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“Great Design is Storytelling Design”
Jon Snoddy kicks off WCX 2022 with Opening Keynote

Posted: April 5, 2022

How do you create something that not only fits the market need, but is memorable? 

Following the Disney model, as WCX keynote speaker and Advanced Development Studio Executive SVP at Walt Disney Imagineering Jon Snoddy does, means crafting a narrative that fits into the life of the user.

“Great design is storytelling design,” Snoddy said during the opening address at the SAE International signature event.

At the Disney parks where Snoddy has designed such great innovations as the ride vehicle for the Indiana Jones attraction, the flying robot for the Spiderman show at Disneyland, and the AI robot character who serves a concierge to guests on Disney’s new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser resort, those stories inspire guests to feel the same way they do while consuming the media on which they are based, carrying forward the narrative of magic that Disney is built on.

New autonomous ride vehicles also are allowing Disney to give guests the opportunity to drive into the stories from their childhood and today. As Snoddy puts it, machines are part of the storytelling of life.

The same concept, he says, can be applied to on road vehicles.

“We choose cars based on how they fit into the story of our lives,” Snoddy said.

The next steps in mobility are ones that mirror those Disney is taking in their experience development, with a focus on sustainability with a move toward zero emissions and incorporating the convenience of artificial intelligence and other new and developing technologies into the build of the vehicle.

 “We need to build things that are things people feel something about and make them want to do things,” Snoddy said. “Rather than building generic appliances, we should all strive to build interesting stories.”