Replacing choice with guidance

Replacing choice with guidance

Choice , I hear you cry, is a fundamental human right. That’s not quite right; more accurately it’s a value that underpins our economic system. It gets equated with freedom, but specifically means ‘freedom to choose ’. It needs to be redefined to be relevant to 21st century.

So why is choice so important. Simple answer is because there is so much stuff available. Products and services are created with little or no involvement from specific individuals, who then need to be targeted by marketing and advertising campaigns to pique their interest in purchasing or using something. Obviously, if an individual has had no involvement they are under no obligation to select it.

We must be able to make decisions ourselves from the full range of available options. We must have the final say on choice, and have that enshrined in all our interactions with external entities.

But – our age is determined by data, AI and, most importantly here, personalisation. By its very definition, personalisation works by reducing the need for individuals to have to make as many choices in their day-to-day lives
Reduces the chances of irrelevance in the options it presents an individual with.

The way we do things at the moment is the reverse of this. Say someone buys a black dress from a retail site, they then visit another looking for black shoes to match it. But it shows them red shoes, because that was what they searched for previously. That has become irrelevant personalisation in the interim.

So personalisation isn’t the end of choice – it’s not conducive with restrictiveness, saying you can’t turn left or are not allowed to wear that shirt today. It is concerned with knowing and understanding what an individual would benefit from in any given context. The end-user, formerly consumer, still exercises choice in everything that they decide to do and always will.

The purpose of business is to guide them toward the products and services that they need to undertake whatever activity it is that they choose to focus on. It is this shift toward a relationship based on reciprocal guidance that reduces the importance of choice as a core virtue under a system based on information.

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