IRDC 2016 – Postscript

Eric Kuhn, BHDP Retail design leader, reviews his time spent at IRDC 2016 in Montreal, Canada.


change in retail design irdc 2016 eric kuhnGoodness! I’ve just now attempted to decompress and digest all that was IRDC (International Retail Design Conference) 2016. In the aftermath of what was presented, discussed and debated, I’m so very pleased to have attended – and just a tad proud to have had my own little audience! What it does for the creative soul, that level of immersion. And, within this post conference hindsight, what’s certain is that there is no shortage of innovation and provocative thinking. What’s uncertain is the form, shape and method our realm of retail will take. But that’s the exciting thing about all of it.

Much discussion was had on the subject of change. And more to the point, the speed of change, as threaded through my session Brand Evolution during which I shared how brands can avoid extinction through transformation, migration and expansion. What’s more clear than ever before is that idleness is the death knell for any retailer; conversely, change brings life.

As we think about virtual and augmented reality (concepts that frankly challenge my understanding of authentic experience), I’m compelled to acknowledge just how fast and far-flung change is coming. To this end, I found David Kepron‘s session particularly intriguing in his thoughts on how the disciplines of the neurosciences play into how and why we create experiences.

In fact, it’s in our acknowledgement of other realities and in the truth of neuroscience that force (actually, insist) brand evolve. But it’s not limited to just these realms; sometimes, a thoughtfully executed renovation can be just the ticket. But change it is. And this retail world is the personification of the perpetual conditions we all work within. And its one heck of a ride.

A big thank you to VMSD for allowing me and my very special guest, Aimee Morgida from Roche Bros., to take the stage. It was a pleasure to share and I deeply appreciate all the follow up conversations with those in attendance.

To further the conversation, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]; to learn more about BHDP’s retail services, visit