Mixed Reality and Humanizing Artificial Intelligence: New Accenture Report Highlights the Evolving Role of Design as More Innovative, Responsive and Emotive Than Ever

Fjord Trends 2017 takes a provocative look at the digital developments to watch in the year ahead, according to Fjord, design and innovation from Accenture Interactive

NEW YORK--()--If this year has taught us anything, it’s that digital technologies and hyper-connectivity are bringing user-led innovation to market faster than ever. Successful organizations today are those that best adapt and respond to unceasing change. Against this backdrop, Accenture (NYSE:ACN) has released Fjord Trends 2017, its tenth and most provocative annual report examining the most significant emergent digital trends expected to disrupt organizations and society in the year ahead.

“Organizations across every sector are learning to harness digital to become more customer-centric. It is through this lens that organizations need to rethink their purpose and what they call a service in order to convert change into opportunities.”

Three meta themes emerged, challenging long-held norms and assumptions. The rise of the autonomous vehicle, smart homes and digital assistants is creating new ecosystems that threaten the smartphone’s dominance as the main command center of our lives. Storytelling takes new shape through the popularity of live stories and raw, personal content as a refashioned form of broadcast. And the rise of social experience will soon be a consideration for any organization wanting to cut through in a post-truth world.

“The year is about making us smarter humans and fostering human potential by creating helpful, meaningful services across an expanded array of digitized environments,” said Mark Curtis, chief client officer, Fjord. “Interfaces are becoming faster, smaller and automated, and organizations will need to adapt to the kind of supercharged, responsive and immersive environments now possible. Our tenth annual Trends report aims to provoke, inform and inspire but, above all, to provide actionable insights into designing for the rapidly evolving world of experience.”

Trends 2017 examines eight digital trends expected to shape the next generation of experiences:

  1. Shiny API People: Re-wiring for innovation. Organizations will need to completely re-wire to inspire creative thinking and become more people-centric. They’ll do this by upscaling the principles and practices of innovation to effect organization-wide transformation.
  2. Hourglass Brands: Don’t get stuck in the middle. With a polarized brand landscape, brands sitting in the squeezed middle will need to change their strategies and either lean towards a clear purpose or advocate a ‘we can do anything’ voice.
  3. Blurred Reality: Beyond AR vs VR vs MR. As Mixed Reality moves towards the mainstream, organizations will turn away from single, siloed enhanced reality experiences to focus instead on harnessing and combining all types of reality – both enhanced and real.
  4. World on Wheels: Go slow to go fast. With autonomous vehicles so close to becoming part of everyday life, organizations will focus attention on the car as a connected mobile environment in which things happen via multiple devices. Leaders will explore ways to integrate experiences between car and home.
  5. Homes without Boundaries: Domestic help finds its voice. Organizations will need to look beyond device-centric strategies to focus instead on designing and serving home experiences that better meet individual householders’ varying wants and needs.
  6. Ephemeral Stories: What’s next now that everyone’s a ‘storyteller?’ Brand content is shifting from storytelling to ‘storydoing’ – creating stories by what brands do, rather than what they tell. Brand owners will step back and make room for audiences to shape their own stories through highly personal – often, ephemeral – content.
  7. Me, Myself and A.I.: Humanizing chatbots. While A.I. has evolved exponentially, in 2017 we will see a shift in organizations’ approaches to developing products and services as emotional intelligence (EQ) becomes a critical A.I. differentiator.
  8. Unintended Consequences: Customer-centric cannibals. Organizations will focus more closely not just on their customer and employee experiences, but on their social experiences to guard against unintended consequences of their activities.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented era of innovation, placing the need for companies to rewire in order to succeed,” said Brian Whipple, head of Accenture Interactive. “Organizations across every sector are learning to harness digital to become more customer-centric. It is through this lens that organizations need to rethink their purpose and what they call a service in order to convert change into opportunities.”

Trends 2017 draws upon the collective thinking of Fjord’s 800+ designers and developers around the world based on first-hand observations, third-party research and client work. For the full report, visit www.trends.fjordnet.com or share your comments with us on Slideshare.

This year marks a special tenth anniversary of Fjord Trends. For a look back at the last decade of innovation, as well as our hits and misses, check out this video.

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 384,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

Accenture Interactive, part of Accenture Digital, helps the world’s leading brands drive superior marketing performance across the full multichannel customer experience. Accenture Interactive offers integrated, industrialized and industry-driven digital transformation and marketing solutions. It was recently named by Ad Age as the world’s largest and fastest-growing digital agency. Fjord, Accenture Interactive’s design and innovation unit, reimagines people’s relationships with the digital and physical world around them, using the power of design to create services people love. To learn more follow us @Accenture Social and visit www.accenture.com/interactive or www.fjordnet.com.

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David LaBar, 646-456-4505
david.labar@accenture.com

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New Accenture report highlights the evolving role of design as more innovative, responsive and emotive than ever.

Accenture