Innovations are often associated with projects, strategies and technologies, i.e. ‘the hard stuff’. In the future, however, more and more companies will realise that if they are to get into the minds (and wallets) of customers they cannot ignore ‘the soft stuff’. Emotions are bursting out and they come in many guises. Not only are they featuring increasingly in customer behaviour and employee management, they are also infiltrating technologies and getting into products.
In their search for new products and services that are meaningful in customers’ lives firms are already giving more and more thought to how users’ emotional experiences affect their purchasing decisions and product use. The big question for the future will be how to manage these emotions. How can they trigger, monitor and influence customers’ emotional experiences? Techniques such as emotional mapping and customer experience management will have a place in the basic tool box of marketers, whereas product developers will devote more and more time and effort to emotion-based architecture and emotion-driven design.
Emotions are an inherent component of social behaviour, and thus we could claim that every organisation, whether traditional, network or virtual, is an emotional space. Their influence is likely to be particularly strong on behaviour when people faced with a complex task are in need of extensive information processing, which is often the case in innovation development. Those involved are often bombarded with information characterised by uncertainty and ambiguity, and from this they have to make decisions that chart the course of their development project. In the future, with tighter deadlines and increasing stress, individuals will be required to understand and to manage their emotions. Given the increasingly global availability of talent, expertise and knowledge, the burning question facing managers will be how to recruit, commit and manage increasingly diverse and mobile employees, individuals who are seeking goal fulfilment and want to have fun along the way. Consequently, emotional intelligence is emerging as a critical factor in innovation management.
Firms trying to develop something genuinely new are focusing more on intelligent products that can communicate with their environment, make decisions and autonomously adapt to changing circumstances. However, one might ask whether intelligence without emotion is possible. It has been acknowledged that emotions help humans to make decisions and to act in unfamiliar circumstances. Similarly, products endowed with emotions will be able to experiment and learn. Thus, if the idea is to create truly intelligent products that are capable of carrying through complex real-world tasks, they should be emotional: artificial intelligence requires artificial emotions. Emotional robots are already in the pipeline. Their path from the cradle to the community may be long, but it is inevitable. Their emergence will bring new challenges. How would one engage in social interaction with machines that have feelings, and ensure the effective control and ethical treatment of these sensitive creatures?
In sum, so far emotions have been an untapped resource in innovative organisations. In the future they will play an increasingly strong role in various areas of business life. Now is the time for firms to decide whether to treat them as a threat or an opportunity. Whatever they do - they cannot take the emotion out of their reactions!
* Please provide your photo as a jpg attachment to the contribution, for the quality reasons.
** If you belong to more than one affiliation or you have more than one occupation, please provide the primary one, for the reasons of word count and style of the book.
*** The area you indicate (for instance, discontinuous or product innovations or innovation management, etc.) will be linked with the index information providing the readers with the focus you concentrate on in your panorama of the Future of Innovation. If you have several areas of interest, please provide no more than two.
**** Please give your statement on the future of innovation. You have up to 500 words to state your view on the future of innovation whatever comes to your mind.
Submit your page by December 20, 2008. For further details please see FAQs info or feel free to contact the editors via firstname.lastname@example.org.