Top 10 digital trends 2016 to watch for design thinking

11 January 2016

Fjord, the design unit of Accenture Interactive, has unveiled its take on the top 10 digital trends to watch in 2016 for design thinking.

The rise of Digital has in recent years transformed business and society, sparking a wave of technological advancements, innovation, changing consumer expectations and operating models. From disruptive business models such as Uber or Airbnb, to overhauls of market structures and value chains, it has become undisputed that digital technologies are ‘here to stay’. The potential is according to several researches massive, with for instance an Accenture study showing that digital is likely to add a combined $1.36 trillion to the GDP of the world’s top 10 economies by 2020 alone, while another study by McKinsey & Company on the value of Internet of Things (IoT) – a domain in many cases related to / dependent on digital developments – estimates that the total economic benefit of IoT could hit a staggering $11.1 trillion in 2025.

Fjord Trends

Underpinning the digital wave is the continued drive toward constantly changing services, also known as ‘living services’, dynamically responding to user requirements and context in real time. The impact of digital is however not confined to technology alone: it is triggering changes across the full spectrum of business and management, from organisational structure to processes and leadership, as well as wider social and cultural changes in society.

Design thinking
One of the areas impacted by digital is design thinking, which along with digital has been earmarked as one of the key trends gaining momentum in the corporate space. As a result of all the digital disruption the urgency for innovation has reached record heights. Organisations are therefore putting more emphasis on the experience of the end user – elevating the importance of the functional area known as design. Giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook, IBM, PepsiCo and General Electric have been fast movers in the landscape, yet 2016 is forecasted to be the year when design breaks through its tipping point towards large-scale adoption. 

Since 2008, design firm Fjord, which was acquired by Accenture in May 2013 and now is part of Accenture Interactive, conducts research into the most significant emergent digital trends expected to transform design thinking. Its latest study (titled ‘Trends 2016’) looks at the expectations for the current year, drawing upon the collective thinking of Fjord’s 750+ designers and developers around the world, based on first-hand observations, third-party research and client work. According to the authors, ten digital trends expected to shape the next generation of experiences can be distinguished:

Wach IT Listens - Services with manners - B2WE

1) Watch. It Listens. Today, many of us use devices that encourage us to run farther or eat better. Whether wearables or nearables, the latest crop of devices now listen and respond. Whether it’s literally listening to voice commands or to the streams of data we create, they are learning from users and responding in real-time through intent-driven, increasingly effortless, “micromoments.”

2) Service with Manners. With the surge of big data comes extraordinary responsibility. The most successful organizations appreciate that digital trust must be earned. “Privacy by design” is being embraced at companies like Microsoft that are embedding privacy standards into technology and product design from the start.

3) B2We. Liquid expectations are spilling over into our work lives, as workers expect the same best-in-class consumer experiences to converge with the workplace. A new emphasis on employee experience (EX) design is reimagining workplace processes, structure and culture.


4) Disappearing apps. The glut of single-use apps in our daily lives will disappear into platforms as they become “atomized,” or super distributed, across platforms and third-party services. The next wave may not even require human interaction to activate.

5) The Flattening of Privilege. Digital experiences have democratized luxury and elevated our standard of living -- bringing luxury services like personal chauffeurs (like Lyft) and virtual assistants (like Facebook M) to the masses.

6) Approachable Government Design. Governments are rethinking the citizen experience from a one-size-fits-all approach to finely-tuned services tailored to individual needs. Both the US and UK’s digital government departments have even published meticulous design style guides.

7) Healthy is the New Wealthy. Self-monitoring is no longer the domain of a small, tech-savvy customer segment. Newly empowered consumers are embracing health tech to measure their wellness. Even insurers like Kaiser Permanente and Aetna are opening up their platforms to third parties to enable the building of Quantified Self services on top of their data connecting third-party wearables, apps and services.


