This presentation is about the power of starting with value instead of profit when doing business. How you can create value beyond calculation and be successful beyond the status quo if you you a a human centered focus. A human centered focus in how you create value, the value you deliver and how you capture the value.
‘The main objective that
dominated companies the
last decades is profit
Powerful financially strong organizations
dominated industries. These efficient
organizations were build by rational
thinkers. They were based on traditional
economic foundations that believe that
the actions of people only have a
‘They achieved profit
maximization by focussing on
the short-term, but they didn't
build strong foundations in the
The financial crisis is a important
consequence of the short-term focus.
Profit centered organizations preferred
short-term profit maximization instead of
building strong foundations and focussing
on long-term value.
‘I believe that Human Centered Business
thinking creates value beyond calculation and
helps us being successful beyond the status quo.’
It is in everybody's best interest to build organizations that are not focussed on profit,
but on maximizing value for people. Organizations that primarily focus on the long-
term and see profit as a result of creating something valuable for people. Not only
human centered in the value that is created(outcome), but also in the way the value is
created(process). Human centered organizations don't see people as pawns but as
players. They treat people as people and motivate them intrinsic. They give them the
possibility to direct there work(autonomy), they help people to get better in
something that matters(mastery) and they give people the possibility to do things in
service of something larger then themselves(purpose). I believe that if you do this,
people are willing to challenge the status quo and want to design better solutions. In
these Human Centered organizations, innovation will be an ongoing process in every
aspect of the business. These organizations are leaders, they are the ones that others
have to adjust to and follow. Because of their design spirit they differentiate
themselves with better products that have an embedded promotion. Money is still
important for success in these organization, but it isn't a guarantee or stating point.
Being successful is not only a privilege of the left brain rational thinkers. Right brain
minded people that are heuristic thinkers, love to create and synthesize, that are
creative and emphatic have equal or even better changes on being successful.
Robert van Geenhuizen
Understand structure and you can build a
company. Understand people and you can
build a business.
Profit centered business
Making products that can be sold at the highest possible margin to the mass
By building efficient organizations with primarily rational thinking. They are focussed
on the short-term to please the interests of shareholders. They standardize as
many as possible processes and they mostly motivate people extrinsic ('sticks and
carrots'). The products are optimized for mass market and therefore mainly excel in
To make and maximize profit.
Human Centered Business
To create value with a meaning for people. A meaningful purpose that is larger
than the organization itself.
To have a Human Centered focus in the way value is created, delivered and
captured. The people that create the value are intrinsic motived by purpose,
autonomy and mastery. Because they want to maximize the value, they challenge
the status quo in everything they do. These organizations are innovation, they are
inside-out leaders and others have to adapt to them to survive.
An organization that is successful beyond the status quo with an incredibly strong
‘The whole is greater than
the sum of its parts.’
‘The most important starting point of Human
Centered Business is a meaningful purpose.’
Success begins with why, with a sense of purpose and not profit. Apple, the Wright brothers, or Martin
Luther King, they all share a strong drive that distinguishes them and helps them to be successful. A
drive that goes beyond the outcome of value creation for people, profit.
If Apple would start with
a profit centered purpose
instead of a meaningful
purpose, their proposition
would sound probably
something like this…
'We make great computers. They are
beautifully designed and simply to use.
Do you want to buy one?'
But Apple starts with a meaningful purpose and therefore
they got a completely different proposition…
'We believe that in everything we do, we have to challenge the status quo. The way we do this, is by designing
our products beautifully and making them easy to use. We just happen to make computers.
Do you want to buy one?'
not the key
the key to
‘Human Centered Business thinkers believe that success starts
with maximizing value for humans in which profit is the result,
not the other way around.’
If you want to design a business model that effectively creates value for people,
you need to start with the following question:’Which value can we create for customers?’
‘T effectively create and maximize value, you need
to look beyond what traditional marketers and R&D
departments are used to do. ’
Traditionally, they focus primarily on what people say and do (public attitude).To effectively innovate
and create value for people you must not look only at what people say and do but also what they hear,
see, feel and think. What are their pains and which things do they value the most? On the next page
you find a 'Customer empathy map' which makes it more comprehensible.
What does she think and feel ?
What really counts? Major preoccupations worries & aspirations
What does she hear ?
What friends say What does she see ?
What boss says Environment
What influencers say Friends
What the market offers
What does she say and doe?
Attitude in public appearance
Behavior towards others
Fears “wants” / needs
Frustrations Measures of success
‘If you understand people better,
it's easier to create relevant value for people.’
