Toward the Empathy Economy

An article by Bruce Nussbaum in BusinessWeek suggests that the thing that will set American businesses apart in the future is their ability to provide great customer experiences. To deliver great customer experiences, businesses will need to hire people with right-brain skills involving creativity and design.

“Quality-management programs can’t give you the kind of empathetic connection to consumers that increasingly is the key to opening up new business opportunities. All the B-school-educated managers you hire won’t automatically get you the outside-the-box thinking you need to build new brands — or create new experiences for old brands. The truth is we’re moving from a knowledge economy that was dominated by technology into an experience economy controlled by consumers and the corporations who empathize with them.”

He sees developing countries like India and China focusing more on cost-cutting and quality control efforts such as Six Sigma, “leaving U.S. corporations to build new business models around customer culture.” Jobs in the United States, he predicts, will focus on right brain skills such as creativity and empathetic design, whereas jobs requiring inside the box thinking such as engineers will increasingly move offshore.

There’s not anything new about the concept of the “experience economy,” which has been around for several years. What is interesting, though, is the design connection. The writer suggests that artistry and design professionals will be in greater demand, and that design thinking is making its way up to the executive suite.

Hat tip Terry Storch for the link.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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