Politecnico di Bari, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, Politecnico di Milano, Natuzzi S.p.A.
The Made in Italy designation has made the history of innovative industry in postwar Italy, bringing to the
world recognition of undisputed excellence in the symbiosis of design and manufacturing. It is expressed through values of aesthetics and quality, knowledge of materials and the know-how of the various production sectors of the peninsula. In the digital transition, these complex values risk being supplanted by a simple digitization of the artifact without transferring the related values that instead represent the contemporary industrial heritage. Similarly, the communication of the emerging values of sustainability, is equally complex, as it is linked to technical information that is difficult for consumers to understand.
Extended Reality solutions, through immersive, multimedia, multisensory experiences with high perceptual and emotional impact, are proposed as new and exciting platforms for communication. However, these represent a new and ambitious challenge for Italian companies large and small. The lack of knowledge both technological but above all cultural of the tools currently available, and their best use, poses a real risk of loss of competitiveness that has already occurred with digital markets.
Therefore, project aims to first study and explore eXtended (experience) Reality (XR)-which combines virtual, augmented and mixed reality systems-for the design of immersive storytelling, aimed at effectively communicating the material and immaterial values of Made in Italy products and services, with particular attention to sustainability.
In fact, the immersive experiences designed will aim to design and test multimedia narratives for the manufacturing system, aimed at explaining and promoting, through new information layers, the importance of territorial capital (traditional and innovative knowledge, material and immaterial values) and the excellence of Made in Italy from the perspective of both traditional processing techniques (craftsmanship) and the development of new technological solutions. All this to increase social and environmental awareness, conveying virtuous actions aimed at social innovation and reducing environmental impact.
With this in mind, it is proposed to develop an immersive experiential strategy and related testing/validation on the effectiveness of Transformative Design in supporting behavioral change, related to both awareness of sustainability issues and the material and intangible values of Made in Italy. The Storytelling process will be declined according to the needs of new media (Extended experience declined in a product-service and 360° video), business context and end-user experience.
The challenging objective is to understand how to transport a material/product/process, real that tends to base its fruition on tangibility, into an immaterial dimension such as that of eXtended Reality, while bringing with it all those components that make it immediately recognizable as a Made in Italy material/product/process, and more specifically also sustainable. The XR, therefore, has in this sense the task of becoming a new way of experiencing a material/product/process by increasing the physical experience and having the ability to reveal (visualize/perceive) the invisible such as the history of the object, of those who produced and built it, but also the values and knowledge it carries with it.
Thus, three levels of exploration of the project result: virtual, physical and narrative space. What passes transversally between the two levels is the dimension of values. Values in the project will be both a starting point (the basis for the analysis in the first part of the project) and an end point, i.e., what will be the basis for the construction of new narrative models – media, multisensory and immersive – that are envisaged in the second phase of the project.
Partner companies will be actively involved in the exploration of these narrative models and strategies and their evaluation using scientific methodologies based on quantitative (e.g., biometric) and qualitative (perception interviews) parameters. In addition, case studies will test the declination of ad tools for different interlocutors-companies at various scales from large to family businesses, designers, industry experts, to the end user. The Results obtained will constitute an unprecedented advancement in scientific knowledge, which will be disseminated internationally, but will also offer a solid formalization of guidelines, methodologies, and tools of more general interest to the Italian production system, offering in-depth knowledge of the technologies in terms of potential, limitations and opportunities. In addition, the project and its derivatives will contribute to improved customer satisfaction, and greater confidence in purchasing, thus reducing warehousing, returns and transportation of goods and people, but also to the growth of consumer awareness of sustainability.
The EMOTIONAL project, therefore, pursues the goal of increasing knowledge of Made in Italy by generating a deep awareness of the material and immaterial values connected to it, stimulating different and complex targets in this perspective, such as companies, designers, industry experts, and end users.
For this reason, different objectives, methods, and impacts will be outlined for each target audience. Moreover, this type of approach can be declined both at the macro level, that is, representing the values
and uniqueness of Made in Italy in its complexity, and at the micro level, that is, acting on the values of individual Made in Italy companies.
In fact, the project sees in the direct involvement of companies the core of innovation for the design of a competitive communication system capable of making them reflect on the importance of safeguarding the best practices of Made in Italy by instilling on the basis of this narrative, virtuous behaviors by different targets, from the consumer to the company itself.
The results of the project will significantly support the following Spoke 2 actions: ● Improved actionable knowledge on sustainable and circular manufacturing; ● Design Strategies framework and capacity building toolkit; ● Sustainable consumption behaviors triggered by circular PSS solutions; ● Education & training activities for students, researchers and industrials Specifically, the project aims to achieve the following objectives at the end of the first year: ● A comprehensive understanding of the state-of-the-art, case studies and best business practices related to Made in Italy Values that will specifically lead to the creation of generative maps [ER1] capable of: (i) tell the Made in Italy Values story (ii) represent immersive storytelling and methods: knowing the spectrum of possibilities and scouting trends, opportunities and best practices ● development of the Made in Italy identity [ER2] ● a system of collecting knowledge and values related to business practices that will result in the creation of a representative abacus of Made in Italy values [ER3] ● definition of concepts that can represent a macro-paper of values that can tell the Made in Italy Values specific to each pilot company [ER4] ● an initial dissemination that will see a series of publications of scientific articles and conferences able to tell the preliminary results of the project’s research [ER5] The EMOTIONAL project aims to achieve the following objectives at the end of the two-year project duration: ● Investigation, design, development the indagati values all’interno di storytelling immersivo on sustainable hybrid storytelling experiences able to combine real and virtual assets: sonification, pseudohaptic [ER6] ● Implement demonstrators of sustainable immersive storytelling (1 fully virtual, 1 hybrid), build a case study for large and small industry [ER7] ● Validation of innovative narrative models based on immersive interaction by collecting and analyzing feedback of the immersive experience [ER8] New educational models that can be differentiated for different types of targets: companies, designers industry experts, end user [ER9] ● Measured user awareness apt to validate the transformative capacity of the narratives designed and developed [ER10] ● A final dissemination that will see a series of publications of scientific articles, conferences, and informal talks that can tell the story of the project’s preliminary research findings [ER11]