1. Users in the Networked Society – participating and active

Users in the Networked Society – participating and active

Regardless of what industry you work in, the transformation we are in right now is going to hit you, in some industries sooner than others. But irrespective of industry, there are a set of assets that will be common building blocks for the future of business in the Networked Society.

The first asset is the user (which could be a student, a patient, a citizen, a customer, etc.). In the old industrial logic, the user was the endpoint of a value chain, and still today many businesses’ only interaction with their users is an invoice. This is going to change, and for progressive businesses and organizations it already has changed. When Iceland adopted a new constitution a couple of years ago, they crowdsourced the task, and every citizen was able to participate in formulating the text (I wrote about this in an earlier blog post).


Another example from the public sector is “FixMyStreet,” which is a service in the UK that connects citizens with city authorities, allowing them to report various street problems that need to be fixed.

In the private sector, new businesses like Airbnb and Spotify have built in a natural interaction with their users, which then becomes important for value creation. They are active contributors of, for example, playlists, reviews, data, feedback and ratings, among other things. So, we are moving away from a world defined by hierarchy and linear thinking into a new culture defined by collaboration and participation.

As users become actively involved in contributing knowledge to networks, products and services will become more relevant, as developers benefit from new insights. This results in co-created experiences, and, as a result, users are an increasingly vital asset for any public or private organization.

This is the second post in a six-part series based on the Ericsson white paper titled Understanding the Networked Society – new logics for an age of empowerment. You can read the introductory post in the series here.

Written by Mikael Eriksson Björling

Mikael is Senior Lead Designer at Ericsson UX Lab and an Ericsson Evangelist. He was previously Director at the Networked Society Lab. His specialty is in understanding how consumer behavior, emerging technologies and new industry logics are shaping the future society and in the intersection of these areas build great user experiences. Mikael believes that with the ongoing digital transformation we have a great opportunity to shape a better world. Mikael joined Ericsson in 1998 and is based in Stockholm. You can engage with him on Twitter at: @mikaeleb or at LinkedIn.


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