Does Your Business Compete on Human Values? (Article #2)

By Mark Dancer


Hello Innovators!

Thank you for checking out our second article on Rebooting the Real World. Our work is about exploring and encouraging human-centric innovations. Today, traditional businesses must compete in the virtual world, but the most potent and differentiated customer experiences will be about doing business as humans for humans. And I’m about to explain why.

Essential Values for Human-Centric Innovation

Since publishing my new book, Innovate to Dominate: The 12th Edition in the Facing the Forces of Change® Series, countless conversations have reinforced that human values are essential for innovating on human needs. The three human values that stand out to me are:

  1. Localness — traditional businesses have not forcefully redefined the value of “being local” in the digital age. Customers are comfortable (and may prefer) shopping, sourcing, and solving problems online or on the phone. If traditional businesses cannot define the essential value of localness for themselves, there is zero chance that customers will do so for them.
  2. Community — enabled by artificial intelligence, digital marketing techniques provide addictive tools for activating or triggering demand but do nothing to build a human sense of loyalty. In the real world, loyalty is about shared commitments and a willingness to help. Real-world success requires going beyond targeting segments to serving communities.
  3. Data and connectivity — modern businesses, and the value chains that serve them, are increasingly running on data as connected enterprises. But to what end? Customers don’t care if your business effectively generates leads, drives operational efficiencies, or earns more profits than a competitor. Digital transformation without human-centric innovation will lose the battle for customer hearts and minds.

In Search of HUMAN Excellence

When a business lacks human values, the path to ruin is clear; the culture becomes disconnected from the human needs of customers. Empathy erodes as a business skill. A business is no longer doing what it takes to win in the real world.

We are searching for stories about winning on the human frontier. If you have one, or can point us in the right direction, please add a comment to this article or send Mark Dancer an InMail via LinkedIn. We will report our progress in future articles.

Looking forward to our journey together,


This content was originally posted on Distributing Ideas, The NAW Blog. There, you will find a complete collection of posts as a Fellow for the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence, as well as perspectives from a wide range of distribution experts and thought leaders. Click here.


Mark Dancer

NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow

Mark Dancer founded the Network for Business Innovation to drive awareness, advocacy and excellence for B2B innovation, and to enable an exchange of ideas between leaders on business transformation, technology adoption, social impact and community engagement. For more than 30 years, Mark has worked with leading companies to achieve go-to-market excellence across a wide range of industries in developed and emerging markets.