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Terrorism Is Changing The Dynamic of Air Travel. Take The Halo, Not the Plane.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on August 14, 2006

For business travelers, the new dynamic of travel, especially to Britain and probably around the world in general, is making that travel increasingly problematic. An innovation gap has opened up between terrorists and democracies and we are now behind. It will be years before we catch up and that’s assuming governments understand the need for innovation in this area.

Meantime, there are business innovation models that make sense that can be implemented quickly. This simplest is to forget the plane and take the halo. If you haven’t experienced the HP halo video conferencing system, do it now. It is better than anything you’ve ever experienced before and I use the word “experience” because it is emotional and contextual, providing deep meaning. You can see and hear people across the world as if they were across a window. And you can exchange data by simply writing on screens as you talk. Halo is one innovation that can deal with terrorism.

There are others that Diego Rodriquez discusses on his Metacool site that are important. Yes, we’ve all heard of the micro-jets that can ferry up to 6 people around the country in greater safety. But how about an airline brand differentiator based on safety—a domestic El Al that really knows how to scan and search for terrorists, pays serious professionals big money to do the job and doesn’t hire poorly-paid people who just follow the regulations that demand grandmas take off their shoes?

Diego also suggests point to point pickup and delivery of baggage from your house. They do that in Japan. Your bags are at your hotel when you arrive and they go separately by truck or plane.

Then there is that “secure traveler” program rolled out years ago that appears to have been implement only in Orlando Florida for some reason. You get checked out by the FBI or some authority and then move through a separate line at the airpoint.

We used to be good at execution in America. Now we’re not and it’s scary. We have to get better. We have to innovate better, faster.

Reader Comments


August 14, 2006 6:25 PM

I agree, if there ever was a time to reinvent travel, it's now. Delta, United and American should go in together on a unified design program to reinvent business air travel.

The goal would be a whole new platform with one grand frequent flyer platform for business travelers. I travel 75-100K per year, I should not have to waste any time with security. What would that be worth alone to all business travelers? The base brief should include the following solutions:

Auto Check In (not at the usuall front desk)
Streamline Security,
Business Only Seating (no kids under 10)
Great Food,
Streamline Transport in and Out of Airport.

I manage a $1M travel budget for 40 people. I would allow my staff to buy the pricer tickets if the brief was solved.

Michael Melnick

August 15, 2006 4:40 PM

Hi Bruce,

Your suggestion to replace air travel with an innovative video conferencing experience might be a good alternative for businesses, however, what about non-business purpose travel? Surly you would agree that the experience of walking the streets of London, Rome or NYC is far grater than seeing it on screen...

Terrorism is psychological warfare and its intension is to impose a change in behavior using violence and fear. Design is also a way to change behavior, but by means of empathy and human understanding.

I think there is a great need today for innovation and creativity in finding ways to improve (A) counter-terrorism methods (B) Terror attack prevention and (C) education - the key to fighting global terror.

I'm afraid that if we use our design and innovation resources only for finding ways to avoid terror - this means terrorism has won.

Georges de Wailly

August 16, 2006 2:30 PM

We have to be objective. Next attacks will not occur in planes but on or under the ground. Airport security is much higher than everywhere.
So, take a plane is simply less risky than the underground or a train. The real problem with the aircraft industry is the price of the kerosen. This is the major threat and this is the point on which innovation should be focused.

Ravi Sawhney

August 16, 2006 3:50 PM

I agree. When can we round up a team of brilliant designers to form a collaborative to design and innovate? The IDSA Conference is next month. It might be a great opportunity to start this initiative. Let make it simple, respectful and effective. This is an opportunity for design to rise to the challenge.


August 17, 2006 9:54 PM

Halo is unbelievable! It feels really awkward when you say goodbye and the screen goes black - it's like you time warped. So far, it's been the most authentic virtual experience!

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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