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Humanising technology
Innovation|Author Michael Weeding
27 March 2018

Technology’s role is to help deliver the customer experience, not create it. That’s the philosophy I shared with my peers at the recent Adtech digital conference in Sydney.

The role of technology in innovation is a little blurry. And it’s a common pitfall for many organisations to let technology drive the creative process.

Everyday we’re presented with new technology, allowing us to drive deeper engagement with customers, to acquire more customers and to learn more about them. Technology also allows us to reduce cost and generate other efficiencies. 

But ultimately, if the technology is not anchored to a clear organisational and human purpose, its full capability won’t be realised.

In short, design, innovation and technology must be governed by the organisation’s purpose.

The point is well illustrated at AMP.

As one of Australia’s oldest companies, AMP has been a pioneer in helping Australians live life with dignity through financial security. The phrase ‘a sure friend in uncertain times’ is written across our building in Circular Quay.

Our purpose to help Australians is clear, and has essentially remained unchanged since the company was founded in 1849.

I’m convinced that it’s this clear purpose which has allowed us to be one of the great innovators in Australia’s financial services industry.

"In short, design, innovation and technology must be governed by the organisation’s purpose."

In 1885, long before the introduction of compulsory superannuation, AMP developed one of Australia’s first superannuation schemes as an incentive for its staff members. We subsequently started offering superannuation to the private sector in 1909.  We also created new ways to provide Australians living in regional and remote areas with access to life insurance in the early 1900s by expanding our workforce to travel door to door across the country.

We’re extremely proud of how our pioneering spirit has benefited millions of Australians over the last 170 years. And it’s our genuine purpose to help people that led to these innovations.

As a designer, having this clear purpose is precious – it’s what continues to guide our design philosophy at AMP.

Our new Goals 360 advice experience is a recent example. With our purpose firmly in mind, we used human-centred design to understand what it was our customers wanted. The role of technology has been instrumental in delivering a highly contemporary and unique advice experience. We’re confident it will transform the financial advice industry.

Technology is important, but without a human purpose, we’ll fall short of what’s possible.


Michael Weeding is AMP's Director, Digital & Design.  

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