Updated: Oct 31
The future of business growth is digital. Nobody can deny that technological transformations have become critical components of organisational growth and market competitiveness. Behind the success of these transformations are and will still be people. From employees to customers, stakeholders to end-users, they are at the core of technology transformation and, more importantly (but often overlooked), adoption. A #peoplecentred approach to tech and non-tech #innovation is essential to support seamless technology deployment and ensure effective adoption.
Understanding the People-Centred Approach in Innovation
A people-centred approach encompasses the entire spectrum of the human experience, from the initial introduction of concept of technology (decision makers), its design (end users), to integration into daily routines (employees and customers).
When organizations adopt a people-centred approach, they acknowledge that technology is not just about the tools and systems; it is about the people who design, build, service, and use them. It is about realising that effective tech implementation need more than deployment of new software or hardware; it is about understanding how it will affect people who will be using that technology on a regular basis. It also requires awareness of how these technologies alter employees' everyday job responsibilities and how organisation should assist in designing reskilling trainings and redeployment plans.
1. Employee Engagement:
This begins long before technology implementation. It begins with inviting employees to participate in an #innovation ecosystem of ideas generation to come up with a solution to solve a particular business problem. In later stages, employees will be the driving force of technology deployments thanks to their understanding of the complexities of an organisational landscape and abilities to navigate through them. They will be the bedrock of implementing and sustaining a new piece of technology.
However, with the excitement of implementation, we must not overlook individuals whose responsibilities and jobs will be enhanced because of it. Some employees will be given new duties and tasks (some of which did not previously exist in the organisation), while others may be affected by role demises. By not taking appropriate action and strategizing the design of work and skillset landscape, organisations choose to deal with bigger problems – decreased employee satisfaction and motivation, higher turnover, disloyalty, or even reputational damage – later.
2. User/ Customer Experience:
Whether it is a new software programme, service, mobile app, or hardware product, it should serve people who an organisation considers its target user group. It is the final user experience - not ours; the designers, creators, or decision makers - that is important. Although we live in a globalised world where needs and wants unify, one size does not necessarily suit all. Involving users in decision-making from the start allows organisations to obtain significant insights into their views, experiences, and skills. This early participation enables organisations to not only customise their technology investments to suit user demands efficiently, but it also aids in the development of trust and buy-in from users.
Customer (user)-Centric Approach to Technology Design and Development
When businesses adopt a customer-centric strategy, they go beyond a surface-level understanding of consumer requirements. They probe deeper into the consumers' motives and issues to fulfil their needs, preferences, and lifestyles.
A customer-centric strategy also includes ongoing user engagement throughout the design and build of a new solution. It promotes open channels of communication, allowing users to share comments, voice problems, and make changes. This iterative feedback loop guarantees that the technology design will increase customer experience and better meet the needs and desires of consumers over time.
Mastering Customer-Centricity: 3 Essential Methods to Embrace
Design thinking is an iterative problem-solving approach that places
empathy at its core. It encourages multidisciplinary teams to empathize with end-users, define the problem, brainstorm creative solutions, prototype, and test those ideas. It's a dynamic process that not only drives innovation but also ensures that the resulting solutions truly address the needs and desires of the people they are designed for.
The Lean Startup methodology, pioneered by Eric Ries, is an approach to innovation that advocates for resource-efficient, rapid development of businesses and products. It prioritizes a systematic process of building, measuring, and learning, aimed to minimize waste, refine their ideas, and adapt swiftly to market feedback. By emphasizing continuous experimentation, iterative adjustments, and the validation of hypotheses, the Lean Startup methodology empowers managers to make informed decisions and pivot when necessary.
#Agile is an iterative project management and development approach that champions adaptability and collaboration. Agile encourages frequent reassessment and adjustment of project objectives in response to changing circumstances, making it particularly well-suited for fast-paced and unpredictable environments. It revolves around self-organizing, cross-functional teams that work in short, focused iterations, or sprints, delivering incremental improvements and allowing for continuous stakeholder feedback. Agile's principles, as outlined in the Agile Manifesto, foster customer-centricity, teamwork, and the delivery of valuable, high-quality products or services, making it a cornerstone for organizations striving to remain flexible and responsive in an ever-evolving landscape.
Employee-Centred Approach to Technology Adoption and Implementation
Nowadays, organisations must prioritise the seamless transfer of their workforce through technology transformations, as it may be disruptive and unsettling for employees. The top leaders, HR and transformation teams should work towards strategizing the design of work in the organisation and ensuring employees have the right set of tools, resources, and support needed to adapt to a changing technological context.
Employee-centred Approach Strategies
· Building ownership and engagement by including workers in the early phases of technological transformations, as they become active players in the change process, contributing vital ideas and feedback that shape the technology implementation. This collaborative approach promotes on the job training for gaining new skillset and understanding new technology.
· Building cross-functional teams comprised of members from various departments and organisational levels. These teams may act as technology transformation ambassadors, advocating for its benefits and resolving any concerns voiced by their colleagues.
· Feedback loops instead of one-way communication systems. Organisations master the use of surveys and focus groups to gather employee feedback, but they struggle with closing the feedback loop and address concerns raised by employees. Closing the feedback loop is critical to ensuring that the voice of employees is heard and actioned.
· Redeployment strategies and reskilling plans for impacted jobs in the organisation, including those with expanded, altered, and reduced scope of duties. The organization re-design of roles, skills and capabilities should be part of the tech transformation plans to understand how the work landscape will evolve and assess if as an organization we have adequate resources, talent, skills, and competencies to absorb it.
Why People-Centric Approach Matters
The key to #technology transformations is a people-centric approach. This approach not only increases adoption rates, but also boosts productivity, drives innovation, and creates a positive organisational culture.
Enhanced productivity: When people are at the forefront of tech adoption, they have a voice and are treated with respect, they are more inclined to accept change and as a result the chances of successful implementation increase.
Improved adoption rates: User-friendly technology that aligns with people's needs and preferences leads to increased productivity. When technology complements their work or daily routines, it becomes a value and is working for them, and not against.
Innovation and Feedback: Involving people in the tech transformation process often leads to innovative solutions and continuous improvement. Users can provide feedback and insights that help refine technology over time.
Positive Organizational Culture: A people-centric approach fosters a culture that values individuals, their contributions, and their well-being. It creates a more positive and supportive work environment.
In summary, as we move into the digital world, businesses will grow in new ways. It's clear that changes in technology are important for businesses to be successful and be able to compete in the market. Even so, people are still the most important part of this progress, even though change and creativity are complicated processes. From the time that leaders and managers make decisions about new technology to the time that customers and workers use it in their daily lives, there needs to be a focus on people. Getting employees involved, making the user experience better, and creating and building technology with the customer in mind are all big parts of it.
This people-centered approach isn't just a way to get more people to use it; it's also the key to higher output, new ideas, and a good work environment where everyone feels valued for what they bring to the table. As long as we live in the digital age, technology will definitely change how business is done in the future. But people are what can make it go in the right direction.
Are you prepared for a journey of profound change towards innovation and a focus on people? You can rely on HorizonX Consulting to facilitate development and change.
Our expertise in Lean Startup, Agile, and design thinking enables your organisation to thrive in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. Our proven ability to enhance user experience, staff engagement, and foster a customer-centric culture can assist you in optimising the potential of your business.