Human-centred innovation

Nicola DarkeBlog

Design thinking teaches us to think about human-centred need and design – that to be successful and release engaging products, they should be driven from human need. However, how often as individuals do we address our own human need and how much does this affect our ability to innovate?

At a recent Innovation Leaders conference in the US, we collectively mapped out what the future landscape might look like – and the future is very human. We are due to let tech do its thing and we’ll do ours. This means high fidelity tech, low fidelity humans… if you like. This presents a hugely interesting shift for humans, as many of us have spent decades honing skills and doing jobs that are predominantly left brain, which we’ve come to realise machines can do. In doing so, we’ve moved away from our ‘human’ strengths – our people skills, empathy and emotional intelligence. We think in terms of rules, process, tasks and getting the job done. We’re busy. But how can we focus on human-centred need when we are wired to think in this way? Of course, we still need all these things, but we definitely need to think beyond them too.

With the predicted near nuclear scale fall out from AI on the horizon, an uprising of the ‘luddites’ – those afraid of change and unable to shift themselves into a different capacity – is due. To Ben Abbott’s point in his blog here, we shouldn’t just axe their jobs, instead we should create more value-add positions. For any CXOs reading this, guaranteed your organisation has objectives around reduction of headcount for the next 5-10 years. Maybe this is because of automation, maybe it’s that a new skill set is required, or maybe it’s both. We need to look at where this skill set appears from and understand what skills are really needed. No prizes for guessing; it’s the ability to innovate, because to innovate is very human. To change is in our nature, along with everything else in the universe. We are no exception. Change is the one constant we all share but many of us try to resist.

To read the full article, visit The Future Shapers’ article.

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