Successful digital innovation puts humans center stage

Human-machine interaction

Forschungsfeld »Mensch-Technik-Interaktion«, Kind spielt mit Roboter
© Frank -

People use products and services only to the extent that these meet their needs and requirements and appeal to their capabilities. How well the offer actually corresponds to people’s wishes is something that can be determined by looking at their behavior: at reactions, at interactions but also at resistance to use.

This applies all the more to the digital products and services that are establishing themselves in our increasingly technological world: however great the advantages of digital solutions may seem – whether in production and logistics processes, health care, trade or the home – people still decide for themselves whether to accept the support and how to put it to use.

Humans as the decisive factor

We believe that digitization can expand and improve people’s scope for action and their quality of life – both in their leisure time and in their working environment. However, the only way to realize this vision is by developing technologies and digital solutions that focus on people; that qualify, motivate and involve them. This is what lets these technologies serve a clear purpose, makes them user-friendly and ensures that they take potential fears into account.


Taking individuals’ behavior into account  


The more qualified, motivated and involved humans are, the better. That is why we at the Fraunhofer SCS Working Group are researching the behavior of humans in their interaction with technology. When developing digital solutions, we put potential users center stage in order to counteract fears and resistance and to promote acceptance. In particular, we are dealing with the following topics and questions:

  • User-integrated development and evaluation: What can future users contribute to the development of digital solutions, and which methods can we use to efficiently evaluate the success or benefit?
  • User behavior, acceptance and adoption: Which factors influence the use of digital solutions, and how can intervention or nudging help change behavior?
  • Methods for user integration – behavioral data in offline scenarios: How can we evaluate human behavior during actual usage situations, which technologies can we use to record behavior, and how can we use behavioral data in innovation processes?

Our analyses in the area of human-machine interaction can be applied regardless of the industry, age or function of the user being observed. This might be an employee in a logistics warehouse where a digital picking system is to be introduced, or a doctor testing a prototype haptic-visual training system. Another example of our evaluation work is the use of robots in therapeutic settings, for instance to support the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. We also evaluate the behavioral feedback of visitors to our »JOSEPHS®« open innovation lab in downtown Nuremberg, Germany, where they develop and test products and services as co-creators.

How we are collecting data to put humans center stage

On the basis of social and economic science methods, we rely in particular on the combination of two types of data collection:

  • Subjective self-disclosure and experiments
  • Passive technology-based observation

Behavioral data refers to all types of data collected about individual behavior. It is generated by or in response to a customer engaging in economic decision-making behavior, say, or interacting with a technology. Customers can be either consumers, companies or individuals. By combining subjective assessment with objectively obtained information (in real time) – for example through emotion recognition, analyses of facial expressions and reactions, or web activities and consumer behavior – we create the basis for identifying opportunities and challenges with digital experiences and products or designing even more meaningful decision-making processes.

Find out more about Fraunhofer SCS


Success and added value thanks to data

Sustained success in a changing world: this is the vision of Fraunhofer SCS


Business units

Based on the insights from our fields of research, we devise concrete advisory services for specific sectors and client groups. Find out more about our range of services in the business units »Logistics, Transport and Mobility«, »Wholesale and B2B Markets«, »Digital Production« and »Smart Services«.


Scientific expertise in the reference process

The methodological expertise developed in our fields of research is informed by our specially developed Reference Process for Digital Transformation. Read about what this initiative means to us, and how we can use our expertise to comprehensively support companies.