Here’s to the past, but now it’s time to learn and unlearn toward the future

How we measure future success is based on yesterday’s understanding of what success meant. It was a different time. The experiences that many deliver today are based on standards of the past and what was acceptable to a preceding generation of customers. People have changed and continue to do so. We simply can’t imagine new possibilities if we can’t see, feel, hear, sense, people as they advance. Otherwise, our ideas, no matter how creative, brilliant, bold, will always be rooted in our interpretation of a world that once was… The only way to design the experiences of the future, that matter to people as they evolve, is to let go of your assumptions, conventions and beliefs and embrace the unknown…embrace a new center of being and reference. Then and only then, will you have the ability to plug into inputs that help you shape tomorrow’s standards for success.

Brian Solis

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Here’s to the past, but now it’s time to learn and unlearn toward the future

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How we measure future success is based on yesterday’s understanding of what success meant. It was a different time. The experiences that many deliver today are based on standards of the past and what was acceptable to a preceding generation of customers. People have changed and continue to do so. We simply can’t imagine new possibilities if we can’t see, feel, hear, sense, people as they advance. Otherwise, our ideas, no matter how creative, brilliant, bold, will always be rooted in our interpretation of a world that once was… The only way to design the experiences of the future, that matter to people as they evolve, is to let go of your assumptions,
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The Biggest Mistakes Companies Make in Digital Transformation and Innovation

Jeff Ashcroft is a dear friend of mine. He’s the host of the popular #MMChat on Twitter every week where he hosts some of the most progressive conversational streams on business modernization and innovation.

Recently, he invited me to share my the story behind my latest research, “The Digital Change Agent’s Manifesto: How the People Behind Digital Transformation Lead Change From Within.” In a flurry of 140-280 character questions and answers, I set out to help “change agents” understand not only are they not alone but they’re also the champions of tomorrow’s leadership. You can follow the conversation as a Twitter Moment complete with imagery and GIFs and commentary from all participants. I’ve also included the direct Q&A below. I hope this helps you… Q1: You’ve been a leading voice in digital transformation and corporate innovation for years now. What have you learned in your experience to date?
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Future digital banking trends that apply to almost any consumer-facing business

Each year, my friend Jim Marous assembles some of the industry’s most interesting perspectives on retail banking trends and predictions for the year ahead. I was invited back to share my thoughts (thank you Jim!) Although, looking back, I still stand by my ideas from the previous two years. I wanted to share the highlights from the report and also my contributions to this year’s list of trends/predictions. I also included ideas from previous years to help financial executives see the bigger picture.

Top 10 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions for 2018

Top Strategic Retail Banking Priorities for 2018

Customer experience is driving digital transformation. But, retail banking isn’t alone in this. All customer experiences in every industry need an upgrade and modernization to compete for “Generation-C.
“All banks must prioritize UX, design thinking and experience architecture to compete for the future right now. This is a
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Digital Transformation – Rewriting the Rules of Business

We live in an era of digital Darwinism. As customer expectations evolve and move toward personalized experiences and beyond transactions, companies in every industry must focus digital transformation on not only digital, but also people, purpose, and relevance. Digital transformation has become an absolute must-have to secure future growth, improve customer experience and loyalty as well as operational efficiency. Along with it, digital transformation also represents an opportunity to rewrite the rules of business? I got to spend some time with Kofax and CMO Grant Johnson in Nashville recently at the company’s Inspire event for customers and employees. We  had the pleasure of sharing our vision for the future and what it takes to get there. After each of our respective presentations, we met up again, this time in a private room, to talk about the future of digital transformation, customer experience, and technology. Thankfully there were cameras and someone taking
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Digital Transformation – Rewriting the Rules of Business

We live in an era of digital Darwinism. As customer expectations evolve and move toward personalized experiences and beyond transactions, companies in every industry must focus digital transformation on not only digital, but also people, purpose, and relevance. Digital transformation has become an absolute must-have to secure future growth, improve customer experience and loyalty as well as operational efficiency. Along with it, digital transformation also represents an opportunity to rewrite the rules of business? I got to spend some time with Kofax and CMO Grant Johnson in Nashville recently at the company’s Inspire event for customers and employees. We  had the pleasure of sharing our vision for the future and what it takes to get there. After each of our respective presentations, we met up again, this time in a private room, to talk about the future of digital transformation, customer experience, and technology. Thankfully there were cameras and someone taking
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A Real-Time Conversation About AI and the Future of Work

