For the first time in our lives, we’re grappling with what Tricia Wang calls the Spatial Collapse, where the ways we physically and emotionally experience and organize our lives compress or splinter apart. Driven by the COVID pandemic, the Spatial Collapse changed the way we live life through rapid digitization. Sheltering in place and working from home meant spending exponentially more time in virtual spaces from single physical locations. Everything from funerals to job interviews, weddings to depositions, and medical checkups became virtual yet accessed from the same place.
This digitization also means we have more access than ever to Big Data about customers, citizens, and stakeholders. But, if we’re using the same old methods, we may know even less about them. Succeeding in this new environment means prioritizing a strategy around the implications of the Spatial Collapse by rethinking how we design physical and digital products, gatherings, communities, cities, and more. Adapting our existing tools and processes will only take us so far. We need to be imagining, creating, and designing new tools in real-time.