Innovation’s aim: Keeping a human perspective in the digital age

The Worldwebforum 2020 zeroed in on human-centered design at its yearly meeting in Zurich. The discussion provided insight on the importance of keeping people at the center of innovation.

Innovation and a strong customer focus go hand in hand for a company eager to embrace new ideas that produce cutting-edge products and services. Zurich took that message to the Worldwebforum 2020, where it led a discussion around human-centered design, exploring how to create a memorable experience for customers and strengthen community resilience and sustainability.

The Worldwebforum is an annual thought leadership event in Zurich that attracts more than 1,000 senior leaders. This year, they heard from global leaders of various businesses and organizations who discussed diversity and inclusion, mobility, artificial intelligence and human-centered design. “Human-centered design is a framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process,” explained Stuart Domingos, Head of Group Innovation at Zurich.

“Customer focus is a key part of our strategy, as we are integrating customer feedback in products and services we bring to market. And we don’t stop there, we are increasingly involving employees from all ranks and all age groups,” said Giovanni Giuliani, Head of Strategy, Innovation and Business Development at Zurich.

“For us, human-centered design needs to be manifested in the three Cs: communities, customers and colleagues," said Giuliani. Business leaders have a duty to help communities become more resilient, he emphasized, particularly as natural catastrophes have become more severe. And businesses can only be competitive if they offer a memorable customer experience, he noted.

Speakers stressed that even as innovation improves the customer experience, it should never be an aim in and of itself. Technology should never come before human experience, according to Billie Whitehouse, CEO of Wearable X. “What makes design great?” asked Whitehouse. “Design for all five senses, design for discovery and design for change.”

Jeremy Tai Abbett, creative evangelist, chaired the human-centered design discussion. He agreed that “the human experience can’t be replaced by technology, but technology can be designed for the human experience.”

“We are actively putting our innovation strategy to practice,” Giuliani said, with a number of innovative internal and external projects that support Zurich’s transformation to a more customer-focused company.

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