   I recently had one of the most fast-paced, fun and provocative conversations I had in a while. It wasn’t something that happened in IRL. Instead, this real-time conversation took place on Twitter.  Organized by Cognizant and Pega prior to #Pegaworld2017, I joined Ben Pring, author of What To Do When Machines do Everything as well as Cogizant and Pega executives, to explore the unfolding reality of  AI and its role in the future of work and more importantly, the overall impact on the future of business. Seriously. This was an action-packed event. While there were only 8 questions, the answers from Ben, me, along with those from Cognizant, Pega and all who participated, were as fast and furious as they were deep and meaningful. I wanted to share at least my stream with you. I also included the full Twitter Moments below. I would love to hear your
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Crossing Over to the Darkside of Digital and Seeing the Light

“Yesterday is not tomorrow; we can’t innovate, we can’t do new things by opening old doors.” Paul Miller spends a lot of time thinking about the future of work. In fact, he wrote a book on the subject, “The Digital Renaissance of Work: Delivering digital workplaces fit for the future.” I greatly respect Paul’s work and I’ve been lucky to know him for quite some time now. In fact, I was honored to write the foreword to his book. Following that, Paul was my guest on a pilot podcast, “DigitalOutliers,” where we examined the need and means to bring digital literacy into the C-Suite. Some time has passed since then, but we recently reconvened as part of Paul’s new podcast to explore a more philosophical discussion, the dark side of digital and how to shape its future. The episode, officially titled, “Brian Solis peers into the digital
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Innovation is a gift worth getting: Competing for the future starts with challenging business as usual

Every day when you get to the office, there is a surmountable volume of work that greets you. The list is usually pretty long, with calls to return, to do items stacked up, emails overflowing, meetings, marketing and sales planning to fill the pipeline. It’s all in a day’s work. But what if one day you woke up and noticed that the volume of work was notably less? I’m sure you’d be relieved for a bit. But then each day, you start to notice that the trend only continues. Your relief shifts to concern and eventually panic. “What’s happening!?,” you start asking. The answers reveal that your markets shifted because your visitors and your tourism stakeholders started to think and then act differently. While you were busy keeping up with your existing tourism plan and your annual campaign, your market inevitably evolved away from you. Sounds like a nightmare
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Las seis etapas de la transformación digital

el futuro es ahora… La transformación digital es una de las mayores tendencias que impulsan la evolución y modernización de las empresas en todo el mundo. En mis investigaciones, he llegado a definir la transformación digital como la realineación de o la nueva inversión en tecnología, modelos de negocio y procesos que impulsen un nuevo valor para los clientes y empleados, logrando así competir de manera más efectiva en una economía digital tan cambiante. Sin embargo, a lo largo de los años la transformación digital ha llegado a reflejar una serie de esfuerzos dispares que pretenden modernizar funciones clave en cuanto a cómo compiten las empresas en una economía digital. Dichas iniciativas no son mutuamente excluyentes ya que transcurren simultáneamente en toda la organización sin necesidad de recursos concertados o de liderazgo alguno.  Por ejemplo, el marketing invierte en nuevas tecnologías para lograr mayor efectividad en las conexiones con
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E-Commerce and Apps Pave the Way To The Future of Retail: Inside Amazon Go, A New Retail Experience

amazongo-e1480951426599 We’re a company of builders. Of pioneers. It’s our job to make bold bets, and we get our energy from inventing on behalf of customers. Here are just some of the innovations pioneered by Amazon, and we’re always looking for the next one. – Amazon Every industry is ripe for disruption. It’s what you do now that defines your future and legacy. One of the most exposed industries to disruption at the moment, among many, is the retail sector. From the internet of things (IoT) to sensors to beacons to displays to apps and everything in between, each new trend introduces new challenges and opportunities to compete. Technology trends however, do not solely define the future of retail. People count for everything. How they shop today versus how they want to and will shop in the future is the source of meaningful innovation. Technology changes. People evolve. That’s digital Darwinism at
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Marketing in the Selfish Economy

