What does it mean to become a digital leader? Companies in every industry are looking for answers to this question. They are exploring new business models, developing new user experiences, and experimenting with new channels and platforms—all with the strategic goal of creating significant value in a digitally powered business environment. To get there, most of these companies are pursuing the same laundry list of initiatives. They are reengineering processes and products, investing in technology platforms, and launching efforts to achieve back-office efficiency. Many are recruiting digitally native talent, setting up internal venture funds, or crowdsourcing new digital business ideas to get a jump start on this transformation.
For too many companies, these efforts have not translated into enough market impact and growth. They are stuck. Their results are too incremental; they merely move their brand recognition or increase sales a bit. But there is far more market-making, world-changing potential for them in digital businesses, products, and experiences, and more and more business leaders know it. Instead of reengineering their digital practices and processes, they need something bolder and more disruptive, but still very simple. They need reimagination.
Reimagination means reshaping your entire business around the customer or user experience. The best-known term for this is human-centered design (HCD). When companies practice HCD, they put the user (the customer, the audience member, the person on the other end of the digital channel) at the center of every decision the company makes. This empathetic focus on user experience is an essential driver to creating simple yet disruptive solutions that are operationally feasible, economically viable, and, most important, desired by users.