Social innovation

08/09/2020

In an increasingly digital world, people are once again at the heart of business

Will digital and human always and inevitably be on opposing sides or can they pool their resources to achieve a shared goal?

All articles

Digital vs Human

We tend to believe that digital and human are two separate and opposing concepts: metal circuits as versus the human body, automated processes versus the creative mind, precision versus the inevitable confusion. Two irreconcilable sides of the same coin with their pros and cons in a battle where the human supporters believe that a machine can never have a human’s creativity and ability to think laterally while those that support the digital are sure that it is only a question of time and, moreover, that work performed by a machine is much more advantageous from many standpoints, to the point that it will even replace humans.
This is a synopsis of the ideas bandied around in the recent past…until we realised that people are actually returning to the forefront in an increasingly digital business world, maybe even more so than in the past.

In an increasingly digital world, humans are once again at the heart of business: making the difference is their ability to launch an actual digital innovation process rather than to just talk about it

The centricity of customer experience

When we talk about people centricity, we automatically think of customers, the person for whom the products or services are designed. This concept has never really been questioned in recent decades but is an essential part of every marketing strategy or communication campaign irrespective of their scope. In this sense, technology is a veritable plethora of extremely precious data: the importance of Big Data on which the strategies of the largest players in global markets have been based for some time is now widely available know-how. And there is more: services are increasingly tailored as are products to intercept wants, habits, dreams and needs no longer and not only of a target audience but of individual users themselves.
If the term "customised" is one of the most commonly used in all industrial and services environments, the "person" is at the heart of the process even though they are supported by increasingly evolved technological systems.

People in a digital company

The area in which the whole digital-human debate has caused the greatest shockwaves is probably that of the internal organisation of companies. While some managers may believe (or delude themselves) that they can rely on increasing productivity and efficiency (where everything is predictable and can be measured, immune to typical human error), concerns that AI would replace human work may be at the root of a defensive or even defiant attitude.

Once again, time has shown that actually the companies that have embraced Digital Innovation in a whole-hearted and knowledgeable manner have been those that have enhanced their human capital the most.

Technology at the service of individual and collective potential

Despite the understandable enthusiasm for the extraordinary successes of technology and its developments (never before have innovations followed one another at such a dizzying pace as in recent decades), we have rapidly discovered that technology is a means and not an end in itself. And this begs the question: a means to what? To allow individuals and communities (which could be a work team, a social group or humanity as a whole) to unleash their wholly human potential of knowledge, creativity, imagination, growth and ability to visualise alternative paths.
The human factor, freed on the one hand from the more mechanical and repetitive tasks, has actually been bolstered by technology's contribution and can thus not only give a more valuable and productive contribution to companies but can also improve society's well-being. Thus, an enlightened manager can put in place a virtuous cycle in which digital and human engage with and profit from each other's unique virtues.