21657838679_540b0154bd_c The future of marketing is incredibly selfish. It has to be. We’re becoming a generation of accidental narcissists who want things our way, when and how we want it. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s just an inevitable effect of technology’s impact on our lives. It’s how marketing responds that counts. The key though is accept that to reach and engage a generation of narcissistic customers, the future of marketing has little to do with marketing at all¾at least in the traditional sense. The future is instead personal at scale and that starts with getting to know people and appreciating them for their differences and similarities. Technology has never been more human. The digital breadcrumbs that are left behind from devices, connections and engagement tell us more about people then ever before. The question is, are we paying attention? Welcome to the #EGOSYSTEM. With every new device,
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The Future of Retail: Stop Iterating and Start Innovating

www_onestop_com_images_news_wwd-062515_pdf The team at OneStop invited me to Los Angeles to speak to a wonderful group of digital marketers, etailer/retailer, search and commerce strategists.  Among the many things I’m studying and speaking about these days, the future of retail is fascinating to me personally and professionally. The future of retail isn’t just about new technology, the latest gadgets and all of the incredible startups that are pushing retail, commerce and everything else forward. It’s also shaped by connected/mobile customers who are more discerning, elusive and sophisticated. Here, experience is everything. The future of retail is about vision to see how everything is evolving, including human behavior and expectations, along with how people use tech, and also about how these things can re-imagine space online and in the real world to make retail relevant in a new world. Technology is everywhere. Customer evolution is constant. Ideas about how and capabilities to implement them
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CxOs Predicting the Future

Here’s a positive look at thought leadership. Thought leadership always fascinates me because everyone is a thought leader today (or at least they think they are). In an amazingly robust study by IBM among more than 5,000 CxOs, these high placed executives were asked what resources they used to learn about the future. Here is what they said: External thought leaders (55%) Customer feedback  (51%) Market research firms and analytics (50%) At the bottom of the list was traditional media, blogs and social media and companies in adjacent industries. I am not sure what to make of the fact that the media (traditional or social) is not providing these top executives with future-oriented perspectives and that only one-half of CxOs are relying on customers to imagine the future. But there it is. The post CxOs Predicting the Future appeared first on ReputationXchange.

How the Next Five Years Will Revolutionize Business

20141208233908-january-2015-franchise-500 Earlier in the year, I spent some time with Jason Ankeny. He was, at the time, writing an article for Entrepreneur on “the next five years” of business for the print edition. He assembled a pretty stellar cast to serve as his panel and I was more than excited to join in. Ankeny set up the discussion this way… The period between 2015 and 2020 is poised to redefine virtually every facet of how we live and work. It probably won’t bring jetpacks and hoverboards, but it will usher in other radical technologies, business models, customer experiences and even a new breed of entrepreneurs—a wave of so-called digital natives who think and act differently from every generation before them. Entrepreneur asked leading futurists and cultural anthropologists what this brave new world will be like, how it will evolve and what you need to know to thrive within it. I’ve included
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Pardon My Bluntness, The Future of Marketing is Screwed…But It Doesn’t Have To Be

shutterstock_245690386 The Adobe Summit in London is a pretty special event to me. A big part of it of course has to do with its location. I adore London and all of my friends, and those I’ve yet to meet, make the trip special each time. The other reason is that Adobe’s platform reaches EMEA and thus helps marketers who are pushing for change on a global scale. To prepare for the event, the team at CMO.com asked me to share my thoughts on the state and future of marketing. Maybe it was because the call took place at 6 a.m. my time or maybe I was just in the mood to share the truth, warts and all. Either way, here is the full interview. I hope it helps you… Solis: Pardon my bluntness, but the future of marketing is screwed. The innovation in technology and the socialisation of media is becoming pervasive, but it’s making it easy to do all of the things wrong that have been part of the problem of marketing for years; scale and mass broadcasting and the dumbing down of strategies. Marketers are putting all their resources against what were traditionally the big things: big commercials, big campaigns, celebrity endorsements. We’re still taking legacy thinking and outdated value systems and applying them to this new world of innovation. The real future of marketing starts with putting your hands up and walking away for a minute. With understanding how technology has affected behaviour and how that behaviour has affected expectations and values and decision-making. And when you understand what is different today – all this amazing technology, all the data you can leverage – you recognise the future of marketing starts with an entirely new philosophy about what marketing should or could be. Marketing becomes a true reflection of an always-on society by recognising that it’s not a department. Marketing is now a way of business. And when I use the word marketing, I’m talking about engagement, understanding who the customer is, how they’re different than customers before, what the context of their engagement is. Then building a digital infrastructure, and a complementary real-world infrastructure, to deliver an entirely new and meaningful experience. CBVeIRxUcAAVEXV.png_large CMO.com: How do you start?
Solis: The biggest challenge is not in the understanding or expertise associated with new technology. We can learn that. The biggest problem is our inability to recognise that the experience we have today is not the experience we need going forward. We have to swallow our pride and recognise that, in order to compete for the future, we’ve got to become a student again. That’s the place I consistently see where no one wants to start. It’s Tolstoy’s quote about how we all talk of change but none of us talk about changing ourselves. An easier way to answer your question is that you start by understanding the digital customer experience. What does it look like? What are the touch points? What are the screens that
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Stumbling Into the Wearable Media Era

