This article is by Olof Schybergson, CEO of Fjord, a design and innovation consulting firm that is part of Accenture Interactive.
The fast-evolving needs of today’s consumers and the rising complexity of technology are causing CMOs across industries to shift their thinking and take a new approach to business. Corporations are finding that innovation can be extremely elusive, and design is rising to the level of the C-Suite as one solution.
But it’s more than aesthetics. It’s a new organizational shift toward “design thinking” – a new approach to business in which empathy is established with users, models are created to examine complex business problems, and failure is tolerated, even celebrated, at times. This way of thinking is helping CMOs develop a flexible organization that can innovate and re-think the services and customer experiences they provide to differentiate their brands in today’s competitive marketplace.
From large companies bringing design in-house and governments like the U.K. publishing design standards, to companies re-thinking their employee experiences, CMOs are coming face-to-face with design like never before. And putting “design thinking” into practice is just the beginning.
Here’s a look at the influence that emergent technology will have on not only marketing, but on design, their customers, organizations and society, and the trends CMOs should heed to stay competitive.
- Listening technology
No one goes unheard in today’s virtually connected society. Listening technology – either literally listening through voice-recognition devices or figuratively listening to user data—has upended the traditional customer journey into real-time “micromoments.” This is triggering a predictable cycle of “immediate need, relevant reply and repeat.” The only way to anticipate the needs of users will be to track their behavioral patterns to gain a clear picture of consumers’ needs, wants, and status and to design services that not only meet, but anticipate, their needs.
- Digital trust
It has become much easier to anticipate what consumers want through smart technology, but this surge of information brings an extraordinary level of responsibility. Digital trust is the crux of any healthy company-customer relationship and to ease customer concerns, businesses need to engage in “privacy by design,” weaving privacy standards into technology and the product design process from the get-go.
- Employee experience
It’s not always all about consumers. Employees are the heart of every organization and companies must design and innovate to deliver on their increasingly “liquid consumer expectations” through effective employee-experience design. Companies must build a workplace culture conducive to the needs of their talent base, whether it’s recognizing and rewarding individuals, empowering employees to be trusted thought leaders, or offering a peer-to-peer experience that blends into their social world.
- App integration
Apps might not be facing extinction just yet, but the landscape in which they operate is changing rapidly. The future of app design will no longer be based on the single-use transactional service, but rather on the integration, or super distribution, of services that plug into platforms through APIs. Customers are looking for a hub where all technologies and services they use can intersect and interact to create a seamless one-stop destination for their daily needs.
- Flattened luxury
What was once reserved for the very wealthy is now available to the masses. At the swipe of a finger, anyone anywhere can have highly personalized experiences, whether it’s ordering a personal chauffeur (like Uber) or having a personal assistant run an errand (like TaskRabbit). With this “flattening of luxury,” we can expect new standards of luxury to emerge.
- Citizen service
Governments are increasingly recognizing the significance of using digital to its fullest potential to best serve their citizens – whether it’s connecting communities around a cause, addressing irregularities in information, or giving each citizen a voice in their society – technology is now in the service of the public good. And these services will evolve from a one-size-fits-all approach to individualized services.
- Health monitoring
Consumers are now using health monitoring for both leisure and preventive care. The rising health tech space allows consumers to be proactive about their health, while minimizing unnecessarily and costly trips to the doctor’s office in an age of rising premiums.
- Virtual reality
Virtual reality is about to become an actual reality. Not only will this be revolutionary in the gaming world, but the unexpected applications will have an impact on every industry – from education and tourism to health.
- Personalized options
Consumers are constantly connected and have access to more possibilities and options than they can handle. Studies show people make 200 decisions about food each day alone. How can we find better ways to identify and deliver what people need, while reducing the thinking required to fulfill their needs? Services that can anticipate needs and provide personalized options – or even automatic task completion (such as Google Now) – will shine.
- In-house capabilities
The pressure to innovate has never been stronger today, and as a result businesses are investing in bringing design thinking in-house, whether it’s through creating innovation labs, business incubators or training design teams to imbue a user-centered design approach to problem-solving across the entire business. In the coming year, businesses will need to shift from design thinking to design doing.
Looking forward, this journey toward design maturity will bring about two challenges – process integration and scale – and weaving design into companies’ DNA will be key to creating a user-centric culture that can bring them into the Age of Design Thinking.
This article was written by On Marketing from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.