Humans Brand Strategy Design

From ‘human-centric’ to ‘humanity-centric’: total experience for the common good

By Raymond Manookian, Design Director



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April 19, 2023 | 7 min read

You’ve heard of ‘human-centric design’, but Zone’s Raymond Manookian argues that it doesn’t go far enough; instead, we should be aiming for a wider scope.

A black-and-white photograph of a large crowd of people

Should designers and marketers be taking a 'humanity-centric' view? / Rob Curran via Unsplash

On today’s damaged and disrupted planet, it can be challenging to establish purposeful innovation when wasteful experiences surround you. While technology has enabled us to drive change across industries and sectors, the motivations, purpose, and executions underpinning today’s digital transformation strategies are also evolving.

Businesses are recognizing that they can no longer be spectators of global events. They are acutely aware of the expectation, both from within and from the world around them, to drive this change. This requires an evolution from those empowered with the responsibility to design and execute the transformation.

‘Human-centric’ principles, approaches, and mindsets are a mainstay of our consultative world. This mindset is showing its limitations in our modern world and in its approaches to challenges presented to our clients.

We must evolve our thinking to incorporate the under-represented voices beyond those of humans and instead embrace a ‘humanity-centric’ approach that incorporates voices from across our shared ecosystem.

The mandate for change

Innovation has always played an integral role in digital transformation. But in today's interconnected world, where social norms have evolved and technology has disrupted our lives, our work must consider its responsibilities around its outcomes and impacts.

Transformation isn’t just about doing things faster and better. It’s also about looking at the bigger picture and taking accountability for the changes we want to make. More than ever, companies are thinking holistically to design and deliver total experiences (TX) that maximize their power and purpose to produce superior experiences and enhance business and brand value.

We have long known that when customer experience, digital transformation, and employee experience converge, the results will enrich the overall experience. These combined experiences can outperform rivals in satisfaction by as much as 25%.

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Providing a total experience

‘Total experience’ describes all aspects of users’ experience with an organization. The fundamental principle behind TX is humanity-centricity: a holistic strategy to create a deep understanding for anyone concerned with the end experience.

Audiences and employees are acutely aware of social responsibilities. Irresponsible signaling will, without fail, lead to the masses calling out those putting forward a disingenuous reality. All businesses have a role in driving accessible, inclusive and sustainable strategies to underpin their roles and responsibilities.

These principles are only genuine when combined with a clear understanding of our individual and collective roles in a sustainable society. That careful reflection is the driving force in developing a strategy to pursue a vision and deliver the right solutions.

Embracing the unknown: AI and humanity-centricity

Much of this work can and should be enabled by progressive automation and AI. A polarizing topic, the focus of the hype is how AI may drive work redundancies, and less on how it can define and shape the future of our shared capability to deliver the products and services the world desperately needs.

Automation and AI can give headroom to allow our creative, human brains to embrace the purpose and impact of the world around us, and to drive sustainable futures we can all be proud of.

So, how do we achieve ‘humanity-centric’ digital transformation?

The honest answer is that it will be messy – at first. For example, my local drugstore Boots is tired and in desperate need of an overhaul, rethinking its relationship with its surrounding area. That rethinking is key to reimagining the entire purpose and future of the high street, and where individual shops are positioned within it. How can we use local stores to reflect their local communities? What if we brought in local traders and used that to propel their own brands within their local area? This would result in a more idealistic and holistic experience.

Predicting an honest representation of the future is complex; creating one in accordance with the above principles can only happen in stages. By breaking it down and building incrementally, you can ensure that what you make or adapt is clear and measurable. Piece by piece, step by step, we can all build a future that is fit for today, tomorrow, and maybe even beyond.

Humans Brand Strategy Design

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Zone is the customer experience agency inside Cognizant. We generate value for businesses by creating transformative customer experiences.

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