The most disruptive word we can use in innovation is ‘soul’
What happens when you combine the best global design practices with Brazilian heart, Western philosophical insight and timeless Eastern spiritual wisdom? A powerful antidote to the excesses of those business cultures which only value exponential growth at any cost, and which have lost sight of what humanity and being human really means.
The last three decades have seen a steady evolution in customer experience design methods and practices. These have been complemented by the introduction of systemic and visual business tools such as Balanced Scorecard and the Business Model Canvas which have radically changed the way entrepreneurs and corporations develop new businesses, innovate new products and services, and improve and evolve their existing business models and strategies. However, despite a growing awareness of the impact on profitability of being a customer-focused organisation, and despite the wealth of new approaches to innovation, the majority of new products and services are still failing to meet customer expectations. The time therefore has now arrived for business leaders to radically reappraise what they are doing, how they are doing it, who they are doing it with, and most importantly, why.
The subtitle of Customer Experiences with Soul is ‘A New Era in Design’. The reason is that this is a book about customer experience design which approaches the discipline in a way which has never been discussed before. Our approach is based on the philosophy of wholeness which we introduced in our first book Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter. After many years of working with enterprises, helping them to see their organisations as an authentic whole, and improving how they function and operate, we brought together our knowledge of strategy and change management, user experience design, product marketing and business development in Holonomics which was published in 2014. The book was written to help people engage in issues and problems in an entirely different manner from business as usual, resulting in evolutionary business models, powerful and effective strategies, and the development of purposeful, meaningful and sustainable brands.
One of the most important dimensions of our Holonomics approach is a concept we call ‘the dynamics of seeing’. The reason is that within general business practice there is an implicit assumption that the world ‘out there’ is a given and that people simply have different opinions about it. One of the qualities of a truly great designer is that the manner in which they experience the reality is dynamic, always searching for new ways of seeing and understanding the world. The importance of the dynamics of seeing to developing a more profound understanding of customer experience design cannot be underestimated. All of us have the capacity to evolve if we develop an expanded level of consciousness but we also have to develop awareness of the barriers which can prevent us from achieving this.
A second important dimension to our Holonomics approach is our expanded interpretation of sustainability, which we define as the quality of our relationships. This is much wider than more typical definitions of sustainability, because it allows businesses to understand how they can better prepare for the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous reality we now live in. When the leaders of an organisation fully sign up to this way of understanding sustainability, they are then able to transform their businesses through the redesign and rethinking of one of the most fundamental relationships they have, that which exists between a company and its customers. Given that this relationship is fundamentally human, we wished to introduce the one vital factor which until now has been notably absent from business discourse and that factor is soul.
©Simon Robinson and Maria Moraes Robinson (2017) Customer Experiences with Soul: A New Era in Design
Customer Experiences with Soul has been written as an extension of Holonomics, describing how our holonomics approach can be applied to the area of customer experience design. It introduces our tool, the Holonomic Circle, which articulates the meaning of soul in a design, business and branding context. It provides a holistic framework for designers, corporate entrepreneurs, creative leaders and those starting a new business or initiative to explore the principles underlying the dynamics of soulful customer experiences. It does so by linking the tools, techniques and framework for developing customer experiences with soul with an exploration of the questions of authenticity, purpose and human values.
The Holonomic Circle is a tool which allows us to ask probing questions about the customer experience and the very ‘being’ of brands from a perspective which more traditional tools have never previously covered. To help illustrate each aspect of the holonomic circle we have included in-depth, visionary interviews from entrepreneurs, CEOs, designers, artists and philosophers.
The insights from this book apply not only to the design of the customer experience itself, but also to product and service development, organisational design, branding, communications, leadership, training and strategy. It will help you to:
- take a radically new approach to customer experience design;
- fully integrate your purpose, goals and strategy with your customer experience;
- implement human values across the whole organisation; and
- develop long-term and more meaningful relationships with your customers.
Customer Experiences with Soul: A New Era in Design will shift your understanding of design, innovation, strategy, leadership and branding. It provides the guidance needed for developing, structuring and implementing customer experiences with soul, helping you to build and grow authentic businesses and organisations which honour what it is to be human in our world.