The future is human

On a  concept and philosophy that should be passionately promoted as part of the overall understanding of what Digital Transformation truly means.

by Moriella Kowalski

Innovation culture 05 September 2018

When working with corporates and discussing innovation, two distinct attitudes emerge when addressing potential future scenarios. Although different, what these two approaches lead to is the overarching understanding that putting the human factor first – will definitely become a differentiator in capitalizing on new forms of innovation for the future.

The first approach is what we define as the “tech-enthusiast”. These are companies which are usually led by hands-on, tech-savvy experts who understand the potential of technologies and look to create new solutions or enhance ongoing operations by leveraging on the disruptive – integrating new sophisticated solutions such as AI, robotics, automation or simply creating new digital experiences.

The second approach can be defined as “holistic-adventurer”. These companies tend to have a more conservative approach that focuses on preparing the internal corporate terrain so it can better absorb the impact of new technologies. A prime example is a company that starts investing in its people and their growth. This begins a process of overall cultural change through individual learning or through the integration of new profiles that can infuse fresh ways of thinking into the organization at large, offering broader reach.

There is no right or wrong, for there is diversity in corporate DNA, our role is to respect both and light up the pathway to transformation. The reality is that between these two extremes there is a grey area in which companies tend to position themselves based on their level of readiness, managerial commitment, role of internal transformation promoter, and overall vision.

One thing that is becoming increasingly evident is that the we as people evolve much faster than the companies we work for. This, coupled with the fact that we live in an era wherein machines have penetrated every aspect of our lives, means that the ability to maintain a human perspective is paramount.

Acknowledging that innovation is not only a “light bulb” moment, but a natural organic exchange between humans and the context in which they operate means that we are able to maintain a relational, behavioral and ethical perspective whenever we define an innovation strategy within an organization – creating a fruitful exchange between the organisation itself and the outside world.

We refer to this exchange as conversation and, more than anything, it entails forging a new common language that channels the expectations and desires of both external and internal “clients” directly back into the organisational core, impacting not only products and services but also organizational structure and people strategy. Once this has been achieved, it means that the wall that up until today has been separating the organization from the outside world has finally been taken down.

This free-flowing exchange of ideas can also be seen in the ever-growing integration of methodologies, such as service design (or others), for the creation and validation of new ideas. These methodologies use a human-centric approach for designing new solutions for both internal and external customers while at the same time trying to maintain an agile, inclusive approach that is both tailor made and memorable.

Another interesting example is the adaptation of processes, such as open innovation, that combine internal and external ideas, resources and paths to market in order to advance the development of new technologies, new business and new value creation. Open innovation constantly seeks external stimuli to respond to customer expectations (both internal or external) remembering and acknowledging the fact that the answer doesn’t always come from within.

With this in mind, “The Future is Human” is both a concept and philosophy that should be passionately promoted as part of the overall understanding of what innovation and Digital Transformation truly mean.

Today’s constellation of global innovation eco-systems provide an opportunity to access an organized network of solutions in a structured and organic manner. It is up to us, companies and individuals, to leverage those eco-systems and use them as a vehicle for shaping our vision and solutions while giving our point of view of what “HUMAN” actually means.

If we are able to make people feel special, acknowledge the value they bring and design around their needs they will, more often then not, excel.

In his book “Drive”, Daniel Pink explains three components that complete intrinsic motivation:

Autonomy – Being self-motivated and self-organized. It is about trusting people to do the right thing and distributing authority.

Mastery – Honing skills and talents. It’s about setting aside space for self-accomplishment and individual passion as well as growing expertise and knowledge in areas of interest.

Purpose – Being connected to a clear inspirational purpose and establishing individual purpose as part of the aforementioned greater purpose.

So whether a corporate is more of a “tech-enthusiast” or a “holistic-adventurer”, by recognizing the importance of people (and what drives them) we can design the right journey and arrive at the desired destination.

The Future is Human is not about distancing ourselves from technologies, rather, it is about making them work for us and cater to our needs. As either clients or employees, it is crucial to design a system in which Humans can move freely around in a natural and intuitive way whenever searching for a solution.

Space, benefits, products, services, communications or even sustainable processes, whichever innovative solution we embark upon, human-centric solutions should be co-created for and with the people around us.

The Future is Human means organizations are shifting into a space that doesn’t simply manage people transformation from a change management perspective, but rather begins the transformation with the individual at its helm creating a fluid, sustainable connection between organizational change and new offerings.

The Future is Human means that in a technologically and digitally driven society we are reconquering our space and repossessing our own individual selves without compromising on personality, needs and expectations. In this sense, the individual can finally be acknowledged as the main driver and differentiator in a transformation journey that is part of an overall innovation Strategic agenda.