October #blabchat : Man vs. Machine - How Can You Sustain A 'Human-Centred' Approach In A System Driven World?

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Humans are not machines - we are something more. We have feeling and experience. Material comforts are not sufficient to satisfy us, we need something deeper - human affection.
— Dalai Lama XIV

Human beings are complex - no two of them are ever the same and there are a myriad of feelings and emotions to contend with. We all remember those moments in life when you have been on the receiving end of a product or service that has been personalised - the experience will have connected with your feelings and beliefs to create a moment. So in an age when services and products are being driven by systems thinking and data decisions, how can we make sure to counterpoint this with a connection to human emotions that keep on making those moments positive rather than negative?

This is actually a really important question - systems are driven off numbers, facts, black and white matter all collected from a variety of data points that power decision making using algorithms to best guess human behaviour. Over time, these algorithms get smarter and more accurate at making these decisions correctly but therein lies a conundrum - human beings are unpredictable. What works for one doesn’t work for another.

Taking a human centred approach isn’t about moving away from systems thinking - in fact its quite the contrary. Products and services used to be singular activities but now, as customer needs have changed and technology has advanced, these activities have become a connected journey. These interactions can be digital, physical or interpersonal, but they ultimately form a relationship between organisations and their customers. Do this well, and you reap the rewards. Execute this badly, well, you might as well pack your bags and go home…

A human centred approach advocates looking at these journeys as a whole spectrum, designing what you want to accomplish, how you want your customer to feel and then picking out those moments that matter to focus on their seamless delivery. Great organisations aren’t built anymore - they are designed, but one thing remains constant. They stay focused on people, whether this be their customers, colleagues, anyone involved in that particular journey. Which sometimes means leaving it up to us mere mortals to make decisions, not iRobot.

As service designers, this is a topic that fascinates us, so for this month, we want to open it up to our amazing #blabchat community to hear your thoughts. We hope these questions will give us some great insights and we are looking forward to an hour of great conversation with you all from 8pm next week!

The questions will be:

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So, it all kicks off from 8pm on Thursday 4th October - remember, to get involved, all you need to do is start your tweet A1, A2, A3 or A4 and make sure you include the hashtag, #blabchat, so we can make sure we capture all your comments. Regulars will know that we do a round up post after every session, so your answers may get a shout out! All are welcome and we look forward to seeing you next week!

Until then, you stay classy people…..


About The Author

Michelle Butler joined the Bromford Lab in 2017 as a Lab Designer and is no stranger to taking a risk in search of learning more about the best way to foster innovation and transformation  - she left a full time permanent role to take up this position on a fixed term basis.

Michelle is incredibly passionate about design and customer experience, and is currently completing her Foundation Certificate in Design Thinking with IDEOU as a way of expanding her own knowledge and skills - connecting with a world renowned design community is a massive bonus too!

You can follow Michelle on Twitter, @ChelleKButler, or via her own personal blog, millennialchelleblog.com