Connecting with Different Generations - Digital Innovation Strategy

Sid Mukherjee - 06.06.2022

Digital Innovation Strategy has shifted from being a buzzword to a necessity for forward-thinking businesses. It helps brands to seamlessly embrace the inevitable move towards digital- and virtual-first customer experience, while also solidifying business continuity plans. Many businesses, having faced disruptions due to the global pandemic, have relied on the benefits of digital transformation on operational efficiency, accuracy, and speed.

For Digital Innovation Strategy to succeed, there’s certainly a heavy reliance on technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and more. However, many digital initiatives fall short when companies ignore the cultural and generational shifts that accompany such change. Even with automation and AI at the forefront of transformation, there are still lots of oddities and confirmation bias that needs addressing for such models to be sustainable.

Investments in digitization also helps companies arrive at more data-driven solutions which can positively impact both customers and employees. With a holistic approach to transformation, businesses may see a 20-30% increase in customer satisfaction, a 10-20% improvement in employee engagement, and 20-50% economic impact  within 12 months.

Cultural Innovation

As with anything digital, you must look at who your audiences are and their needs. While older generations are catching up to younger and more digital-savvy counterparts, you must ensure that digital transformation doesn’t drive away those who need to understand it the most.

Therefore, digital transformation should take place alongside cultural innovation within organizations. At the risk of being called “dinosaurs”, brands that resist change — whether through technology or the acceptance of generational differences — alienate both employees and consumers.

In this, change doesn’t necessarily mean that the company’s essence and foundations must completely disappear. It should, instead, be taken as a forward march away from age-old corporate practices which were once considered as the norm. Such as in the case of the tech-centric video game industry, wherein the crunch period—or the critical period nearing the completion of games—causes mass burnout and emotional distress to oft underpaid employees. The same can be said for companies which turn away from work-life integration and diversity practices.

Listening to the People

While the executives, the board, and other shareholders wield the expertise in making informed decisions for the company, it doesn’t hurt to listen to what consumers and employees have to say. One must also look at the general state of the world to respond accordingly. What are the issues that they face in a digital-first landscape? Is it the user experience, accessibility, ease of use, or the safety of your platform or services?

Thanks to technology, there are a lot of tools we can now use for social listening. Customers and employees flood virtual platforms—such as social media and review sites—to signal boost both positive and negative attributes of brands they are connected with.

And as you know, that’s not to say that any brand must easily be swayed by the public. However, when backed with data and a keen observation on what makes audiences tick, brands become more powerful and aligned with those they serve and those who serve them.

Looking Ahead

As AI becomes smarter and better at mimicking human behavior, digital will continue to permeate our lives as consumers. The ageing population is slowly being replaced by younger, more digitally adept generations. While the Millennials, Gen Z, and the upcoming Generation Alpha (born between 2010-2023) will surely catch on quickly, it’s still important to ensure the safety, comfort, and accessibility of digitized services. You can learn more about protecting children and brands online through this digital transformation white paper from Ryan Strategic Advisory.

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