Sharing knowledge

(Still) a human-centric approach to creating value

September 12, 2023
4 minutes
Ferenc Boroczky
Founder and CEO of anet360

In recent years, the profound impact of technology on our lives has been widely discussed. The ubiquity of social media, the evolution of smartphones, and the rise of digital devices have collectively reshaped our daily experiences. However, amid this digital revolution, we must pause to reflect: How do these changes affect individuals and society as a whole? More crucially, how can we harness technology's capabilities to create value not just for ourselves but also for those around us?

At its core, our organisation is design-led and technology-driven. We approach every challenge with a resolute focus on the human element, guided by the principles of design thinking. Design thinking isn't just a buzzword; it's a philosophy that places humans at the center of the technological equation. It begins with empathy, seeking deeply understand the needs, desires, and behaviours of the people who will interact with the technology.

We utilize the Design Council Double Diamond framework for innovation, which emphasises four core principles for effective problem-solving:

  1. Put People First: Begin by understanding the people using a service, their needs, strengths, and aspirations.
  2. Communicate Visually and Inclusively: Create a shared understanding of the problem and ideas through visual and inclusive communication.
  3. Collaborate and Co-Create: Work together and draw inspiration from others, fostering collaboration and co-creation.
  4. Iterate, Iterate, Iterate: Continuously refine your ideas, spot errors early, avoid risk, and build confidence through iterative processes.
This work by the Design Council is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.

In addition to these principles, the Design Council have also curated a portfolio of design methods that help anyone to identify and address their challenges while achieving successful outcomes. These methods are structured in three key areas to guide the design process:

  1. Explore: Delve into challenges, needs, and opportunities.
  2. Shape: Create prototypes, gain insights, and envision potential solutions.
  3. Build: Develop ideas, formulate plans, and tap into expertise.

Many businesses often eagerly embrace technological trends such as ChatGPT, Augmented Reality, or Virtual Reality without fully grasping their practical applications. They focus on the potential for cost savings through automation but often overlook the holistic perspective. However, to ensure the success of any technological solution, it must seamlessly align with the essential tasks and needs individuals have in various circumstances, which can be replicated by designing user journeys and storyboards.

Storyboard example - anet360

Consider the wisdom of Elon Musk, who openly admitted that an excessive reliance on robotic automation, with too few humans in the equation, resulted in significant delays in Tesla's Model 3 production. Musk stated, "Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake, to be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated. We had this intricate, labyrinthine network of conveyor belts, and it simply wasn't working, so we scrapped the whole concept."

Musk's revelation underscores a fundamental truth: realising the full potential of automation necessitates a delicate balance. Organisations must strike an equilibrium that not only comprehends the problems technology can solve but also appreciates the people who will utilize these solutions. It's the art of harmonizing the technological dimension with the human dimension, a dynamic interplay of innovation and empathy.

The ripple effects of automation and transformative technologies such as ChatGPT, AR, and VR permeate diverse professional domains.

Jobs and roles are undergoing a profound evolution, leaving virtually no sector untouched by this wave of automation. To navigate these uncharted waters successfully, organisations must adopt a holistic perspective of digital transformation.

For us, at anet360, every project commences with a profound understanding of our clients' distinctive challenges, objectives, and opportunities. These inquiries transcend mere technological curiosity; they form the bedrock of our design thinking approach, representing the essence of problem-solving. We ponder questions like:

  • How can we empower our clients and their teams to confidently navigate unfamiliar environments?
  • How might we assist dedicated professionals in sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics with seamless hands-free documentation, intuitive data visualisation, and remote access to expert guidance?

The answers to these questions lie in user journeys that are intricately based on user profiles. We understand that the success of any technological solution hinges on how well it aligns with the specific needs and behaviours of the individuals who will use it.

Design thinking isn't a one-size-fits-all approach; it's a tailored and human-centred process that ensures technology truly serves its intended purpose.

These and similar questions serve as our guiding beacons, illuminating the path toward meaningful solutions. They epitomise the enigmas we unravel and the human-centered challenges we address. Why, you might wonder? Because

technology, above all else, should be designed to serve humanity, not the other way around. The ultimate aim of any technological solution is to amplify human capabilities, empower us to thrive, and usher in positive transformations in our lives.

It's imperative to recognise that achieving a truly human-centric approach to technology requires an ongoing commitment and a fundamental shift in mindset. To design for humans, we must embrace holistic thinking. This means looking beyond the immediate technological facets and contemplating the broader implications. It entails understanding the cultural, social, and ethical dimensions of technology and how they intersect with human experiences.

A human-centric approach to technology is more than just a passing trend; it's a guiding philosophy for our interactions with technology in the present and the future. It underscores the belief that technology is a potent tool that, when wielded thoughtfully, can advance humanity. It's incumbent upon us to ensure that technology aligns with our values and aspirations, creating a world where technology genuinely enriches our lives and enhances our collective well-being by placing humans at the heart of technological innovation.

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Ferenc Boroczky
Founder and CEO of anet360
I'm Francis, the founder of anet360, a software platform that helps businesses centralize their knowledge and improve their workforce. It's been an incredible journey building this company from scratch, and I feel so fortunate to work alongside a team of passionate professionals who share the same vision and goal - to build a better, safer future for everyone.

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