The Secret Sitting Next to You

The Secret Sitting Next to You

In collaboration with Semi Permanent, MOO and NIDA, designers from Stanford, the world's leading educators of design thinking methodology, crafted a special experience for the creative community at SP Sydney 2016.

The Secret Sitting Next to You is an audio assignment, drawn from a popular class, Creative Gym; an activity that helped connect the SP attendees on a much deeper level and change the way they view their surroundings.

How it worked

Inside every Semi Permanent gift bag was a special MOO business card embedded with NFC technology that allowed those with Android or Windows devices to simply tap and connect to the URL that housed the audio assignment.

NFC Business cards by MOO connected users to the audio assignment
Semi Permanent gift bags

Once on the Secrets website, attendees were then prompted to find a comfortable place to sit and get ready to people watch. For the next 10 minutes, they listened to a powerful audio track created by Stanford exploring empathy in design. 

"Empathy is the ability to feel what other people feel. As designers, our ability to feel what others do is a big part of what we do."

Scott Doorley, Stanford Creative Director


Attendees were then asked to share something important about themselves that they've never shared before. It could be something they're too embarrassed to say out loud; something lingering that they need to get off their chest; something they're ashamed of or never want to admit; or a wish - something they want or dream of.

"There are so many amazing people at Semi Permanent and so much creativity, so much generosity of spirit and unfortunately you only get to interact with a tiny fraction of the people who are there. This experiment is designed to bring to the surface some of that richness and give us a way to all connect and experience it."

Sarah Stein Greenberg, Stanford Executive Director

These secrets were then anonymously read aloud on stage by two NIDA actors in the main talks hall.

The lights were dimmed, the crowd was silent and the result was incredibly powerful...

NIDA actors on stage

"I served as a lifeguard for two years...but I cannot swim."

"I think I'm gay. Which really fights my desire to have a wife."

"I wish I could be happy."

"I'm in a successful long term relationship but I have an overpowering wanderlust that will break free at some point."

"I feel sadder about David Bowie's death than the deaths of some of my own family members."

"I wish I could throw caution to the wind and not worry about meeting my excruciating high standards which prevent me from being the rockstar I was born to be."

"I wish I was able to make more time for adventures with my son...maybe I should quit my job."

"I secretly love someone. And I think she loves me back. But we haven't told each other yet. And she's here today."


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