This is an idea that the discipline behavioral economics tries to tell us for quit some while now. We should not only study money, but
also the behavior of people. The behavior of people can not only be explained rational. We also should consider humans as irrational
beings. In these times where social media is increasingly gaining ground it is more easier to listen to customers and effectively create
value with the 'Customer empathy map' in mind. Passive listening or active participation and
even in some cases co-creation and crowdsourcing.
‘ s an emotional
maximization lacks the
power to fully mobilize
‘Thinking with the left hemisphere is still a basic
requirement for success, but not decisive. T create
distinctive value for people design thinking
is absolute necessary.’
Left brain thinkers are sequential, factual, functional, textual and analytical, and they dominate 'Profit centered business'. The right brain
thinkers are very creative, empathetic, aesthetic, have the ability to see big picture (contextual) and are able to synthesize. They are the
ones that dominate in 'Human Centered Business'. More and more algorithmic tasks of left brain thinkers are outsourced to foreign
countries, while heuristic abilities are becoming increasing more important to succeed. these are the tasks that create distinctive
organizations. New solutions must be designed and constructed, there are no algorithms for it. According to from McKinsey & Co.
currently only 30 percent of the job growth in the U.S. is for algorithmic work, while 70 percent is for heuristic work.
'You can't motivate right brain thinkers
with extrinsic motivation. You need to see
these people as players, not as pawns.'
Scientific research has repeatedly shown that extrinsic
motivation in the form of rewards and punishments only
works with linear work with only one possible result. Science
does also show then you want to motivate people with
heuristic tasks, extrinsic motivation had even a very negative
effect on the outcome.
The three essential elements of intrinsic motivation
The urge to direct our own lives.
The desire to get better and better at something that matters.
The yearning to do something that we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
‘Because Human Centered Business is focused on value maximization
for people, innovation is important. This creates the
natural ability to distinguish.’
If you know to distinguish yourself as an organization you are able to create a strong foundation. But to be distinctive, you
must look beyond existing resources. Not solve problems and challenges with existing resources and not directly stop at the
first good idea. Solutions must be found by designing new answers. Organizations that are able to think 'out of the box' are
ready at any moment to challenge the status qou.
‘If you want to innovate successfully and create new possibilities,
you have to start thinking as a designer.’
If you want to create an innovative product, it is important that is technical feasible(feasibility), it has a value for customers(desirability)
and that there is an economically attractive business model for it(viability). Usually people or organizations are focussed on only one or
two of these aspects. Someone with a design mentality tries to see the big picture and is able to synthesize successfully al three aspects.
A Design Thinker’s Personality Profile
• Empathy: They can imagine the world from multiple perspectives – those of colleagues. clients, end users, and customers
(current and prospective). By taking a ‘people first’ approach, design thinkers can imagine solutions that are inherently
desirable and meet explicit or latent needs. Great design thinkers observe the world in minute detail. They notice things
that others do not and user their insights to inspire innovation.
• Integrative Thinking: They do not only rely on analytical processes ( those that produce either/or choices) but also exhibit
the ability to see all of the salient – and sometimes contradictory – aspects of a confounding problem and create novel
solutions on existing alternatives.
• Optimism: They assume that no matter how challenging the constraints of a given problem, at least one potential solution
is better than existing alternatives.
• Experimentalism: Significant innovations don’t come from incremental tweaks. Design thinkers pose questions and explore
constraints in creative ways that progress in entirely new directions.
Source: Tim Brown's article on Design Thinking in the Harvard Business Review
Human Centered Business and value
maximization for people is only possible if there's
is not a short-term, but a primarily
At the moment it is very important in the world to focus on maximizing value for
people. It provides businesses where people are happier, more productive and are able
to achieve personal growth. But it also provides companies that want to challenge the
status quo to deliver the best possible value for their customers. Companies that create
a strong foundation and thereby contribute to more stable economies.
"The idea of Human Centered
Business is inspired by the work of
respected thinkers that all share the
human centered thinking."
For example the great work from Daniel Pink about what
motivates people in organizations. Tim Brown about design
thinking, the 'Golder Circle' of Simon Sinek, Dan Ariely on
behavioral economics, Joseph Pine on authenticity and
Alexander Osterwalder about business models. All inspired
thinkers who give us new perspectives and help us the
status quo to challenge.
Given the importance of the idea of Human Centered business to
grow, I find it valuable to receive your contribution. I would like to
invite everyone to contribute in any form whatsoever. Input for
this presentation, case studies, good stories for the blog
(www.humancenteredbusiness.com), every contribution is
valuable and welcome!
Robert van Geenhuizen
Stay inspired and follow the
latest great ideas, innovative
business models, videos,
presentations and challenges
of the status quo ...