Estate of Nam June Paik

Many traditional brick and mortar business leaders, including arts administrators, continue to refer to their organizations’ capacity to develop amazing “experiences” as their reason for existence without defining what an experience actually is. I think that if leaders are going to leverage “experience” as their business’ core value proposition, then they would be well served to define it.

My definition of experience is agon — two forces wrestling in service of a mission or a core truth. If a performing arts organization is putting forth great “experience” for audience members as their reason for existence, then they are in the…


Takahiko Iimura — Charlotte Moorman performing on Nam June Paik’s TV Cello wearing TV Glasses, NYC, 1971

I wrote this piece in response to audience feedback around my article “The Future of the Performing Arts in the United States of America” — specifically that it lacked:

a. Clear directions and an actionable way forward for performing arts leaders to progress their institutions in these unsettling times. I end this article with a 3-step process accordingly.

b. A response to a key question that I pose at its outset: whether or not there is a case to be made for conceiving and supporting performing arts institutions amid proliferating streaming services. And, moreover, whether the reason for that is…


Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

I’ve seen the lights go out on Broadway and the question is — how will we all go on with the show? The pandemic has laid bare our balance sheets, cash flow and income statements and exposed and exacerbated the issues that have been facing the American performing arts for decades.

What isn’t clicking? And, moreover, why should leaders of performing arts institutions even think to compete with the onslaught of top-tier virtually rendered content on Netflix and Hulu? Is it even worth evolving given the insane costs of creating quality content on our stages? …


Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash

The knowledge era is upon us (not to mention the Covid-19 era) and brick and mortar retail must change accordingly!

The craft era was driven by scarcity. The goal on the part of consumers was merely to acquire things, given general obstacles to access (i.e. no roads!). It made sense for retailers to provide high touch service as a means of facilitating acquisition and improving the rare shopping adventure to those that were able to gain access.

The industrial era was all about scale and optimization. Service becomes too costly and a suboptimal scalable solution. So how do you facilitate…


Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Entertainment, like education, is best delivered in intimate, interactive settings. Small venues that facilitate audience engagement are superior to large-scale stadium environments, like small seminar rooms that facilitate active learning are superior to large-scale lecture halls. They drive better experiences.

The entertainment world has been disrupted in remarkable ways by Covid-19. This is especially true in the performing arts space, as live performance venues have been shut down for the foreseeable future due to risk of infection. Even the world’s best known performing artists have had to pivot drastically, to drive their businesses and stay connected to their fan bases.


How “Experientiality” Manifests Online and Offline Amid Disruption

The pandemic is accelerating the evolution from the industrial age to the age of knowledge. “Experience” is a word that continues to materialize amid this evolution.

Countless guides describing how to create best-in-class online and omnichannel “experiences” have emerged across social media and academic research sites alike as part of this development (#onzoom) and more and more cx and ux related roles — including C-level “Chief Experience Officers” — seem to be surfacing on a near constant basis. And yet we, as a society, have leapfrogged from idea to tactic without a…


All of my gigs have functioned in the realm of customer experience innovation and transformation…which means that I’ve had countless, endless, exhausting arguments with folks around the nature and definition of “experience.” Is an experience an event? Is it measured in memory (#pineandgilmore)? Is it a set of beliefs?

Given everything that is transpiring in the wake of COVID, I thought that it was as good a time as any to throw my definition of experience to the universe, and some insights around how best to leverage the definition to drive meaningful experiences, through whatever channel of production (including via…

Alex Gruhin

Alex Gruhin is a cross-functional intrapreneur, customer experience innovator and arts guru. ExperientialStrategy.com

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