The Psycho Corporation

Psychopathy, as described in Wikipedia, is a personal disorder which is usually characterized by an antisocial conduct, a complete lack of empathy, social boldness and selfishness. In a way, psychopathic corporations are usually a consequence of years of self-isolation and contact with the outside.

A Psychopath is characterized by his complete lack of empathy with others

By minimizing that contact with the real world –customers, distributors, people… — companies suddenly became selfish mechanisms less and less interested in what is happening outside their walls, and more focused on saving their own P&L by reducing internal costs and improving efficiency.

This Psychopathy has been fed through misunderstood digitalization processes [1], that pursue two main objectives:

  • “Let’s be digital, just because it’s a trend”. Which translated means:let’s create thousands of apps and online portal without any purpose known or coherence among them
  • “We are a modern brand, and we need to prove it”. Well, if you were a modern brand or company you should not need to prove anything. Modernity is not a color or a typo. It’s not how you talk to your customers or how many apps you launched last month.

The People Factor

Somewhere in the process they missed their purpose. Through years of building strong walls, brick by brick, and getting a solid separation between the corporate and the real worlds, the human factor became some metaphorical concept in a PowerPoint about next year’s strategy. Although it seems quite obvious, I think it is time to talk clear: people are who buy our products and services; people are who the companies are built for. Customers want to purchase a product or service because it solves a specific problem, a job. [2]

Technology can be the way, but never the arrival point. This is something that some of the biggest tech companies on Earth have already learnt. IBM [3] or Fujitsu [4] are already working o different approaches to use their main asset (technology) to serve people on their daily jobs.

Rise of the Machines

The 20th Century will probably be reminded as a turning point for humanity as a whole. Not just for the huge amount of globally important events, but for the impact of the human development in a geologically insignificant time-lapse.

But for the second half of the century we will probably highlight the tech revolution as the latest milestone in human history, with an exponential evolution of the productive capacity of the machines.

In the economic war for being the most 4.0-industrialized industry, people has been left behind, to the benefit of cheap software and technological disruption.

Empathy for the Client

Just like in the Renaissance, when humanity was set again at the center of arts and sciences, after those dark times when other interests were set before people; when divine commands prevail over science; where the limits between medicine and faith were confusing; the figure of the Renaissance man served as an engine for changing the paradigm and for bringing back the human being (his development and needs) at the center of the social and political life for good.

Just like in the middle Ages, it seemed at the beginning of the current century that this drift in corporate purposes could lead to a massive extinction of thousands of companies which were too old and big to change.

It was true for some of them, which did not know –or did not see the menace- what was happening around them until it was too late. Those walls, built with bricks in the last few decades, made them blind to the world. They did not realize the importance of re-orient their focus on people.

Just like in the “Seicento”, the world is living a second Renaissance, a second awakening of an anthropocentric society. Once it was the humanization of society. Now it is the turn for business.

The Theory of Everything

Human-Centric Design (HCD) is the 21st century approach to Anthropocentrism. HCD is the point of contact between science and business, by the application of the scientific method to business management, from both social and experimental sciences.

“Design thinking is an essential tool for simplifying and humanizing” [5]

In a moment when hundreds of companies are currently lost in digitalization, a scientific approach to business management can help to re-humanize the purpose while improving — or even finding new business opportunities.

By bringing down the walls that do not allow us to see what is going outside, letting some fresh air come into our offices, we can definitely save companies from becoming people-averse. [6]

Human-Centric Design is the right approach to cure companies from their Psychopathy

First published in LinkedIn (September 2016)

— — -

[1] Misunderstanding Digital Transformation

[2] The Customer-Centered Innovation Map

[3] IBM: Design Thinking

[4] Fujitsu: Human-Centric Innovation

[5] Design Thinking Comes of Age

[6] The Design-Driven Corporation: The Customer at the Center of the Strategy

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