Feb 21, 2020
What does a CXO in a global OTT streaming powerhouse have in common with a counterpart in a FinTech company? While target audience and market dynamics maybe different for every category there is a common factor: we all have to craft business strategies in a digital world. However, are all enterprises on a level playground when it comes to making the most of human capital and digital technologies?
According to PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series, while Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution (commonly known as 4IR) ‘may be everywhere, not everyone is yet fully on board’ to thrive in this digital revolution. We may never achieve a situation where all enterprises are equally adept at crafting delightful digital experiences by effectively using emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, blockchain and more.
In my interactions with CXOs across various industries, I have observed three common challenges which all enterprises – irrespective of domain, B2B or B2C, have to grapple with:
Is technology everything? Is effective use of code, blockchain or voice technology a true long-term advantage? In my view, no. Nothing can replace the intuitive nature of human interaction and insight gathered from such. HBR defines an insight as ‘an imaginative understanding of an internal or external opportunity that can be tapped to improve efficiency, generate revenue, or boost engagement’.
In my experience as a student of Design Thinking, what has created the most impact in outcomes is empathizing with end consumers – what makes a person tick, what brings a smile and what gives a satisfyingly delightful experience – making a person feel productive and empowered. Such insights, when married with the right technology have the power to drive loyalty and thus impact a business financially. The fields of epistemology, ontology and psychology (the science of knowledge, being and behavior respectively) play a key role in gaining user insights. These sciences help us understand:
Back in 2018, many industry leaders declared ‘all companies are technology companies now’. BCG described it as ‘a capacity to capture and capitalize on vast lakes of customer and other data and ultimately the capability to create digitally enabled market-leading goods and services.’ It made sense as what powers diverse businesses such as food delivery, vacation rooms, e-commerce, media or banking was technology. Technology was utilized to understand consumer behavior and help craft product or service offerings. Over the last couple of years a few macro trends have added new dimensions to this state of affairs.
In this context, for most businesses, digital expertise – the ability to apply machine learning and design thinking principles together becomes a key competitive advantage.
Brand purpose has become a buzz phrase over the last few years – with varying degrees of success. In my view, enterprises need to define a higher order benefit or a value which they stand for. However, such a goal has to be genuine, hard wired to the business the enterprise is in and matched by real, on-ground efforts. Doordash is not just a delivery company – it defines itself as ‘technology company that connects people with the best in their cities. We do this by empowering local businesses and in turn, generate new ways for people to earn, work and live’. They back this intent with initiatives like Project DASH (DoorDash Acts for Sustainability and Hunger), focused on tackling the problems of hunger and food waste in the local communities they serve. At Robosoft we have defined our higher purpose as “Simplifying lives” of billions of citizens globally through technology and human-centered design. Our engineers, designers and product analysts wake up every morning motivated to make a difference and simplify lives of users of the apps we build; simplifying the way citizens buy, sell, transact, bank, pay, get entertained, get insured, consume, order, travel and what not.
Design Thinking principles and understanding consumer insights can also help enterprises craft their higher order purpose and bake that larger idea into not only the products & services they craft but also in the way their employees deal with customers – becoming second nature to the company itself.