because they understand the communication potential that a structured and engaging story could have on their human resources, region and stakeholders.

This does not mean simply staging or making the exhibits accessible using new digital technologies but mostly designing corporate spaces that make an image or vision of the company available through new perspectives and languages. Such interactive environments can present multiple interpretations and provide multimedia and engaging presentations for more traditional corporate museums.

Understanding identity and expanding boundaries

These spaces are an essential opportunity to expand boundaries. They do not create a self-congratulatory visit but provide a wider local audience with training. Our Enel Green Power Interactive Power Plants project follows this concept.

Taccani Interactive Plant, Trezzo (MI) | Exhibition & Interaction Design by Dotdotdot for Enel Green Power

It is an interactive path in renewable energy sources which explains the Group’s activities in the production of clean energy. It enables visitors to playfully and innovatively enjoy the spectacular Enel historic power plants. We realised that to engage with people empathically, a company must reveal itself to the public. It must talk about its industrial “secrets,” different department and production phase management processes.

Designing a Corporate Experience is an opportunity for the company to deeply understand its vision and mission, working method, and what or how it wants to communicate.

Expanding boundaries is no longer a simple marketing operation but a self- investment and process of becoming aware of one’s identity.

An example of this is Aboca Experience, the new interactive wing inside the Renaissance Palazzo Bourbon del Monte in Sansepolcro (Arezzo), Aboca Museum headquarters.

Aboca Experience, Sansepolcro (AR) | Art Direction, Exhibition e Interaction Design by Dotdotdot

This shows the history of the relationship between herbs and health. The project was designed to tell the company story to stakeholders and local visitors. It is a visit that highlights the uniqueness of its work which includes research on plant molecular complexes, training activities, commitment to culture, events, and publications. A corporate experience uses entertainment and digital languages to open the company to society and schools, while communicating and training universal value issues, such as research and respect for humanity and the environment.

Communicating complexity

Pursuing these objectives means translating complexity into a simple but not simplistic language that makes the information understandable without making it trivial. It is a process to be carried out within a joint curatorship between our team of architects, interaction and exhibition designers, developers, and experts in communication with the company’s key staff. This was the case of “The Circular Future Kit per ENI” — four ludic learning kits on the “environment and circular future.” Based on an empirical learning method — they represented the synthesis of complex scientific and technological information and concepts, such as circular energy and renewable energy sources. This process of co-designing the story can take the most diverse forms: a video, an app, interactive training kits or interactive and complex corporate spaces.

The Circular Future Kit | OpenDot for ENI+Scuola

Interaction design and corporate storytelling

Interaction design uses new languages and tools to evoke concepts or values underlying the museum narrative. In these interactive corporate spaces, the curating aspect is crucial — it must mediate between the storytelling of contents and different exhibit, interaction design and user experience languages because the visitor must experience and not merely visit the company’s reality.

Aboca Experience was a comprehensive project for us. It allowed us to put into play on the firm’s different skills: user experience and interaction design, exhibition architecture, graphic design, hardware and software project prototyping and development. Curating the contents developed together with Aboca’s communication office, and the direction of different skills led to an integrated installation in its physical and digital components. This was possible using our internal OpenDot Fab Lab, with which we researched and tested the installations’ hardware and software integration and prototyping. In this way, the digital experience design and technological development are interwoven and considered the installation’s technological devices and elements’ maintenance and updates from the design phase.

Aboca Experience, Sansepolcro (AR) | Art Direction, Exhibition e Interaction Design by Dotdotdot

Digital supporting small museums

Companies and cultural institutions understand the importance of accessible culture and digital centrality more than ever. Recently, with the contribution of the Politecnico di Milano’s Observatory for Digital Innovation in Heritage and Culture, we have created a handbook to inform and guide Italian cultural institutions through an intuitive path towards digitisation from existing resources. To unravel between the many tools and possibilities, Culture, GoDigital! provides initial support to small museums or companies interested in communicating through interactive corporate spaces. Designing a different, direct, and accessible fruition of (corporate) culture is the key to a more spontaneous and direct relationship with the public.

Laura Dellamotta | Architect, General Manager & co-founder of Dotdotdot

Read more: Corporate museums — the challenge of representing the intangible

We are a multidisciplinary interaction design studio founded in Milan in 2004, in which experimentation is at the core of innovation.

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