The near future of media is wearable, at least if you watched any of the news coming out of CES. But in the short term, the market will continue experiencing an awkward phase befitting a medium that is not ready for prime time. Consider the intrusionary nature of Google “Glassholes“, or the many awkward apps developed for bulky and somewhat unfashionable smart watches. The world is stumbling into the wearable media era. Does that mean content creators should ignore the medium for now? Maybe, but they will also risk losing marketshare to early adopters. What to do about wearables was a primary conversation point for a DC Ad Club presentation (see below) I gave at the Newseum this morning.
There are some clear indicators about what will work with wearable media. But first, let’s talk about the square peg in a round hole syndrome. Just because you can create an app or put a sensor into something wearable or portable doesn’t make it a hit. Further, what works on another medium, specifically smartphones and tablets doesn’t make for a wearable hit. Glass showed us that [obvious] wearable cameras are an intrusion. People know they are always under the watch of a surveillance camera. Yet, having a wearable camera thrust upon them created animosity.
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Crossing the Experience Divide: Creating positive, lasting experiences is a crucial mandate for any brand

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The Technology of Us

I’ve been in the technology business for a long time and what I can tell you is this: Technology enables us to invent new products and services at rates that humans never before experienced. Whatever the next big thing is in tech doesn’t matter as much as the fact that anyone today has the power to disrupt entire industries with a single, smart idea. In fact, resilient companies, whether they’re startups or they merely acting like one, will intentionally break their business models in anticipation of what customers want and need. Look at the “sharing economy” — companies like Uber, Airbnb, TaskRabbit and other services that allow people to rent or share their cars, homes or skills has taken off because technology empowered a few upstarts to take on the taxicab and hotel industries. In fact, mobile, social and geo-location technology have made using, renting or borrowing these products and services as easy as the Internet once made buying them. Yet it’s more than just an idea driving all that — evolving consumer values and aspirations have as much to do with this phenomenon as technology. So what does the rise of the sharing economy say about businesses today? That there is a massive disconnect between what consumers want and what companies are delivering. That anyone with vision and empathy can upend entire industries. That’s one reason why I believe we’re on the cusp of a new wave of rapid creative destruction in business unlike anything we’ve seen before — a form of Digital Darwinism not unlike the forces that have shaped human evolution. The companies that emerge from this tumult won’t be the “living organisms” that businesses have been called — ones that simply learn, adapt and eventually die. Instead of fiercely protecting their business models, they will tear them down and build new ones. This is creative destruction as an intentional strategy, rather than creative destruction as it has long been defined — as an economic threat. To succeed means thinking about customers differently, as groups of connected people and not simply demographics. It requires a level of leadership that can see something others don’t or find inspiration in what others feel or hope to feel. These traits — not the technology itself — are what will define the most resilient companies in the years to come.
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The Future of Everything? It’s About People Connecting with People

shutterstock_207551830 These last few years have been an interesting ride. As fun as it has been, it is the next few years that will be the most telling and also transformative if all goes according to plan. As quickly as time flies, it’s important not to lose sight of the things that remind us of why we’re on this path together. I recently stumbled across a conversation with Eric Jacobson in which I shared what was driving me at the time…and for that matter, is still very much the core of much of my work today. I hope this helps you in your endeavors… Question:
When you consider all the Business-To-Consumer (B2C) companies in the U.S., what percentage of them are practicing what you are preaching — creating experiences as you describe in your book WTF? Solis:
Most businesses are merely reacting to the rapid evolution of technology rather than trying to create engaged customer experiences throughout the life-cycle. In a world where screens and real-life moments define the impressions and resulting actions of customers, businesses need to rethink their approach. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart watches, Google Glass et al., it’s not slowing down. Technology and innovation is only accelerating. ForgeRock_10-14v2_pptx This isn’t a time to react.
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