Simple technological innovations can help bring consumers 'back into the moment,' according to Novalia MD Kate Stone

“The way we now consume content is crazy,” remarked Kate Stone, Novalia MD. “We consume content anywhere and everywhere. We consume it with friends, in meetings, watching TV, even crossing the street and sat on the toilet.”

This constant desire to consume content is just one thing businesses and brands now need to take into account in order to tune into people’s needs in a digital world according to Stone, who will be speaking at The Drum’s 4 Minute Warning conference next week.

In conversation with The Drum ahead of her ‘The Innovation is in the Integration’ session Stone revealed how incorporating simple technology into physical objects can help “bring us back to the moment” and away from this always on and always distracted mentality we’ve adopted.

“There’s something very special about a moment, something that only happens in that one physical space,” she adds.

As a child Stone admits she was fascinated with putting electronics into objects, a desire which led her to study a degree quickly followed by a PhD in physics at Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory. At Novalia Stone describes her work as “the realisation of my childhood fascinations,” putting electronics into paper.

Of her work at Novalia, Stone explains: “We’re not trying to make a magazine be more like a computer or a book be more like a tablet. We’re trying to let them be magazines or books but augment them with technology. It’s about taking the essence of that richer online experience and building that into a physical object that is also unique and cannot be replicated online.”

According to Stone this idea of implementing simple technology into the physical world is what could disrupt high street retail as we know it in the near future. “Consumers don’t prefer to shop online or buy things through their phone; it’s just more convenient and gives a much richer experience. If retailers could find a way to bring the experience we get online into the physical store and back onto the high street that is the next step.

“I want to go to the high street and but stuff but I get a very poor experience there compared to online, once that changes I think we’ll see the world of retail evolve. It’s a combination of the best things about what is physical and the essence of digital and giving a digital nature to a physical thing.”

Going back to her discussion next Wednesday (4 December) Stone says the audience will be most surprised to see what can be done with a piece of paper. She reveals: “[The audience] will definitely get a different perspective on things not being quite as they seem. We think everything is becoming more about the phone and the tablet and things made in China but it’s the everyday things that can be made and designed locally that can provide the richest experiences.

“The biggest surprise is just what can become interactive and the type of interactivity that can be had.”

Stone is just one of a number of speakers taking to the stage next Wednesday (4 December) as part of The Drum's 4 Minute Warning conference which seeks to establish how the digital revolution will continue to change and disrupt the business world as we know it. Also speaking at the event are Luke Ritchie, executive producer at Nexus Interactive Arts; Gravity Road founder Mark Boyd; Simon Gill, executive creative director for DigitasLBi; and Tom Adams head of global strategy for Futurebrand. Information on all of the speakers and ticket booking can be found on the 4 Minute Warning website.