Holistic Digital Thinking – How to think big and find new solutions

As a team of digital all-rounders with skills across many facets of the digital world, we have a unique perspective in that we can view digital solutions holistically.

What on Earth do we mean by holistic, and why is it important? Let me explain.

Since the enlightenment, branches of knowledge have split and hyper-focused, getting more and more particular and specialised. A biologist will be expertly trained in their discipline but may have no idea what is going on with cutting-edge physics unless they take a personal interest. Hyper specialisation can lead to limited thinking and blind spots since entire fields are not considered when developing theories or solutions.

Enter the holistic approach. What exactly do we mean by holistic? The term was coined by South American philosopher, military leader and statesman, Jan Smits, in 1926.

Originally Smits defined the term with regards to nature’s tendency to produce wholes from the ordered grouping of unit structures. However, the term became commonly understood to mean that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

You’ve likely heard it in the context of health and wellness. A holistic approach to wellbeing is the way to go since all the bodies systems are interconnected so it makes sense to consider everything when an issue arises rather than limiting the potential solution to the localised source.

So how does this apply to digital?

Think of your business as a system, when something goes wrong or isn’t working as it should, we should consider all the variables that are in play to get back to full health.

Let’s take a new product you have launched that isn’t performing as you expected. You could take a specialised approach. You could try to use a paid marketing expert to target more and more of a niche audience who might want to buy your product. This may result in ad-spend that isn’t used cost-effectively since there are other aspects of the product that haven’t been considered that are under-performing.

If we look at this problem holistically we should consider:

Is the landing page as effective as it could be? This encompasses SEO, copywriting, marketing and development.
Is the design appealing and does it function in communicating my new product? This encompasses design, marketing, psychology and colour theory.
Is the price point correct? This encompasses business, market research, and competitor research.
Could I be reaching my audience more effectively? This encompasses digital strategy through social media marketing, video and online marketing.
Should I be marketing in this way? This encompasses PR, digital strategy, copywriting, marketing, psychology, and social.

When we consider all the systems and interconnected services and how we can optimise these to serve the overarching goal, the results speak for themselves. Thinking holistically can unlock new strategies and ultimately, new solutions.