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Creating a comic book set 15 years in the future

Lowe’s Innovation Labs partnered with Savannah College of Art & Design to develop the first-ever narrative-driven innovation course in fall 2016. This spring, we launched our second course within the sequential art department, a program where students master the art of visual storytelling through a variety of mediums: comic books, cartoons, storyboards, and more. For our course, we specifically focused on the creation of a comic book as part of our narrative-driven innovation process.

Our team has been using narrative as a strategic tool to unlock the future and articulate our vision with others since our launch in 2013. Our very first proof of concept, the Holoroom, stemmed out of a comic book, and we realized storytelling was an extremely powerful tool for ideation and communication.

For the SCAD course, we set out to create a comic book with the end-goal being to help our team showcase how and why visualization platforms are crucial for Lowe’s in the near-term and in the future. We prompted the students to focus the narrative around a Lowe’s professional fifteen years in the future and showcase how the pro will be enabled by these advanced visualization platforms.

Some of the questions we prompted the students with were: What will the Lowe’s professional of the future be like? What aspects of her job will be different than today? What technologies will enable her? How will she interact with those technologies?

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The story the students created follows the interactions of a Lowe’s pro, Proscilla, and shows how technology enables her to be more creative, collaborative, and knowledgeable in her work. The students used augmented reality as a basis for the technology in the story, but broke past current restraints to develop a suite of technologies, which include: augmented reality contacts, holographic blueprints, x-ray computer vision, a virtual endless aisle, a collaborative holographic pen and more.

We are using the animation and comic book that the students created to communicate our vision of the future with internal and external partners. Our next task is to build out the narrative in real life…