As we move into the fourth industrial revolution, a human perspective is the ultimate differentiator.
That means understanding what really makes people tick, in order to create products and services we find magical. In the face of advancing technology, it means putting people and their long-term wellbeing first.
HUMANS BEFORE TECHNOLOGY
We are on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution. AI and deep technologies bring great potential for humankind. They also risk consuming those aspects of experience we love most.
The future is ours to create, and my belief is that technology should exist to serve humanity, not the other way round.
People, NOT CONSUMERS
Let’s see human beings as people, not consumers. Real people, with bodies, histories, problems, dreams, scars, loved-ones and frenemies.
Common sense about human nature is about best tool to uncover fresh insights. A touch of empathy, a jolt of creativity and a dash of deep work go a long way.
If we get stuck, the humanities offer a millennia worth of insights into how humans work and what helps us thrive.
We should not use these insights into the human psyche to manipulate towards unhealthy consumption, but to help people achieve their long-term goals.
A step further, rather than just designing for the needs of individuals, we should to move towards designing for our shared humanity.
To do this, we must look outwards to how our work plays out in the context of a changing earth, rapidly advancing technologies and dynamic cultural tensions.
A STRATEGY FOR GROWTH
It might sound rather lofty, but this is a business philosophy.
Truly valuable innovation typically builds on a fresh perspective on human behaviour. The foundation of long-term growth is creating unique products and services which people find truly joyful and rewarding.
The Copenhagen Letter 2017 is a manifesto on humanity/human-centred innovation .
Go-to references for human-centred innovation and design methods:
Absolutely brilliant – IDEO’s The Field Guide to Human-Centred Design is comprehensive and packed with useful templates and methods.
Frog’s Collective Action Toolkit is useful for applying human-centred innovation in a community setting.
Stanford University’s Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking
The Hyper Island Toolbox is a great place to go for creative ideas for workshops and user research methods. Mozilla’s Open Innovation Toolkit, Adaptive Lab’s toolkit, and Nesta’s DIY toolkit are other good places to go for inspiration.
Google Venture’s Design Sprint Book is the go-to plan for setting up a week-long design sprint.
Books which remind me of the power of philosophy in business.
The Management Myth by Matthew Steward, is critical about the paradigms of business school thinking and argues for the importance of humanistic training.
Red Associate’s The Moment of Clarity – Using The Human Sciences To Solve Your Toughest Business Problem.
These books argue that we innovate for a future which is good for humans, with the fourth industrial revolution en route:
Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. I choose posthumanism as preferred future, let’s not be reduced to data-producers.
Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence. Chilling application of game theory to thinking about our future with AI.