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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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 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 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


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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Splendida Notizia! What’s the Future of Business is Now Available in Italy

#WTF is going on in Italy? The future of business is turning a new page…that’s what. I’m excited to announce that What’s the Future of Business: Changing the way businesses create experiences is now available in Italy (in Italian). To celebrate the launch, I spent some time with Luca Conti, new media strategist, Italian blogger, journalist, and author of several books on social media. In our discussion, we explored the future of business and why the time is now for leadership to rise from the middle. I wanted to share this discussion with you here…

If in Doubt…Begin

What would you suggest to a family-sized medium business in Italy? How could they embrace this positive change? Where should they start from? Disruptive technology is just that…it’s disruptive. Every so often, something new comes around and completely upsets the balance. Now, innovation is part of our society and it’s only accelerating. The key to success is to simply accept that this is the end of business as usual. The way that things were done only evolve to accommodate the expectations and preferences of evolved customers and employees. And, that’s where we begin. We need to understand what’s changing so that we can learn and adapt. This isn’t anything to fear nor is it something that we should discount. But ignoring how technology is affecting customer or employee behavior isn’t an option. In the end, that’s what this is about…behavior. What’s different about your connected customers over your traditional customers? How are they using technology to make decisions? What do they search for? What do they ask? Where do they go? Most importantly…what comes back in their search or what answers are given to their common questions? Answering these questions makes change approachable because you can see and feel what’s different. Any impassioned business professional will realize that technology doesn’t present challenges or obstacles. The word change here is similar to saying improvement…improvement to chase new opportunities and grow your business.

On Digital Influence

Is this a key topic for consumer goods and big companies or it could interesting to leverage for SMB too? How could You manage it with only a few resources to spend on that? Digital influencers are those experts and authorities in any market that customers and prospects find when in search of information, direction, or validation. This is a bit different than advocates, which may or may not be customers, but share a passion for the company’s products, services or purpose. Regardless of the size of the business, it’s imperative for to learn who influences and advocates for your business and your competition. There are of course many services such as eCairn and Traackr that make it easy to identify who they are, what they talk about and where. But, this is a future that shares much with the past…relationships are everything. Getting to know them is just the beginning. Recognizing their work. Engaging them to learn more before you need something is also key. In a connected world where people trust others like them, finding influential people in networks where customers and prospects engage with one another will only help you learn more about expectations, challenges, and opportunities. More so, you’ll learn about the people whom others trust and how to build a relationship with them. Taking the time to learn and engage helps you expand your reach from one-to-one to one-to-one-to-many. Word of mouth is more powerful than ever before. I understand that time is limited, but you get out of relationships, whether in real life or online, what you put into them.

Generation C and The Connected Consumer

What about B2B companies? I believe we should address this topic from a P2P (people to people) point of view, what is Your opinion? One of the first things I often hear from b2b marketers and strategists is that all examples of new media are inherently b2c. They then venture to ask how new technologies apply to their world. It is for this reason that I begin referring b2b and b2c as simply p2p, people to people. That’s what this is about…people.  The question is how are your connected customers different than your traditional customers? Decision-making takes place online of course. Connected customers use different networks and tools to discover, engage, and share. This really is about journey mapping to uncover the new touch points, technologies and the behaviors that shift as a result. While the networks and apps may change, your customer’s journey is increasingly shifting from older touch points to new social and mobile communities.  It’s true for everything. The one thing that I’d also like to mention is that because everyone is becoming more connected, customers are changing. This is particular interesting for b2b companies as their customer’s customer may be changing faster than the value chain that is designed to serve them. In many ways this is an opportunity for b2b companies to help their business customers adapt to better serve their connected consumers (b2b2c)

The Story Behind The Book

You used a cool format, very visual, colorful and straight to the point. What’s the story behind the book? The book is a testament to the fact that technology is changing people’s behavior and we have to change along with it. I recently stumbled across a statistic that shows teenagers can only focus for six minutes while doing homework until they have to reach for a connected device to plug-in. How can I help businesses change if I can’t change myself? I’ve written many books but this is the first where I stepped back to approach the opportunity differently. Rather than publish a book the same old way with the same paper, shape, and font, I decided to study how connected consumers or Generation-C (connected) as I refer to them, read and share content online and on devices. What I learned is that multitasking is part of the experience now and that information can be presented on paper in a way that’s familiar, and appreciated, on digital devices. Essentially what I set out to answer is if we know consumer behavior is changing what would the ideal book look like to be accepted and valued in today’s digital lifestyle. When you start with a different question you get a different result. And, that’s the point. This is a time for innovation and reinvention. I partnered with my friends at Mekanism to create what is a digital UI in printed book form. We call it an analog app. It’s rich with visuals, infographics, and also cartoons that summarize each chapter drawn by my dear friend Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid). Also, each chapter includes a navigation bar to help readers easily jump from section to section. It’s also important that I share that as a write, I had to change how I write. Here, my sentences are presented in burst formats, similar to Tweets, to help connect with readers in a more dynamic way. It also makes the content shareable. Nothing is simplified however. It’s still a deep book. It’s just modernized to reflect how we interact with information now as a result of our connected lifestyle.

