As many parents are aware, the dreaded first word’s children learn are usually “no,” followed by “why.” When asking a toddler to perform a task you can expect one of these two responses. These first few words are an important milestone in their development. By asking why (to literally everything), they are beginning to better understand the way the world works. With that question lies the key to growth.
Fast-forward to adulthood, specifically in today’s digital world, embracing the why is the well-kept secret to becoming a disruptor in the digital age.
Embracing the Story of Why
What and how have become commonplace and replaced the question of why. What do we need to be ahead? How are we going to fund this? It’s astounding the number of organizations that are stuck asking these types of questions, without realizing that the people who are in front are thinking about the why’s. Why should we do this? Why is this change necessary? Why do customers want this, etc.
Every successful disruption starts by asking why. Traditional IT is all about the what and how. They’ve got the product that is creating one solution assumed to clean up some sort of process. IT never asks the reason behind why we should change business. However, digital on the other hand is disrupting this idea by using technology to enable business, figuring out why technology should be used to change a process, a model or a business as a whole. Beginning by telling the story (the why), enables the existing process to be reinvented.
The Evolution of Ridesharing
Look at the disruption of the ridesharing industry. Nobody questioned the processes of the taxi industry. The process that existed for years and years was maintained because you can’t change something you can’t predict, right? There’s no effective way to manage unplanned travel. That is, until Uber came along and asked- why? Asking these questions created the connection between taxi’s and technology – disrupting the model of an entire industry that millions rely on.
- Why can’t companies manage unplanned travel?
- Why can’t we utilize the mobile phones everyone has and create planned travel?
- Why do consumers need this?
And look where this has taken us. Digital first is now an axiom and we’re beginning to realize that you have to become a digital company first, putting your primary business model second to beat the market. Look at Uber, digital technology enabled them to instantly plan how to get travelers from point a to point b while the taxi companies felt they were shielded by laws and process and never thought to reinvent themselves. Complacency is enemy of innovation and the digital playground is where the war is being fought.
Why is Storytelling Important?
The key is to avoid looking at just the technology and sequencing, and focus on first building the all-encompassing story. Allowing you to embrace the human-centric piece, ultimately driving change within the business and creating the real transformation.The idea of digital transformation takes place from the outside in.
Rather than asking how people are going to use this system, the question needs to be shifted to focus on the reasons why consumers are going to use this system. Instead of dictating the system and its use, figuring out the story behind the need for change gives the user a choice. That’s real transformation.
These human stories are driving change on the front-end and the back-end, allowing for complete collaboration. Understanding the story forces you to look beyond the user experience, and focus on the human platform. Connecting data that is relevant to the human, alters the experience in ways we cannot predefine today, allowing users to customize their experience in a way that’s pertinent to them. Maintaining constant connectivity to the people who are going to leverage what you’re building and understand why they want to do the things they are doing is what ultimately transforms your digital experiences.
SVP of Digital Strategy & Chief Digital Officer