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Designing Meaningful Human Experiences by Kate O’Neill "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs 21 May 2020 True #mtpcon, #mtpcon London 2019, Data-Driven, data-driven decisions, Design Thinking, Innovation, Kate O'Neill, Machine Learning, Premium Content, Product Design, Video, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 740 Kate O'Neill talking at mtpcon London Product Management 2.96

Designing Meaningful Human Experiences by Kate O’Neill

In this #mtpcon London keynote, Kate O’Neill, founder of KO Insights, considers the question: How can humanity prepare for an increasingly machine, tech and data-driven future?

Key Points

  • We need to prepare society for an increasingly tech and data-driven future
  • We must build products that create meaningful human experiences now and in the future
  • To avoid the unintended consequences of our decisions, we must ask ourselves difficult questions throughout the product design process

Kate begins by explaining that, as robots become commonplace, we need to think about how we design products so that they can be kind, thoughtful and useful. This, she explains, will require intentional choices from product managers and constant questioning of how we can we prepare humanity for an increasingly tech and data-driven future.

Kate O'Neill talks at mtpcon London

In addition, she explains, this work must be done with an understanding that while the physical and digital worlds connect through the data captured in human experiences, most of these experiences are curated by businesses and are designed to meet business objectives. This is a truth we have to accept because business is – and will continue to be – the only way products reach the mass market.

As a result, we need to align business objectives to human outcomes if we’re going to create a purposeful, meaningful human experiences at scale.

Meaning is What Matters, Innovation is What Will Matter

Next, Kate focuses on the word “meaning” and its importance to product managers.

As humans, she says, we tend to seek meaning in everything we do. In fact, we focus on it and puzzle over it regularly.

She describes the many different layers to meaning and what they can give us when we create experiences.

She suggests using these ideas as questions:

  • What matters?
  • What is going to matter?

These two truths, posed as questions, can help us to interrogate and assess the experiences we’re putting out into the world.

Experience at Scale is Culture

Kate also discusses how, with the new technologies at our disposal, the decisions we make with our products will have far greater consequences than we currently have to consider.

In fact, she claims that as we make our choices about how tools and technologies will operate in the future, we impact culture.

To demonstrate, she uses Amazon Go stores as an example. These stores have been built in such a way that people can’t help others get their groceries from the shelves. This she says, is a good example of how our choices impact culture – in this case, the Amazon Go model can have an impact on how helpful society is going to be as a whole.

Kate O'Neill talks at mtpcon London 2019

Designing Integrated Human Experiences

To start, we need to step away from terms like user experience, customer experience, patient experience, and guest experience, because we are all of these things. Instead, we need to think about all the contexts that someone will interact with our products and what will be significant. This will help us to create more integrated human experiences.

The next step is to consider how the experiences we create are algorithmically optimised and automated and have some sense of machine learning. We therefore need to ask ourselves how can we create meaningful automated integrated human experiences.

Kate shares some guidelines:

  1. Don’t just automate the menial – automate the meaningful
  2. Automate empathy
  3. Use human data respectfully
  4. Reinvest gains from automation into humanity and human experiences

And a few questions you can ask to avoid unintended consequences:

  • How will this impact culture at scale?
  • How will this impact brand at scale?
  • What is the purpose of the experience we’re rolling out?
  • What will happen if this product is successful beyond our wildest dreams?

Another good place to start is to use the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as a way to set your strategic visions. There are plenty of business opportunities which can help to address these most important challenges for humanity. In fact, if you’re not using them, you’re probably not future-focused enough.

Kate O'Neill on stage at mtpcon London

Diverse Perspectives Will Make Inclusive Experiences

In conclusion, Kate explains, if we keep asking ourselves what matters and what will matter, with the right people in the room, then we will build more meaningful products that make the world a better place. Our aim should be the best future for the most people possible.

To download a copy of Kate’s keynote slides visit www.koinsights.com/mtp-download

Kate O'Neill sketchnotes form mtpcon London

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