Organizations across every sector are harnessing digital technologies to become more consumer-centric. But this laser focus on serving and pleasing customers can have unintended consequences. Consider recent debates about Airbnb’s alleged impact on local rental markets, fake news’s influence on the U.S. presidential election, and the role of social media in Kim Kardashian’s $5 million jewelry robbery. In each case, the companies gave users what they wanted. But at what cost?
In 2017, consumers and media will challenge the actions of organizations that impact their lives, forcing digital ethics up corporate and legislative agendas. Institutions will focus more closely not just on their customer and employee experiences but also on “social experience”—how their business and design decisions affect society as a whole.
Co.Design‘s Mark Curtis explains how organizations and their employees can get off to the right start in a year that promises a great deal of change. For companies, being cognizant of the impact and potential hidden costs of their actions on society and the environment, prioritizing diversity, and putting people first are essential. Employees should hold their organizations accountable on these fronts, while also seeing to their own learning and development in order to stay relevant in a workforce that will become increasingly automated.