BYU hosts first in-person 7 Experiences Summit

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The 7 Experiences Summit features four days of workshops and presentations. The Experience Research Organization held the 7 Experiences Summit, the first in-person conference of its kind from Oct. 12-15 at BYU. (Abby Gunderson)

The Experience Research Organization held the 7 Experiences Summit, the first in-person conference of its kind from Oct. 12-15 at BYU.

The summit brought professionals and academics from around the world to Provo for four days of workshops, presentations and the chance to rub shoulders with others who are passionate about creating and understanding experiences.

Audrey Seager, an Information Systems student who helped plan the conference, said the conference highlights BYU’s contribution to the experience design world.

“We just have a lot of experience leaders in the experience design program,” Seager said.

Conference attendees mingle at the poster presentation event for the 7 Experiences Summit. The summit brought experience design professionals and academics from around the world to Provo for the first in-person conference of its kind. (Abigail Gunderson)

Brian Hill, a BYU Experience Design and Management professor and the chair of the Experience Research Organization, said although there aren’t many experience-related programs in the country, the conference featured representatives from each. Hill added that for BYU, a fairly new Experience Design program, hosting the conference has been a privilege.

“It’s exceeded our expectations in probably every way,” he said.

Around 30 EXDM students attended the conference, and four undergraduate research teams presented posters. Evan Grundvig, one of the students who presented said his major offers unique opportunities for all careers.

Evan Grundvig (left) presents his team’s research poster at the 7 Experiences Summit. Grundvig’s team researched student experience on a study abroad to Europe. (Abigail Gunderson)

“It’s just a field that is very new in general and offers a very unique perspective on a lot of different aspects of business, or just like pretty much any field that you want to study,” he said.

Seager said one of the highlights of the event was seeing real-life application for experience design curriculum. First-year EXDM students read two books to kick off their time in the program, and the authors of each book attended the conference.

“That’s a really big major draw for students and for professionals,” she said.

The conference featured professionals involved in patient experience, customer experience, tourism and several other experience-related fields. BYU’s own program started in 2017, replacing the recreation management program with a new emphasis on positive psychology and promoting experiences over products, Hill explained.

“This focus on experience is just growing,” he said. “We know that that doing things brings us more happiness than having things.”

After several days of speakers, workshops and networking opportunities, the conference finished Saturday with a day of “adventure experiences,” including national parks visits, research and writing groups and a customer experience taco tour.

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