Are you paying attention to Subjectivity in your Digital Journey?


As part of strategy development activity we ran, we wanted to perform impact analysis for the strategy on the different digital consumer personas ((check previous blog for the different digital consumer personas) with the target to agree on the key outcomes that this strategy should achieve per consumer persona and define the size of every consumer persona we target. We distributed the activity to different individuals with some overlap on either consumer personas or strategic objectives to ensure at least 2 individuals can look at one item from their perspective. After a week worth of efforts, we had a pulse check meeting to share the initial outputs and it turned out that the individuals had already different views and different results and perspectives.

Consumer Impact analysis information is abundant online and all information more or less refers to what I mentioned before however, after one week of activity, it made me think that there is a very important criterion that none of the models currently available has mentioned or touched upon: Subjectivity of Human Beings.

Subjectivity, in short, is the integration of the human’s perspective, feelings, beliefs and or desires in any aspect of experiences and/or activities.

Subjectivity has been a major concern in research and philosophy where one expects that outputs should be purely objective and free of subjectivity. However, time proved that subjectivity is inherited in human beings. Charles Darwin made it much clearer] in his book “The Selfish-Gene” and A.P. Cheater mentioned it eloquently in his book “Anthropologist at home”:

"We cannot rid ourselves of this subjectivity, nor should we wish to; but we ought, perhaps, to pay it very much more attention . . . ."

From my perspective, the above statement is remarkable and we should never forget the subjectivity in our internal & external Digital Consumers (majority of whom to date are human beings) and of course in ourselves in everything we do on a daily basis. However, as Alan Peshkin puts it:

"Beginning with the premise that subjectivity is inevitable, researchers should systematically seek out their subjectivity, not retrospectively when the data have been collected and the analysis is complete, but while their research is actively in progress. The purpose of doing so is to enable researchers to be aware of how their subjectivity may be shaping their inquiry and its outcomes."

Therefore, we should not fight against subjectivity but we should systematically seek it out. We should always add the element of subjectivity analysis at the beginning of our activity and also all through its lifetime. As Digital consumers, subjectivity is even way powerful to make or break your engagement as you have less physical interactions with digital consumers as you had in previous consumers to that can deduce and allow you to minimise the impact of subjectivity.

For your next 100 days, ensure to consistently incorporate in any analysis 3 simple steps:

  1. Identify who might support, deny, commit or resist the subjectivity in an activity or in your identified digital consumer persona; especially if it is a group work.

  2. Align, manage and communicate at early stages of the project/activity with those individuals/groups

  3. Ensure commitment and support for the activity before the start of the efforts.

After the 100 days, I believe you will have subjectivity consciously sought out and incorporated across most of your activities within your organisation which ultimately will benefit your internal and external Digital Consumers!!

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