Chris Hood, Beyond Technology: Customer-Centered Digital Innovation – 621


Chris Hood, Muddy Robot Games.

Our guest in this episode is Chris Hood, a digital strategist with a heart for innovation and a mind for technology. With a career spanning over 35 years, Chris has left a significant mark on the digital landscapes of TV, film, music, and video games. Through his book, “Customer Transformation,” and his consulting work, he’s helped organizations worldwide to navigate the complex interplay between technology and customer engagement.

In our engaging conversation, Chris delves deep into what it means to truly place the customer at the center of digital strategies. He challenges the status quo, advocating for a more empathetic approach to innovation, where technology serves to enhance rather than replace human connections.

Key points discussed include:

  • The risk of prioritizing technology over genuine customer needs and how it can lead to disconnection rather than engagement.
  • The importance of empathy in digital strategy, emphasizing the need to understand and address customer challenges genuinely.
  • Innovative approaches to leveraging technology that enhance rather than replace human connections, ensuring digital strategies remain grounded in genuine understanding and empathy.

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Embrace technology as a tool to enrich, not replace, your human connections. @chrishood1 on #Innovabuzz podcast Share on X

Show Notes from this episode with Chris Hood, Muddy Robot Games

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, businesses face the monumental task of connecting with customers in meaningful ways. As technology continues to advance, the risk of losing sight of the human element in digital interactions becomes more pronounced. It’s a challenge Chris Hood, an acclaimed digital strategist, passionately addresses, advocating for a shift toward more empathetic, customer-focused strategies.

The Pitfalls of Technology-First Approaches

The allure of the latest technology often leads businesses down a path where tools and platforms become the focal point, overshadowing the very people they aim to serve. Chris Hood’s experiences illuminate how such approaches can alienate customers, creating barriers rather than bridges. Through relatable anecdotes, he demonstrates that success lies not in the tools themselves but in how they are employed to enrich customer interactions.

Understanding the Customer Journey Beyond Transactions

Chris emphasizes the importance of viewing the customer journey as a comprehensive experience that extends far beyond simple transactions. He advocates for a holistic perspective, encouraging businesses to delve into the myriad ways customers interact with brands, from initial awareness through to post-purchase engagement. This approach requires a deep dive into the customer’s world, understanding their needs, frustrations, and desires at every touchpoint.

The Power of Empathy in Digital Strategy

At the heart of Chris Hood’s philosophy is the concept of empathy. By truly stepping into the shoes of their customers, businesses can gain invaluable insights that drive more effective and meaningful digital strategies. Empathy enables a genuine connection, fostering a sense of belonging and loyalty that technology alone cannot replicate.

Innovating with the Customer in Mind

Innovation, as Chris articulates, should not be about technology for technology’s sake but about solving real problems that customers face. He champions the idea of innovation as a means to address customer needs creatively and effectively. This approach has the power to transform businesses, propelling them ahead not just through novel technologies but through real, impactful solutions.

Leveraging Technology to Enhance, Not Replace, Human Connection

While acknowledging the potential of artificial intelligence and other digital tools, Chris warns against their overuse at the expense of human interaction. He argues for a balanced approach where technology enhances rather than replaces the human element, ensuring that digital strategies remain grounded in genuine connection and understanding.

Practical Steps Towards a Customer-Centric Digital Presence

Chris Hood offers practical advice for businesses looking to reorient their digital strategies around their customers. He suggests starting with simple yet profound questions that center on understanding the customer’s experience and identifying areas where technology can genuinely make a difference. This reflective process is crucial for developing strategies that truly resonate with customers on a human level.

The Future of Digital Strategy: Human-Centered Design

Looking ahead, Chris Hood envisions a future where digital strategies are increasingly guided by human-centered design principles. This paradigm shift places customers at the core of digital innovation, ensuring that technologies serve to enhance rather than detract from the human experience.

In embracing a customer-centric approach to digital strategy, businesses can forge deeper, more meaningful connections with their customers. Chris Hood’s insights remind us that at the end of the day, technology is a tool, but empathy and understanding are the true catalysts for transformation and growth.

Keep questioning and reassessing to ensure your digital efforts remain customer-focused. @chrishood1 on #Innovabuzz podcast Share on X

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round 

Here are Chris’ answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. No. 1 thing to be more innovative – Read, think, and ask questions. Understanding the world’s problems through reading can inspire innovative solutions.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Talk to a lot of people. Engaging with diverse perspectives can help refine and validate your ideas.
  3. Favourite resource – Legitimate written news and social media for micro-learning. Exploring a wide range of topics can spark creativity and innovation.
  4. Keep project/client on track – Utilize tools like spreadsheets and services like Confluence for documentation. Agile methods help adjust and meet expectations.
  5. Differentiate – Be authentic. Finding your unique voice and perspective can set you apart.


Chris encourages us to remember the customer is always first. Think about how you would feel as a customer and apply that understanding to your own business practices. This simple yet profound perspective shift towards viewing oneself as a customer can significantly enhance the effectiveness and empathy of your customer engagement strategies.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Chris by visiting his website. There, you’ll find his contact information along with access to his book, podcast, blog, and social media channels. Chris welcomes connections and discussions related to digital strategy and customer experience.



Cool Things About Chris

  1. Chris left a prominent position at Google to pursue coaching and consulting, choosing to follow his passion for helping organizations bridge the gap between technology and business strategy on his own terms.
  2. His nuanced perspective on the role of AI in banking and customer service, particularly the importance of balancing technological efficiency with human empathy, reflects a deep understanding of technology’s role in society.
  3. Chris’s enthusiasm for networking and making introductions shows he values community and connections beyond just business benefits. He actively seeks to create opportunities for others within his network, demonstrating a generous and collaborative spirit.
Regularly step into your customers' shoes to view your services from their perspective. @chrishood1 on #Innovabuzz podcast Share on X

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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