8) Virtual Reality’s (VR) Dreams Come True. No longer a futuristic fantasy, VR will make its mainstream debut in 2016 with the first consumer versions of Sony, Oculus, and Samsung products expected to hit the market. Expect designers to think beyond gaming and put VR to novel use in everything from scientific studies and virtual tourism, to immersive learning.

9) Taking Things off the Thinking List. With rapid speed of innovation comes a never-ending cycle of decisions and choices. Services that can anticipate needs by suggesting options or automating low-maintenance decisions, such as Google Now, can be a welcome part of consumers’ lives.

10) Design from Within. Corporations are embracing design thinking to catalyze change for their customers and employees. By taking a human-centered approach, these companies are using design as an agent for problem solving across the entire organization; but it’s an emphasis on design doing that will bring the promise to life.

“As the digitisation of everything alters what we think of as a service and the physical world becomes more connected, organisations will need to understand these new battlegrounds to adapt and convert change into opportunities,” says Brian Whipple, Senior Managing Director at Accenture Interactive. “We believe these ten trends will inspire but, above all, provide actionable insights into designing for the rapidly evolving world of experience.”


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Four ways digitalisation is transforming car brands and dealers

16 April 2019

From changing expectations from the customer to new stakeholders entering the industry, the digital transformation of global automotive industry means it is facing the wholesale transformation of its business model. In a new white paper, global consulting partnership Cordence Worldwide has highlighted four major digital trends that are transforming the relationships between car brands and dealers with consumers.

With digital transformation drives booming across the industrial spectrum, automotive groups are no different in having commenced large digital transformation programmes to improve productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability. Falling sales figures mean the automotive sector is facing an increasingly difficult road ahead, something which means companies in the market are even more hard pressed to find new ways to improve their bottom lines.

While it offers major opportunities, the industry’s move to digitalise is not without complications. It has triggered a series of major internal changes, which have presented automotive entities with the challenge of becoming a “customer-oriented” industry. A new report from Cordence Worldwide – a global management consulting partnership present in more than 20 countries – has explored how automotive companies are navigating the rapidly changing nature of digital business.

New business models

The level of change likely to be wrought on the automotive industry by digitalisation is hard to overstate. Automation could well lead to significant reductions in the number of accidents, higher vehicle utilisation and lower pollution levels, while leading to a $2.1 trillion change in traditional revenues, with up to $4.3 trillion in new revenue openings arising by 2030.

As a result of this colossal opportunity, it is easy to see why almost all automotive groups now have digital departments, with generally strong communication within the digital transformation and the customer approach. The changes to society which this may have are potentially distracting automotive firms from the change it is leading to in its own companies though, according to Cordence’s paper.

The automotive market is dead, long live the mobility market

Because of this, the sector’s business model is set to transform over the coming decades. With digitalisation speeding up the appearance of concepts such as car-sharing, a subscription package model will likely become more palatable. At the same time, car and ride-sharing models will cater to the sustainability criteria of millennials, who will rapidly become one of the automotive market’s leading consumer demographics in the coming years.

Antoine Glutron – a Managing Consultant with Cordence member Oresys, and the report’s author – said of the situation, “These ‘old school industries’ are now working on creating new opportunities, but in so-doing are facing challenges and threats: new jobs, new technologies, new ecosystem of partners, necessary reorganisation, different relationship with customers, and even new businesses. The customer approach topic is in fact a real challenge for car companies as it implies changing their business model and adjusting their mind-set to address the customer 4.0: from product-centric to customer-centric, from car manufacturer to service provider.”

Digital customer experience

In the hyper-competitive age of the internet, even top companies face an uphill challenge when it comes to holding onto customers through brand loyalty. Digital disruption has resulted in changes to consumer behaviour, which is forcing a range of marketing strategists to reconsider their old, possibly out-dated strategies. As modern customers wield an increasingly impressive array of digital tools and online databases, they and are now able to quickly and conveniently compare prices, check availability and read product reviews.

