We’re living in a world of constant connections where customers, consumers and citizens have access to information, products, services and experiences anytime, anywhere. The result is that they are tremendously empowered with more information and choice than ever before. They have higher expectations for experiences that deliver greater value, better outcomes and help them achieve their goals.
The idea of delivering better outcomes often referred to as the Outcome Economy is an idea that when people buy things, they want an outcome rather than a product. American economist and Harvard Business School professor, Theodore Leavitt, summed it up best when he said: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”
Although the concept has been around for some time, delivering better outcomes to digitally savvy customers requires new technologies and new ways of thinking. You cannot provide desired outcomes to people unless you know the outcomes they want and you have the technology and data access needed to deliver those outcomes.
What is needed are technologies that gather your customer intelligence, turn it into customer insight, and help you make better decisions. And new ways of thinking that merge technologies in new ways to both keep up with existing customer needs and anticipate new ones.
What does all this mean for smart cities? Seeta Hariharan, General Manager, Digital Software & Solutions, Tata Consultancy Services, described the situation well in the article, Why citizens should be the digital heartbeat of every smart city.
In the context of the Outcome Economy “the goal of smart cities is to help citizens take advantage of the positive outcomes they’ve grown accustomed to experiencing as consumers across their unified digital and physical worlds.
Consider Airb2b. They’re not just selling rooms for rent. They’re offering richer, more satisfying and personalized travel experiences – such as violin making in Paris or hunting for truffles in Tuscany. Through experiences with Airb2b, consumers interact with multiple brands that comprise an ecosystem of value within easy reach.
To survive and thrive, cities need to reach further, too.
Around the world, there’s an influx of smart city technology in urban environments – public transportation, utilities, parks, arenas and recreational spaces – with much more planned. So why can’t citizens get the same great experiences from their city that they do from their favorite consumer brands?”
The answer is, they can. And many smart cities are already moving in that direction. The cities who will thrive in the Outcome Economy are the ones who as Seeta Hariharan writes, ‘assume the role of savvy marketer: capturing insights from diverse data sources, analyzing them in real time, and constructing highly-personalized offers and opportunities as part of a larger ecosystem of value that citizens welcome and expect.