The State of Social Technology in USA (and the World)

I met Your partner Charlene Li in Rome a couple of years ago and she told me even USA companies have not fully embraced social technology inside their business. Are we still at the beginning of a new era? Why millions of people are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and online but companies still invest not enough on digital? Do we have a cultural problem or a generational one? The problem is purely philosophical. Social is part technology but it is what social unlocks and also empowers that is truly transformative. It’s a great equalizer. Social flattens markets and connects people to other people. As we become more connected we become more informed. With information comes power and empowerment. And with empowerment, consumers become more demanding. It’s not just generational however. This is about everyone who lives a connected lifestyle. Sure Millennials are digital natives. But everyday people who are over 40 who use a smartphone or a tablet or social networks and apps start to exhibit Millennial-like behaviors. Businesses must not only embrace the technology that their customers use they must understand how technology is affecting discovery, perception, decisions, and loyalty. Many companies think that the answer is digital. But digital is just a means to reach people. It’s how we change and evolve our philosophy to adapt to new expectations, behaviors and values to not just reach to markets, but to lead them in meaningful ways. That’s the future of business. This is a time for leaders…not managers. Photo credit: Ana-Maria Leonte

Pivot: The Total Digital Experience

Pivotcon___The_Total_Digital_Experience Pivot Conference in NYC in October is unique among events in that, each year, it shifts  focus to deeply reflect the needs of its community of senior business transformation executives from leading brands and organizations.  To make that happen, I serve as Pivot’s Executive Producer along with Pivot CEO, Mike Edelhart. For four years in a row, we’ve put our heads together to develop a story arc that covers the hottest, emergent trends, presented by the industry’s most engaging experts over the span of two days. They bring to life my work in digital transformation and the digital customer experience and Mike’s perspective as lead partner for the Social Starts investment fund. To celebrate the upcoming event next week, Mike and I got together to talk about the story behind this year’s Pivot. Mike – This is Mike Edelhart, the CEO of The Tomorrow Project, the producers of the Pivot Conference in New York, and I’m here with Brian Solis, executive producer of Pivot, author, partner of the Altimeter Group, and friend.  Hey Brian! Brian- Hey Mike, I can’t believe we are back at it again – it seems like yesterday we did the last Pivot Conference. Mike- I know, we’ve been at this now four times, I guess, and each time, at least in my experience (and I expect in yours) it’s been  a little different – and we do that on purpose – so  maybe that’s a good way to start. From your point of view, what do you think has made Pivot unique and what do you think makes it particularly unique this year? Brian- You know, the thing that I love about Pivot is it first starts with working with you, working as friends, it becomes a real personable conference.  We all go to these conferences to get smarter, to meet people and network. Then there are conferences like Pivot where you really start to feel a part of a community – part of a movement is probably a better way to describe it – and I think that’s what made Pivot really special for me and what keeps me coming back every year is that you can actually see progress in the themes and in the people we bring together and in the careers of those who advance who attend Pivot – we’re really pushing things forward and I feel a little proud to be a part of it. Pasted_Image_10_7_14__9_45_AM Mike- Yes, same here. We’ve talked about this since the very beginning of Pivot – the senior executive community we serve, the world that’s being transformed by social and mobile technology, keeps changing and we need to change with it and at least for me, one of the things about this year that’s  most exciting is the notion that we have a two day conference where each day is essentially a one-day event unto itself, trying to get our arms around the breadth of what’s  happening out there for the companies we serve now. We’ve all decided that the first day is about business transformation. What does business transformation mean for you? I know you’ve written about it.  When we say to folks: “come to Pivot on the first day – we’re doing business transformation” – what does that mean for you? Brian- There’s this way of doing business, the way that always been done – you look at the classics, the business models that we’ve been taught in school. But you have technology that has continued to evolve to the point where now the machine is an extension of the person. Everybody sort of jokes around that the next evolution of human beings is that everybody’s hands are going to be little bit longer so that they can accommodate texting and multitasking on one screen a lot more efficiently. In all seriousness, transformation starts to look at people first, it’s going back to the basics of just who are the people that we want to do business with? And why would they want to do to business with us? Who are the people that we want to work with us to do a better job and how do they want to work? This is the transformation – a much more human approach when we say “wow- those processes, those systems, those reward-mechanisms, those policies that we have, I mean everything is open to change. That’s what really inspires me. Agenda___Pivotcon Mike- I think that’s right.  