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Breaking through ‘digital clutter’ in a modern world

By Ben Moore
Tue 5 Feb 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Facing an explosion of digital clutter resulting from two decades of rapid technology growth and innovation, people and organisations are rethinking what they really want, says a new report by Accenture. 

A fundamental re-examination of what people want and value is ushering in a new design ethos that puts human value back at the centre of innovation. 

At this inflexion point, Accenture Interactive has released Fjord Trends 2019, its 12th annual outlook on what’s ahead for the future of business, technology and design. 

According to the report, years of organisational investment in innovation have left customers feeling inundated and overwhelmed, straining the demands on our time and attention. 

Whereas once we craved novelty, excitement and instant gratification, we now crave quiet and meaning in a noisy world. 

People and organisations are doing some soul-searching about what they really value, rejecting products and services that don’t meet their needs - in effect, changing the nature of our relationships with technology and brands. 

“Digital is facing a big spring cleaning - a time when we decide whether something still has value and relevance to our lives,” says Fjord Asia Pacific general manager Bronwyn van der Merwe. 

“Digital is now so widely adopted that its novelty has worn off. In their attempt to declutter, people are being more selective about which products and services they incorporate into their daily lives, choosing to disconnect, unsubscribe or opt-out if the value exchange is not mutual. Never before has the responsibility of design been more important.”

This mindset shift has major implications - and creates massive opportunities - for organisations and for customer experience, says the report. 

It’s time to take stock and rethink products, services, and experiences that people actually want and value. 

“Winners in 2019 will be those organisations that provide a sense of value and relevance not only to individuals, but also to the world,” says Accenture Interactive A/NZ lead Michael Buckley. 

“Value creation will not come from simply growing bigger, but by being better. Consistent with our mission to create, build and run the best customer experiences for our clients, we believe this year’s trends support our guiding principle that the best experiences are those that make people’s lives better, more productive, and more meaningful.”

Fjord Trends 2019 examines seven trends expected to shape the next generation of experience and offers actionable advice for organisations to prepare for the opportunities ahead:

  1. Silence is Gold - Feeling overwhelmed has become a health issue. By embracing mindful design, brands must find ways to make themselves heard by consumers who crave quiet in a noisy world.
  2. The Last Straw? - Enough talk. People expect products and services to have built-in sustainability, or they'll reject those that don’t.
  3. Data Minimalism - People and organisations disagree on the value of personal data. Is transparency the key to bridging the gap?
  4. Ahead of the Curb - From electric scooters to drones, urban mobility has turned cities into free-for-alls. It’s time to combat the clutter with unified ecosystems that meet real-time needs.
  5. The Inclusivity Paradox - 2018 was a wake-up call to listen to a variety of voices. But how do we design for all without inadvertently excluding others? Stop thinking of people as types and start adopting a mindset mentality.
  6. Space Odyssey - Work and retail spaces need a digital makeover. It’s time to rethink our approaches and tools for designing spaces.
  7. Synthetic Realities - We live in a new world in which reality is crafted and synthetic. With face-swapping and voice simulation creating more believable synthetic realities, companies must work out how to capitalise on it, and manage risk.

“The opportunities for meaningful and mindful design to revolutionise a number of areas are greater now than we’ve seen in years,” van der Merwe adds. 

“We’re on the cusp of a creative revolution - the opportunity to rethink our products and services in order to take care of the world we live in, as well as the people in it.”

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