The beginners guide to human-centricity

I was lucky enough to be invited back to speak with the members of AURA recently on a webinar about working more effectively with stakeholders.

We spoke about how an approach that starts by building empathy – seeing the world from stakeholders’ point of view – leads to better outcomes. And we talked about the human qualities of empathy, boldness and curiosity being critical to making an impact within an organisation.

AURA members can watch the webinar and see the slides here.

I’m often surprised at how reticent researchers are to ask direct questions of the exec team. The best bit of advice I ever got was "Go ask the CEO what is top of his/her priorities and then act upon it".

Tom Kerr, Treasurer of AURA, speaking during our recent webinar

This idea of starting people-first is central to what we call human-centricity and it applies across all of our work.

The core of what Incite does for clients is combining human understanding and commercial acumen. We help uncover insights, activate them in teams’ plans and embed them in business strategy. This requires critical thinking, technical skill and rigour as table-stakes.

But a people-first, human-centric approach improves every aspect of this.

That’s obvious as it applies to insights. But as we discussed with AURA, a people-first approach to how we work with teams and business owners to galvanise them to action is no less important. This is what unlocks the value in the work we do by helping businesses to act on it.

So today I’m going to share a simple way to get started, using a mnemonic that captures five important aspects of this philosophy.

To be more HUMAN your approach should be:


See the whole person – their context, agenda, their real life outside your encounter with them.


Bringing your knowledge and experience of what it is to be human into your thinking and actions – by considering societal context, culture, behavioural biases and the diversity of experience.


Recognise and manage the needs and dynamics between all the people in the process – stakeholders, external partners, senior sponsors, and the people actually being asked to implement the work. And be aware of, and try to minimise, self-orientation.


Action is driven by emotion – think about injecting energy and creating human connection. Be passionate!


Look for fresh perspectives and new approaches.

Human-centricity helps uncover richer insights, galvanise teams to action and develop strategies that lead to profitable growth. Get in touch to find out how we can help.