Human value is back at the centre of innovation: Accenture Interactive

  • People and organisations are rethinking what they really want
  • People are being more selective about products and services


Human value is back at the centre of innovation: Accenture Interactive


FACING an explosion of digital clutter resulting from two decades of rapid technology growth and innovation, people and organisations are rethinking what they really want, says a new report by Accenture. 

A fundamental re-examination of what people want and value is ushering in a new design ethos that puts human value back at the center of innovation.

At this inflection point, Accenture Interactive has released Fjord Trends 2019, its 12th annual outlook on what’s ahead for the future of business, technology and design.

According to the report, years of organisational investment in innovation have left customers feeling inundated and overwhelmed, straining the demands on our time and attention.

Whereas once we craved the novelty, excitement and instant gratification, we now crave more quiet and meaning in a noisy world.

People and organisations are doing some soul-searching about what they really value, rejecting products and services that don’t meet their needs – in effect, changing the nature of our relationships with technology and brands.

“Digital is facing a big spring cleaning: a time when we decide whether something still has value and relevance to our lives,” said Mark Curtis, Fjord’s co-founder and chief client officer.

“Digital is now so widely adopted that its novelty has worn off. In their attempt to declutter, people are being more selective about which products and services they incorporate into their daily lives, choosing to disconnect, unsubscribe or opt-out if the value exchange is not mutual. Never before has the responsibility of design been more important.”

This mindset shift has major implications — and creates massive opportunities — for organisations and for customer experience, says the report. It’s time to take stock and rethink products, services, and experiences that people actually want and value.

1. Silence is gold

We’re seeing a dramatic escalation in the rate at which people disconnect, unsubscribe and opt out to stem the barrage of content and messages that clutter daily life.

As consumers, we’ve come to realise that it’s no longer simply a lifestyle choice, but a serious mental health issue.

As we put up more barriers between ourselves and digital technologies, organisations must learn how to offer value to users who crave quiet in a noisy world.

2. The last straw?

Our climate is changing and so is the way we’re thinking about it.

Our concerns about global warming, pollution and sustainability have experienced a cultural shift. Where once it was “too big to do anything about,” now it’s personal.

In 2019, it won’t be enough for companies to simply acknowledge environmental concerns; consumers will expect commitment to be proven through action.

Organisations will need to redesign their systems and business models to fit the “circular economy,” where users are active participants, and sustainability is built into their products and services.

3. Data minimalism

Data’s headline appearances throughout 2018 distorted people’s understanding of the value exchange between data owner (you) and data user (organisations).

Expectations around how much people’s personal data is worth became falsely inflated, and the mystery surrounding how it’s used became a cause for concern.

Moving forward, organisations must design for transparency, so that consumers can trust that they’re pursuing only the data they need to build new products and services, and that they’re using and storing that data responsibly.

4. Ahead of the curb

Our cities are changing.

Around the globe, lines are blurring between public and private transport, passenger transit and item delivery. The problem is that cities aren’t keeping up, so insufficient regulation and lack of central planning has resulted in a free-for-all that’s leading to urban mobile service clutter and a fragmented user experience.

In 2019, organisations must start to consolidate mobility services within a single, coherent ecosystem built on real-time needs.

5. The inclusivity paradox

People expect organisations to see and engage with them as individuals.

But there is a risk that by trying to be more inclusive, organizations inadvertently exclude others. And by trying to speak to the individual, organisations risk saying something not quite right.

Eventually, artificial intelligence (AI) will help overcome this paradox of inclusivity. Until then, organisations must evolve their approach beyond stale segmentation to meaningful mindsets if they’re to meet developing expectations.

6. Space odyssey

First, digital drove us to our screens. Then, physical fought back. Both dramatically changed our expectations of the physical world – first in retail, then in the workplace and soon in public spaces.

Now, as digital and physical intertwine, organisations must find ways to seamlessly interconnect digital and physical experiences. This will require a fundamental rethink of the approaches and tools for designing spaces in order to meet users’ expectations of greater flexibility and personalisation.

7. Synthetic realities

There’s a new kind of reality on the block. Generated and mixed realities are blurring the boundaries of “truth” and challenging how we value it.

As synthetic realities become more normalised in 2019, organisations should look past the drama and fear associated with them.

Instead, they should hone new strategies to capitalise on their creative potential and manage the risk of unwittingly being featured in a synthetic reality created by someone else.


Human value is back at the centre of innovation: Accenture Interactive


“Many organisations in Malaysia have been actively spending time innovating and it's time for them to differentiate what is generating value and what isn't. They will need to combine strategic thinking and human insights to provide experiences that make people’s lives better, more productive, and more meaningful,” says Ramesh Rajandran (pic, above), principal director, Accenture Interactive. “

The opportunity of design to really revolutionise services are probably greater now than what we have seen in many years and people are ready to see Malaysia reimagined in this aspect. I’m excited to see that the work we do with our clients here are heading towards the right direction.”


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