Chasing Hearts and Minds in Enterprise XR and Beyond

In my two previous articles in this series, Chasing Stories in Enterprise XR and Chasing Data in Enterprise XR, we established opposite positions on a crucial question about selling or promoting XR: “Which is better—showing the data or telling powerful stories?” In our final installment of this series, I would like to take this discussion in the direction of a both/and versus an either/or conclusion. In selling to customers, proponents of XR technologies need to do both.

Heart Vs Brain SBIn the last article, I related how Lockheed has seen their XR use in manufacturing “demonstrably result in 90% savings in touch labor.” The one background fact I didn’t share was a story told by Shelly Peterson, their project lead, that Lockheed technicians themselves also began to clamor for more access to the XR, because it helped them meet their goals so much more rapidly and efficiently. That’s a powerful additional thought–the strong support by rank-and-file workers.

Basically, “The troops want this”. It became an attention-getting storyline which also proved very motivating to the financial decision-makers at Lockheed. The first finding presented above (a 90% savings in touch labor) was numerical, easily provable. The second result was anecdotal—basically, a story—that supported the data in a human and deeply personal way, at least from the perspective of valued employees.

Over the years, I’ve learned that there’s nothing wrong with anecdotes when trying to promote a technology’s adoption. Although anecdotal evidence is not as convincing or as powerful an indicator of a technology’s effectiveness, when done right, success stories can build solid support for an impending purchase.

I remember a school district math specialist , who frequently uses anecdotal evidence to support his grant-writing efforts, confirming that the “effectiveness of success stories are proof that powerful [findings] can come in different forms.” When put together, both the data and a story, these two often-competing signals seem to have a multiplying effect on promoting an innovation within an organization or incentivizing a sale to a customer. Why is that? It’s because stories reach the heart and data satisfy the mind.

Think about it. Why not try to reach both? We all know a budget manager who prefers data for making business decisions; yet we often recognize other leaders who react well to heartfelt and aspirational storylines. And many fiscal chieftans will likely react extremely well to the combination of both, since numbers, taken by themselves, can be starkly cold and those often impressive stories can carry a bankable currency of hope and boundless possibility.

In justifying enterprise XR or making that next sale, chasing both the heart and mind connection is ultimately advantageous. Post pandemic, I am certain it will be much easier to win the day with both clearcut data and heartfelt stories. —Len Scrogan