There is a job posting at Sephora for Innovation Architect for digital and mobile. The job description is as follows:

Your Mission…

In a culture that mirrors San Francisco startups, fast, nimble, bold and innovative action is the norm at this beauty behemoth. Your primary mission is to architect and guide the design for Sephora’s digital interactive technology that recognizes and greets customers and provides that “wow factor” from the moment they enter each Sephora store! Sephora is counting on you to create never-seen-before interactive technology that captures and engages customers, leaving them with a lasting, valued impression of their visit. As you lead the creation of new customer experiences, you’ll also optimize existing in-store systems, including ground-breaking innovations like: IQ kiosks (for fragrance, skin care, color), iBeacons, online appointments, mobile wallets, POS and more. Imagine seeing your ‘interactive design collection’ become the beauty shopping experience that all women will envy!

Your Responsibilities…

Reporting to the Director of Engineering your focus is on ecommerce, mobile and in-store digital innovation with direct consumer impact. You’ll spearhead the architecture and advance development that will contribute directly to bottom-line revenues. Once architected, you’ll guide the development teams through the coding process. As a company that’s already at the forefront of mobile and in-store applications, Sephora utilizes a broad technology stack – Objective C, java, PHP, Flash, HTML5/CSS5/JS, JQuery, Cordova, node.js, MySQL, SQL Lite.

As you can see, this is not an Architect in the traditional physical, bricks and mortar sense, but in the digital sense. As I delved more into it further, I have found there is a whole marketing discipline that has sprouted up focused on mapping out the customer’s experience or journey. This appears to be an outgrowth of the Pine and Gilmore’s branding/experience economy discussion from the late 90’s.

But as we get closer to the “internet of things”, and as more things get integrated into the environment, who will be determining the overall experience? With their collaborative process and pre-visualization storytelling pizzazz, branding and tech-orientated design firms (like Frog and IDEO) may have a leg up on architects when it comes to the front-end or design portion of the project.

The definition of an “architect” is getting blurred, and Architects need to sharpen their saws to keep up with the rapid changes. Even the rapper Kanye West wants to “architect everything”.

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