Digital this, digital that, everyone is thinking about it and most people are talking about it. I get digital or anything else for that matter when I can clearly see the benefit. If we think about the innovations that have been successful either in terms of financial return or dropping a large disruptive stone in the status quo pond they have all had the user at heart.

Airbnb for example came from someone struggling to find somewhere affordable to stay with ease; Uber taxis were born out of the painful experience of trying to get a taxi in the US without booking a month in advance and being able to direct the driver step by step; heaven forbid you had a note bigger than a $20! If you think about these examples they all started by addressing a need and then implemented a form of simple digital technology to provide an amazing user experience and that then becomes the new standard.

Now we can’t all come up with Airbnb or Uber, but with the technology now at our fingertips, we can use that and a unique way of thinking to help our companies get closer to the ever increasing user expectations. Experience led revolutions are required, even evolutions are good. In the corporate and public sector world technology has dominated, a new operating system or storage array or CRM platform or financial management software…all off the shelf products. Any changes to the technology to actually provide the human with what they really want are met with disdain to anyone who suggests the user should come first. THE USER MUST ALWAYS COME FIRST AND NEVER BE COMPROMISED.

If you listen to what users are saying you should see a clear need. Then go wild. Imagine the most extreme experience ever and come back from there in order to; be able to explain it, do something soon and most importantly excite the users that will be part of your movement and keep them excited on the journey. When you look at technologies, imagine what the most odd user might do with it, how they might exploit the tech to deliver greatness, then make that your target. The final step before you rage about the obviousness of what you want to do and smile patronisingly at everyone who doesn’t immediately get it is to work out the financial case. Even charities have to change to stay alive.

Finally and I hope you are sitting down for the next bit. All good innovation will pay back financially. Online banking, mobile hotel booking apps, food delivery, medicine… I could go on. There is always a bottom line. We need it to be there, but in future consider it a quality gate to your crazy ideas, and it will help you to focus on the good ones. So remember, LISTEN, DREAM, CONSTRAIN (within a year), INVOLVE USERS, PAYBACK….oh and have loads of fun. It shouldn’t be hard work. Technology drives innovation, which in turn will drive your business forward.