Asynchronous Experience in NDK and Why We Should Read About Experience Economy

I decided not to leave things only up to posts on Instagram and Facebook, but to write about my asynchronous experience, in the National Palace of Culture, in brief NDK, in Sofia, relating it to the theory of the Experience Economy.

I hasten to recall that the authors of the theory of the Experience Economy are James Gilmore and Joseph Pine. (I constantly tend to write David Gilmore and Joseph Fiennes 😊). They have managed to map people’s experiences at a place and call on the business to think seriously about this topic. They even invented the profession Chief Experience Officer. It is so important to stage and manage customers’ experience that a Director’s position at the C level is needed already. Even more,

… they claim that “the greatest opportunity for value creations resides in staging experiences” [1]


Experience diagram by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, The Experience Economy
Experience diagram by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, The Experience Economy

This chart demonstrates what types of experiences the customers have. They run on both axes actively-passive, absorbent-immersive.

You can read more about this in my article

The Experience Economy in action with the cooking class of Chef Heinz von Holzen on Bali- Part 2

And also

The Experience Economy in action with the cooking class of Chef Heinz von Holzen on Bali- Part 1

As always, the occasion to visit the National Palace of Culture was a concert. I went with a Christmas mood and attitude to listen to nice, popular classical, opera, operetta music. Exactly those my expectations were well met, but for that I will write in a moment to have a nice finish pf the article.

It is evident that the NDK repair is ok. White tiles, but they sort of stay unnatural.In the spaces around the halls were abandoned constructions of some pavilions, which either were assembled or dismantled during the day and didn’t quite please the eye. They could have been covered with cheerful advertisements, Christmas motifs, giving a pleasant aesthetic experience to the visitors, etc.

I would suggest those skeletons of pavilions to be covered with white panes for people to paint on them with chalk, pens, crayons. There will be interesting captions and drawings, I’m sure.

But that might seem complicated as Christo’s art is.

Hallelujah–and there’s a renovation in the restrooms. Huge spaces. Only I felt asynchronisity-spacious hallways in contrast to very narrow cubicles. They could at least take some of the hallways to stalls. But in general, it is not such an unpleasant experience as it was before the renovations and one can straighten her makeup undisturbed on separate mirrors for this purpose.

On the ground floor I saw an interesting art installation calling for recycling. But there, with those piles of constructions I almost misplaced it with some of the renovation work. I barely managed to shoot the installation without seeing the cupboards and the bins next to it. Only, then I didn’t think I was going to write that story. I had to shoot everything.

We took our children with us to this concert. We try to raise in them from early childhood a sense of aesthetics, love for classical music, a sense of good musical style. To teach them to be able to distinguish the ephemera from the value in music-in all its genres.  They dress-up for such occasions as for celebration. Well, with these kiosk skeletons around, they also felt a little asynchronous.

Before the concert we all were thirsty for water. I went looking. First of all, it was a problem to get out of the concert hall after I got in. Maybe they’re right. However, one man had mercy and let me go, leaving my ticket to him, so that he could know who he was letting in and out.

And when I went around…. I was going to be late for the concert, although I was 30 minutes early. There were no buffets to buy a drink or a snack. There were some years before but not anymore. Such indulgences are available only in the opera, the Music theatre and the arena. In the Sofia Opera you can even have the pleasure of drinking sparkling wine. In the National Theatre “Ivan Vazov” you can warm yourself with whiskey if you got too cold outside in the wind, waiting for your +1. In the Arena Armeec besides soda there are beer, whiskey, vodka, popcorn and nuts. Well, NDK is over that stuff. Why should people have such extras. They should spend their money on culture without consuming anything to have pure cultural delight. If you are very desperate for a drink, they put 2 vending machines per floor (the floors are sure per acre). But there is one problem. They don’t supply them with the most important- water. There was no water in any machine. I didn’t know if it was over or there never was. You say, well, go to the bathroom and drink. Well, that’s what we used to do in the past, when customer service was of no importance. But come on, we don’t do this anymore. There were a lot of kids and old people at the show and all they were left without the ability to hydrate. A child cried in the courtroom, he could have been thirsty.

I do not know how to explain to NDK managers, that it is for their best to provide normal access to water – they just need to put more vending machines and load them up. Evenmore, they can organize buffets or outsource this activity like it is done at other places. Think about it, ladies and gentlemen! In this way the customers’ experience staging will be good and profitable for you.

Otherwise, at least electronic tickets one can already buy in a normal way for performances. Previously it was a very unpleasant experience with a badly managed platform. Now they have their own and sell tickets also through another one, which is doing a little better than the others available.

Vienna Classic Orchestra created a great mood with a sense of humor and good music!

There was a Bulgarian among the musicians, who greeted the audience and helped the conductor with the translation. We heard the best of Carmen, Traviata, Massenet, Viennese Blood, The Bat, and the Strauss family, in general, was well represented. We have traditionally finished with Radetzky March with the active participation by the audience. The client experience in relation to what was happening on the stage was both immersive and active. The aesthetic enjoyment of music turned into escape from reality and that was great.

We wanted to have a program or at least set-list  printed for the audience, but that the organizers from ARTBG had omitted. Otherwise we would have an educational experience too. I don’t have problem with this because I know the works well, but what do we do with everyone else in the room? I could have my children reading in the list what was played, instead of whispering constantly.

Joseph Pine and James Gilmore recommend eliminating all negatively influencing the experience hooks for the attention of the client. The lack of set list, water, the messy areas around the concert hall are of great importance to the overall experience.

And performers, who give their hearts and energy on the stage don’t even know about these neglected issues.

Another interesting detail, again in favor of the performers on stage. The conductor did not restrict us from using the phones. We photographed at will, we shared, because this world music should be available to as many people as possible.  That made our experience active. I share it with you, wishing you happy holidays and light in the soul.


[1] Pine II, B. Joseph, Gilmore, James, The Experience Economy, Harvard Business Review Press. Kindle Edition.

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