Scarabee's Experience Centre

Innovation through co-creation

This year, our lives have changed in both dramatic and unprecedented ways, not seen for over a century.

The impact experienced by the industry has completely altered the blueprint. Systems that have been refined and optimised over decades are now set to an undefined paradigm.

Leaving many speculating whether this current critical point in time could also bring about a wave of invention. To challenge traditional thinking and thought patterns and consider ‘what if’ and ‘what could be.’

So, who are the inventors and game-changers of the industry who will help to reframe our approach and future direction? 

In the Netherlands, at the forefront of human-centric design is Scarabee Aviation Group. For over two decades, Scarabee has worked with the world’s leading airports and airlines to co-create the development of the most unique and innovative solutions available to the industry today.

I spoke with Michael Tan, CCO, and co-founder of their philosophy and perspective on curiosity and design.

Q. Explain why, in your view, taking a collaborative approach in the initial design and planning phase is so critical to positive outcomes?

While we understand that traditional processes are required in many business cases, we often see it can leave little room for innovation. Meaning, the response received is often predefined, removed from critical insight – a monologue rather than a dialogue.

Our methodology leaves assumptions at the door and helps uncover the intrinsic needs of the end-user to create long-term solutions that deliver and delight.

Q. What is the concept behind Scarabee’s Experience Centre?

The art of moving people is so very different from moving objects.

Last year we saw some 4 billion passengers take to the skies, which is over half of the world’s population, destined for hundreds of different destinations. While the number of baggage items these passengers carry, can be classified across over 99 different types^, the various groups of people, their needs and desires cannot be captured in a chart as easily.

The concept behind the Experience Centre (pictured above), was to create a space that supports the transformation of core business processes. To consider as part of the design process the unique passenger experience, and how their needs may change throughout the course of their journey. The environment promotes the sharing of knowledge and insight, resulting in a co-creative approach. The workshops held within the centre, enable all stakeholders to truly engage and be part of the solution, expediting the decision making process.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Q. How does Scarabee’s workshop experience cultivate new ideas and thinking? 

Within the workshop, you are engaging with the customer to co-create the solution, leaving behind what already exists, starting with the problem and a customer-centric mind set.

A lot of industry knowledge exists in the room, but what is unique for the participants is the experience of learning about the customer through a new perspective shared by each of the individual stakeholders, representing all areas and touchpoints of the passenger journey. Today the usage of terminal space, staff empowerment and productivity, health and hygiene have become even more important and call for a co-creative approach to find the optimum service level.

“No one department owns the customer’s experience wholly. It is through the collation of collective viewpoints does clarity emerge, and a vision begins to materialise.”

By sharing varied positions, we increase stakeholder engagement across all levels of our customer’s business, assisting in expediting their internal approval process. Often a significant pain point for many customers, is obtaining broad adoption and buy-in, in those early stages.

Q. What would you say to those who feel the industry cannot adopt this approach? 

What is the customer paying for, if not a considered approach, ideation, and solutions? There is significant value for all stakeholders throughout the process if you take the time to prepare yourself and really engage with the customer.

Q. Your partnership with Schiphol Airport has seen their approach to passenger security, completely transformed. How did this come to be? 

In the summer of 2013, Schiphol made the decision to transform passenger security. The first transformation was the new face of security, treating passengers as citizens of the world and guests of the airport. The second transformation was to centralise security, having five central security filters instead of a decentralised gate security. The third transformation was to implement 100% screening with CT-technology, allowing passengers to keep liquids and laptops in their bag. Three transformations in just five years, which is truly remarkable. The transformation canvas was composed of the following elements: a sound vision, excellent public, private partnership, an innovative and co-creative approach, and a strong business case.

Airports worldwide have leveraged Scarabee’s strategic workshops to align critical stakeholders and assist in reimagining the passenger experience. To visualise the future of airports and air travel, seeing the environment beyond being merely a point of transit, but a destination in their own right, enlivening social and cultural interactions to deliver economic growth.

About Scarabee Aviation Group

Scarabee is an international company with offices around the globe. With over 30 years’ experience, we work closely together with the world’s leading airports and airlines and business partners, developing unique, innovative and tailor-made solutions for the passenger and baggage handling and security sector.

Scarabee is an innovative company, employing highly motivated and skilled professionals who delight in developing added-value IT solutions. Together with expert partners, our software and systems ensure that airports are ready to meet tomorrow’s opportunities.

In 2019, Scarabee became an affiliate of Daifuku Co., Ltd. (, the world’s leading provider of material handling systems to the factory and distribution, cleanroom, automotive, airport, and general industry markets. Daifuku is headquartered in Osaka, Japan, with production and sales bases in 26 countries.

Scarabee website