Planning for the future isn’t always easy. Some people get excited by the possibilities of hover boards and driverless cars, but for others a flat vibe of fear or disconnection permeates when new technologies and trends start creeping into their realities.
But we can’t ignore that concepts which were once relegated to the sci-fi genre are not only now real, but fast gaining momentum and user-acceptance in society: Artificial intelligence, robotics, wearable devices, 3D printing, nanotechnology, and global-scale data collection are now a part of our everyday discourse. It’s so mainstream that the possible merging of IBM’s Watson with Siri is generating just as much hype as Prince Harry’s first public appearance with Meghan Markle!
Firstly, we need to recognise that the trends that brought us AI, automation, wearables and the like are not new. They stem from mega trends that have been chugging away, guiding our paths for decades, in some cases centuries. For example, Da Vinci was drawing robot designs back in the 15th century and our penchant for wearable devices dates back at least to the 17th century when abacus rings were a useful tool for solving mathematical equations on the go. This means that there is always plenty of time to use trends to our advantage, just so long as we make the effort to identify them and action a plan in advance of them disrupting us. That is why it is important to develop skills in future forecasting and trend analysis.
Secondly, we must remember what we as humans offer in a digitally advanced world.
The further we immerse ourselves into the ‘digital age’ the greater the importance of humanity and emotional intelligence will be. Artificial intelligence and the digitalisation of workspaces may increase efficiencies, diagnostics and workflow, but the spark of innovation always requires the human brain, and a human understanding of our complex social and cultural milieu. User-centric innovation intrinsically relies on insight into the human psyche. After all, for an idea to succeed, humans must perceive value in it. Whilst clever algorithms will try to predict fickle human desires, it is humans that best understand humans, and as social creatures we will crave togetherness and humanity alongside our increased reliance on technology.
That’s why we at G2 Innovation predict that one of the greatest trends of our generation will be human-centricity. This doesn’t just mean the personalisation of products and experiences (although that is a rising trend see our blog on next level personalisation here), it means that we as a civilisation will become more educated in the meaning of user-centric and human-design to the point that any business or organisation not focussing on the user, will face serious repercussions.
And our patience for services that don’t meet our needs and give us that ‘buzz’ will be thinner than ever. Current annoyances like queuing, poor internet and disingenuous customer service will not be tolerated in the slightest, and even minor frustrations like unintuitive websites and complex processes will be forced to become a thing of the past. Watch out bureaucracy, user-centricity is coming to get you!
Similarly, the brightest minds in the workforce will be drawn to employers that are not only keeping up with technology, but that show an innate understanding of human needs and are genuinely trying to meet them. The current focus on ‘healthy’ workplaces will be upcycled to ‘human’ workplaces. A ‘human’ workplace being one that nurtures the human components of a business- creativity, unique thought and personality- and strives to seamlessly meld technology with human-centred activities both in internal systems and processes, and external products and services.
Our humanity is now widely recognised as a valuable part of business innovation and it is something that is irreplaceable by AI and many other technologies. How businesses utilise their human intelligence and awareness of human needs is likely to be the difference between growth and instability. In a world of global connectedness and the exponential growth of technology, the use of our human qualities will be one of the biggest trends to watch.
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