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Daniel Santos rings the alarm: playing safe is now the biggest risk

Daniel Santos came to Porto Innovation Hub to explain the importance of service design in a process of profound change, but also to inspire an audience full of people with a clear will to roll up their sleeves and be an active part in the digital transition.

At a time when we are evolving from digitalization to a deep digital transformation, Daniel Santos conducted his intervention under the motto of pointing the way to innovate in a context of constant change. But what is the best way to do it?

The service designer listed the main steps to be able to start generating change. The first of these steps will be to change the way companies operate and provide value to their customers. This will require rethinking traditional business models, processes, and operations; promoting new ways of working and interacting with customers, partners, and employees; creating opportunities for growth and innovation; enabling companies to become more efficient, more agile, customer-centric, and data-driven; and achieving results, generating impact, and producing value for all stakeholders. This process will ultimately trigger a holistic approach that engages and motivates the entire organization, from strategy and leadership to culture and operations.

As an assumed enthusiast of people-centered innovation, Daniel Santos chooses people, the human resources of each organization, as the best and most powerful driving force for a true digital transformation. In line with this reasoning, the guest took advantage of the session to challenge each member of the audience to point out the first decision they would take if they became responsible for implementing digital transformation in their companies. As expected, the answers varied, but in general, they were aligned with the process defined by the speaker for a good result:

  1. Diagnose the organization’s understanding of digital transformation (TD);
  2. Assess current capability (leadership, technology, data management, operations, customer experience, organizational culture, …);
  3. Secure executive sponsorship and mandate to implement;
  4. Define a vision and create a strategy for TD;
  5. Ensure appropriate skills and define governance;
  6. Engage all stakeholders in understanding the vision, objectives and key results and define approach to change management;
  7. And finally, plan execution with realistic timelines and start TD.

Still on the path to promote the digital transition, it was reminded the importance of adopting a permanent risk attitude, being certain that those who do not innovate, are admittedly in the process of becoming obsolete. Under the motto “safe is the new risky”, we live in the era of the Chat GPT which, in just two months, has conquered 100 million users. Relatively recently, this kind of progression would have been unthinkable, but the truth is that we move in this register of hyper-speed, hyper-abundance and hyper-competition.

Thus, the “business as usual” that was accepted not so long ago is no longer viable, and it is up to the companies to readjust and not to stop at the mere use of technological functionalities. Going further means, yes, using technology and service design, but focusing on the needs of the customer or target audience and, most importantly, responding to them in a clear way.

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