The automotive sector is no exception to this trend, according to the study. In order to adapt to the needs of the so-called ‘customer 4.0’, car companies will increasingly need to change their business model and move away from product-centric companies to customer-centric ones, from car manufacturers to service providers.

Glutron explained, “As an automotive company, you can no longer expect customer loyalty simply with good products; you must conquer and re-conquer a customer that “consumes” your service. The offer now has to be global, digital and personalised. Your offer has to be adapted to this customer’s needs at any given moment. A key issue related to data control is to build customer loyalty by creating a customer experience 'tailored' throughout the cycle of use of the 'car product': purchase, driving, maintenance and trade-in of the vehicle.”

One way in which the sector may be able to benefit from this desire for a tailored experience is via connectivity. Consumers are generally positive about new connective features for automobiles, and many are even willing to pay upfront for infotainment, emergency and maintenance services. Chinese consumers, where the connected car market is set to hit $216 billion, are already particularly interested in paying a little more for navigation and diagnostic features in their future new car. This can also enable automotive companies to exploit a rich vein of customer data, enabling them to rapidly tailor their offerings to consumer behaviour.

New automotive segments

Digital transformation has also brought with it the rise of completely new application areas. As mentioned earlier, the most well-known example is the autonomous or self-driving car, where the last steps forward were not taken by major automotive groups but by technology companies such as Tesla. While this may have given such firms the edge in the market briefly, a number of keystone automotive names will soon be set to take the plunge into the market themselves, leveraging their car manufacturing prowess and huge production capacities to their advantage.

Before companies rush to invest in this market, however, it is worth their while to remember that the readiness and uptake for such vehicles differs greatly geographically. For example, following a study published in 2018, 92% of Chinese would be ready to buy an autonomous car, compared with only around 35% of drivers in France, Germany and US. Meanwhile, the infrastructure of different nations will also be significantly less accommodating of the new technology.

Use digital for steering thr activity

Elsewhere, Cordence’s analysis has suggested that hooking the cars of tomorrow into the Internet of Things is also likely to see a rapid change in the business model for car maintenance, providing real-time diagnostics for problems. This presents chances for partnerships to improve the connectivity of cars, especially with tech companies; for example, PSA partnered with IBM for a global agreement on services in their vehicle. Meanwhile, data could also be sold to other parties with an interest in this data, such as the government, which could use it to manage traffic levels, or ensure that only adequately maintained vehicles take to the road.

Glutron added, “With the increase in the amount of client data and connected opportunities, the recommendation is to set up data-centric approaches. The value is now in the customer data. The general prerequisites are to rework the data model and the Enterprise Architecture and generally build up a data lake including data from all sources (internal and external, structured and unstructured).”

From automotive to mobility

Relating further to the idea of connectivity, the report claimed that automotive firms must now adjust their models in line with the provision of end-to-end mobility, rather than treating the sale of a car as an end point in their relationship with the customer. In order to realise this transformation, transformations are likely to become more and more important.

A network of partner companies means automotive firms can provide a global mobility experience. As the vehicle is increasingly connected to its environment, new partners can also be cities, governments, and other service providers within the global mobility services industry in which the car brands want to take part.

According to the study, the target is clear. Companies must look to a holistic transport service, offering to move customers from A to B in a unique and pleasant way – otherwise they might as well take public transport. At the same time, they should extend the services reachable “on-board” (especially the enhancement of the connectivity between the car and smartphones or other connected devices), and reach high standards in terms of user experience (online sales, online payment, customised experience during and after the use of the car).

Concluding the report, Glutron stated, “These mobility market transformations could be considered a threat for the car manufacturers. Quite the opposite: if they take up the challenge and review their business model so that they become the service provider – communicating no longer to a driver but to a ‘mobility customer’ – they can then take advantage of their expertise and their position as a historical player. The most convenient means of transport are cars, and building a car is highly-skilled work.”