Ahead of his presentation at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in Hong Kong this October 19-20, we spoke to Boz Zou, the CEO at Thingyfy.
Boz Zou brings his wealth of knowledge in user experience (UX) to Thingyfy, a game-changing platform that puts the power of next-generation manufacturing technologies into the hands of makers around the world. Over the years, he has worked for the likes of Citibank, Scotiabank, Manulife, Fidelity, AMEX, Nissan/Infiniti, Molson Coors, Ikea, Toshiba, Microsoft, Unilever, Best Buy, and Pfizer. Boz’s success lies in simplifying complex and disconnected digital customer experience using insight-driven, user-centered design, and (UCD) methods. These methods run across the entire ecosystem – from mobile, tablet, desktop and kiosk/ATM, to emerging channels, such as wearables and phygital interactions. Ultimately, this means he knows how to set a strategic direction for UX solutions that create desirable brand experiences. Prior to taking on the Chief Executive Officer position, Boz established an experience design studio called BOZ UX. Other notable gigs include leading the UX Team at JWT/Mirum/HeathWallace in Asia, heading up the strategic team at Critical Mass, as well as at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, in Canada.
How did you get started in your career?
I came from an HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) background, which naturally landed me in the field of UX (User Experience). The core of my practice is to design and develop innovative solutions to solve real human problems and to create extraordinary customer experiences, centred around deep human insights and business reality. I started out as an Information Architect and led the UX practices across various organizations in the digital industry. I’m currently serving as the CEO of Thingyfy, a 'digi-dustrial' (digital industrial) company that brings human centred innovations to the next generation of manufacturing.
What are the main elements of a successful innovation strategy, particularly in your field?
There are three key elements: people, people, people.
Firstly, its’s about your end-customers. Every innovation needs to be grounded on customer insights. Secondly, it’s about your peers and stakeholders. Innovation can only succeed if ideas fit your business landscape and reality. Last but not least, it’s about your staff. Innovation needs to make their life better, get them excited, and share the same values and visions with you as a leader.
Bearing in mind your experience in digital and mobile technologies, to what extent will the user experience and customer behaviour change in 2017?
UX (User Experience) and customer behaviour have been the driving force of innovation for over a decade. However, many large organizations, especially in the traditional sectors, such as the financial services industry and manufacturing - businesses are beginning to realize the importance of customer centricity. This will completely change how the industries are operating and re-shaping themselves. So 2017 will be a very exciting year when we will see how most of the banks and insurance companies will start out their own UX/CX departments, hiring their ‘Chief Customer Officers’ or ‘Chief Experience Officers’. The manufacturing industry will follow suit in 2018-2020.
How can cloud solutions help companies to reveal their potential and understand consumers?
Everything needs to move to the cloud now. At Thingyfy, we are a cloud based company. All our data-driven services and manufacturing operations are now in the cloud for a few simple reasons: scalability, reliability, and efficiency. By deploying big data strategy and artificial intelligence, we are able to filter through the sea of seemingly unrelated events to gain insights, find relevance, and provide more added value to our customers.
What impact does Big Data have on product development and innovation delivery?
Big data will change everything. It gives an unprecedented empowerment to makers and innovators, and also the ability to gain market insights, connect with the whole ecosystem of innovators, and develop ideas in a much faster and agile fashion. More importantly, Big data and AI-assisted technologies allow innovators to test their ideas before they are even fully developed, allowing a more predictable success in the process of development and delivery.
What are you going to be discussing in your presentation?
I will be discussing the impact of UX, Big Data/Cloud based technologies on manufacturing. Industry 4.0 is making its way to the maker movement and we are standing at the crossroad of the new industrial revolution. My main focus of the talk will be on how all these key elements of innovation are driving the emergence of Thingyfy, one of the first game-changing industry 4.0 platforms in the world.
You can hear from Boz and other industry leaders at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit, taking place in Hong Kong this October 19-20.