In my last article, I discussed what I call the paradox of insights tech: that in order to put humans first, companies need to actually be more tech-forward. To explore ways of working that make life easier and better for everyone – insights professionals, internal stakeholders, researchers, and consumers alike.
And I concluded that insights teams are in a unique position to show everyone what is possible: by influencing the creation of human-centric products, experiences, campaigns, and solutions through human-centric ways of working.
But what does it actually mean to be human-centric? What purpose does introducing a new term even serve?
Well, throughout the last few years, consumer-centricity and customer-centricity have become increasingly common terms in our industry. Look at any market research conference agenda, and I’m sure you’ll find those terms sprinkled across presentation description after presentation description.
The popularity of those terms isn’t without reason; we know that companies that leverage customer insights perform better. However, I think that as the concepts of consumer centricity and customer-centricity continue to evolve, we’re going to have to dig deeper into what it takes to achieve them.
That’s precisely where I believe human centricity comes in.
Two sides of one coin
I’ve started to use the term human centricity more and more because I think that it elegantly encapsulates what is actually required to achieve customer or consumer centricity.
Let me explain.
When you apply it to your customers or consumers, it invokes a sense of focusing on their full personhood. Not just someone who has bought or will buy your products or services, but as someone who is human. Complicated, multi-faceted, unique in many ways, yet also still somehow similar to others, and full of contradictions.
This use of the term human centricity is one that I’m increasingly hearing from insights leaders. But the use of human centricity in the context of knowledge workers, and specifically insights teams, is one that I think deserves more attention.
Because the creativity and critical thinking required to make human-centric decisions in relation to your customers/consumers will be near impossible to cultivate if organizations aren’t equipped with the right resources to support the humans that keep them running.
Tech is essential, but it’s not the point
By the right resources, I’m primarily referring to tech, time, and culture.
This brings us back to the paradox of (insights) tech. As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, companies need to become more tech-forward in order to put humans first.
Because the right tech will remove obstacles and therefore free up time, energy, and headspace that can be devoted to the hardest part of achieving human centricity: changing the way humans work.
Building a human-centric culture is the hardest part because it requires rolling up your sleeves and figuring out on a practical level what human-centric work looks like in your organization. Because while there are certainly best practices out there, the success of those best practices depends on them being tailored to your company.
As with most things involving us humans, human centricity isn’t one-size-fits-all.
What the right tech looks like
The right tech isn’t one-size-fits-all either. It needs to be flexible, tailored, and intuitive.
For example, the ultimate goal of an insights repository is to ensure that insights are integrated into decision-making. But in order to achieve that outcome, you need people to actually use it.
So how do you ensure that people actually want to use your insights repository?
Well, on a foundational level, you need to first ensure that people aren’t actively against using it. This might happen if it’s too cumbersome to navigate or if it frequently tells you “No Results Found” when searching for a report you know exists. In other words, if it doesn’t actually work.
But to ensure that people actively want to use it, you need to go a step further. You need to make sure that each user feels like it is actually built for them, which involves customizing their experience on the organizational, team, and individual level to maximize relevancy.
In other words, the right tech is human-centric (you might be sensing a pattern here).
The beauty of human centricity
One of our core values at Stravito is simplicity first. And as a team, we’ve decided that means starting with the end in mind and focusing on what we are trying to achieve in the long term.
To me, that’s why human centricity is such a beautiful concept; it’s a reminder of what you are actually trying to achieve.
And in doing so, it is an inherently human-centric concept in and of itself (meta, I know, but hear me out).
The notion of human centricity cuts through all the noise, simplifying the endless to-do lists, goals, objectives, strategies, and directives that we’re trying to fulfill by unifying them under one single intention:
To put humans first.
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