Handelsblatt Event

The Digital Transformation of Travel – A Pop-up Studio

At the end of 2015, designers and creatives from global agency Huge teamed up with journalists from Germany’s leading business newspaper, Handelsblatt, for a Pop-up Studio — a live research lab in Düsseldorf. Together, we went on field trips, interviewed experts and entrepreneurs from major companies and startups, and explored what the city could teach us about digital transformation in just one week.

We took the best of both worlds—the journalistic techniques of a business newspaper and the user-centric approach of a design agency, to make the most out of the research lab. With just four days before our final event in Düsseldorf, we recorded interviews, wrote articles, and prepared a presentation to share insights, weaving everything together into one narrative.

We chose a theme that gave us both a concrete starting point and opportunity for big-picture perspectives: Journeys – an exploration of how digital transformation affects the physical, emotional and mental aspects of travelling.

This is the story of our discoveries in five chapters.


Team Pop-up Studio: Till Grusche, Britta Weddeling, Sophie Kleber, Patrick Kohl, Johannes Steger, Kathrin Witsch, Ines Alexander.

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Pop-up Studio

The Digital Transformation of Travel – Access

Journeys today typically begin when someone reaches for the phone. The travel marketplace is highly-fragmented with intermediaries such as Airbnb or Uber. For them, the travel industry has been easy to disrupt, because people love to talk about it.

Pop-up Studio

The Digital Transformation of Travel – Authenticity

Travel is highly personal. It fulfills a desire to live more freely and authentic, to break away from daily life. Brands such as Deutsche Telekom, the German telecom operator that owns the T-Mobile network, try to create new experiences for their customers such as the self-driving car.

Pop-up Studio

The Digital Transformation of Travel – Filters

With access to everything, the Internet has made travellers prone to decision fatigue amid a tyranny of choices. Companies come up with products and services that will be smart enough to anticipate our needs before the user communicates them.

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Pop-up Studio

The Digital Transformation of Travel – Trust

The digital world is complex. In the not so distant future, artificial intelligence and robots will make more and more decisions for us. But how can companies create machines that people really trust?

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Pop-up Studio

The Digital Transformation of Travel – Wayfinding

With digital maps and car navigation systems, technology is moving from its omnipresence in the foreground to an invisible force in the background. Technology is allowing us to look up from our screens to see the world with fresh eyes. No matter where we go, we will never be lost again.