How Can Changemakers Learn From Airbnb?

Design is about solving problems, with a concise element of intentionality to it.

In a solid, 45 minute-long video interview with Airbnb's Director of Experience, Katie Dill, the two hosts from High Resolution sought to explore the ways in which the giant online marketplace and hospitality service disrupted the status quo through "stories". How does Airbnb remain relevant and make the change in the world, and what can we learn from them?

Similar to many groundbreaking social entrepreneurs, Katie believes that "good design contains a humanistic approach", and went further to elaborate on how the team behind Airbnb has intricately gone through the journey of the end-user to improve on the experience.

In Airbnb, experience is more like a system encompassing both the digital and physical space.

In fact, much thought have been invested into facilitating the ease and transition of the user from online to offline interactions, and vice versa. One of Airbnb's core values is to be a host.

How can social entrepreneurs facilitate the transition of their end-user from the online to the offline space? How can this transition help them to build relationships that matter? Putting the end-user in mind will help them to make decisions and think of solutions in a sharper and more focused manner.

Just like what social enterprises are first set up to do: they are purposed to be problem-solvers.

Airbnb also uses storyboards and comic strips in the designing process. For example, how can they help a tourist doing a late night check-in as a first-timer in the neighbourhood?

Another noteworthy point raised in the interview has an association with the internal operations. At Airbnb, the team has a good mix of designers with different proficiencies work in pairs to sharpen ideas. For example, someone strong in visuals can be paired with another who is strong in interactions.

Find out how the interview went about creating experiences here, we definitely feel that it's worth your time: