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Imagining Trend 14 July Jul 2017 1035 14 July 2017

Humanification, the greatest innovation is human (not a robot)

Will technology substitute people? This is not necessarily the case. The new gurus focus on innovative solutions studied to underscore the importance of human work and the related gratification.

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A new concept has been introduced into human resources departments, and is now given due consideration even by CEOs, Managing Directors and Directors General, it is humanification. A word that refers to a key concept for every company, a people-centred approach. Basically, to make their product more human and thus enhance its value. The overall objective is to recover an asset that has been marginalised in the age of efficientism at all costs, the race to digitalisation and the tyranny of KPI (Key Performance Indicator).

Is technology at fault? Not really. Or rather, companies are to blame for focusing on either reducing or increasing the digital divide that separates the various competitors by using technology as an organisational and productivity-oriented lever, rather than as a flywheel for creativity and the development of individual and collective potential. And those who paid the subsequent price were human resources, starting from employees, then clients and, finally, the entire social network that surrounds the company (territory, education, associations).

However, there are solutions that can reverse the trend. Starting by recovering a corporate practice that, in Italy, has provided examples such as Cristoforo Benigni Crespi, Adriano Olivetti and Aristide Merloni. Enlightened entrepreneurs who have contributed to Italian economic growth with a holistic corporate system that linked economic success and social and human progress. They applied humanification ahead of time. When the large villages of workers in Trezzo sull’Adda and Ivrea were abandoned, this tradition was converted into streamlined work, corporate welfare, the promotion of individual competences and the demand for qualified staff. It is no mere chance that the digital workspace manager is in high demand today. He manages work spaces in a flexible manner by using digital technology to enhance productivity and reconcile both the living and occupational schedule.

«When talents are identified, a good leader must create a safe atmosphere in the team».

At the same time, platforms like Slack (for remote management of team work through a common dashboard) or apps like DesksNear.me (that finds the closest co-working space to one’s workstation) are increasingly present. And smart working is growing after its legislative framework was defined. In 2016, 30% of large companies introduced it into their organisation especially for clerical workers and directors (where 7% of white collars already possess decisional power in their working modes).

But a change of paradigm is required to implement the above. Starting from the notion of leadership. «When talents are identified, a good leader must create a safe atmosphere in his team for people to feel free to dare, do what they normally would not do and give free reign to their creativity», says George Kohlrieser, Professor of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour at the Swiss Business School IMD.

Micheal Porter, economist at the Harvard Business School, says, «Time back, at least in the United States, companies were a place where people wanted to remain. But this is not the case anymore. People do not find the idea that organisations exist with the sole scope of maximising the profits of shareholders attractive anymore». Not even clients are drawn by this. Hence, Porter deems that companies should seek to create more “shared value”, «Basically it means handling a social problem, such as water, for instance, and obtaining benefits at times». What benefits? «The discovery of new markets, new needs that have not been met as yet, new modes of conducting business with better management of the impact on the environment and on the community». Putting it in a nutshell, on people.