I’ve sometimes described it as the companies that we work with are being compelled to reconfigure and redecorate the house whilst still living in it and that’s a significant challenge. We know Pivot – we’ve been doing it for a while – we know the community that comes to Pivot but obviously not everybody does. So, if somebody is listening to this or reading about this conversation, what kind of executive do you think will get the most value out of what we are going to be doing on Day 1 of Pivot, which by the way is the 16th of October; Pivot is going to be 16th and 17th at the NASDAQ this year, which is a pretty cool venue. Brian- I am really excited about that. I love the approach that we’re taking this year – we’ve always been a two day conference and it was always a lot for people to digest and, by breaking it up into two different groups, the first group I see really as the decision makers or the lead strategist. Anybody who really is looking for the vision and the inspiration to go back into their organization and lead from the top down – to bring the right people together to lead in new directions or to research new opportunities but to be able to do so with authority. I am truly curious to see how well that day evolves or unfolds because we’ve put together, as you know, a really incredible program for Day 1 because we really want to show those executives and decision makers what’s changing, how it’s changing, why it’s changing and then give people the full rounded story and the details necessary – but at a high level – so that they’re going to go back with “we are going to do this, or we need to know this and this and this” –  and that’s pretty interesting to me. Mike- I agree and we’ve talked a bit here about the fact we have two days and two different areas of focus, so we should probably talk about the second day as well which is going to be focused on where things stands now for big companies struggling to stay ahead of change related to marketing and influencing communication, and it gets me thinking back to that very first Pivot where all we cared about was Millennials –  “the kids won’t behave” – well, actually everybody is behaving differently; The rise of the social consumer in the second Pivot and then the question of social brand and social business in the third Pivot.   So, it leads to the natural question: What do you think the current state of social marketing is now? When we talk about social marketing at Pivot, where do you think we will be focusing our attention? Brian- Well, I hope to be focusing our attention on areas that really show the breadth of social impact because what it really does come down to, in my view, is that social has democratized information, democratized audiences, networks, markets and that’s only becoming more profound as every day passes. So, when we talk about social, what we’re talking about is this great equalizer and how do we look at everybody who is not behaving the way you think they’re behaving. One of the things that still surprises me, for example, is when a company says, “ok, the customers are different and technology is different, so what are we going to do?  Let’s map the customer journey so that we know where to make investments and prioritize those on a road map”. Yet they’re still making the same assumptions they’ve always made about their customers.  When we talk about social, it is exactly that – becoming part of the community, understanding your customer or your employee or your influencer or your detractor and where those touch points are. How do you use them for advances? So that you can become part of those communities and redefine what the journey is. Not what you think it is but what it should be and then make the investment not just in technology and road maps but also in processes. How should things be different? Do I really have to go through six different screens to be able to make a decision or a purchase because your process doesn’t work on the back end?  There is one company that I was working with that said “our best customers get the worst experience” and by that they meant that they had so many different product lines but none of those product lines act as one company – every product has its own company and none of those systems talked to one another. The whole idea of social, to me at least, and what I hope people will take away from that is to recognize that, in order to become relevant in any market or any community, you have to become part of it and that’s a philosophical switch as much as it’s a business and a technology investment. Pasted_Image_10_7_14__9_51_AM Mike- I agree completely. It’s all in the end about human beings and the fact that we can now see through analytics and emerging capabilities, the complexity that the variety of human experience make. So across this big arc of experience we are going to have at Pivot this year, I’m curious as to what part of the program are you most looking forward to being part of? Brian- There is a one part that I am really looking at and is that around the sharing aspect of the economy and how this is gathering a lot of momentum. The taxi medallion, for example, was always considered one of the best investments and there was a real interesting piece done out of Chicago that shows how that medallion is a great risk because of challenges like Uber, and we all tend to look at Uber and AirBnB as the most common examples of disruption in the sharing economy. But what we’re really going to look at, and what I am excited about, are two things, and – putting the share in the economy in the whole buzz around it aside – what is it that businesses need to do or understand about this disruption in order to still be relevant three or four years from now. That’s such a huge discussion. What are the psychological drivers for consumers as to why this stuff is even interesting to them. There’s another one too -  the whole idea of just the intelligent supply chain and democratization of the manufacturing process – where GE, for example, is  investing in 3-d printing of certain parts but they’re  also bringing the internet into things and turning parts into communication devices.  Those are the things I am really fascinated about because they really represent just two aspects of what the future of businesses looks like.  What are you looking at, Mike? Mike- What I call the aggregation of everything – the emergence of the impact of this upon the supply chain is really fascinating and I can’t wait to hear what guests say about it at Pivot this year.  At my end doing my job as an early stage investor, we’re starting to see companies emerge and challenge the big companies. Organizations that don’t own the goods, that don’t own the transportation network, that don’t own the factory, that don’t have any stores – and produce a great product at an amazing price and a customer service experience superior to traditional companies. That’s something that was almost unimaginable even a few years ago and I think it’s going to be central to the way the rising generations choose to do business and I think it’s going to be a critical and fascinating topic at Pivot this fall. Speaking about Pivot and some of the work that you have done –  I mean you have written about the ends of things, the end of business as usual and you have written about the future of things, the future of business;  so I am curious -  Pivot changes each year, we talk each year about how the world we’re part of is changing and how the executives we’re here to serve keep getting challenged in new ways. So, what do you think the future of Pivot holds? What do you think we’ll be doing next October? What do you think we’ll be doing five Octobers from now?  Where – sort of as the mind behind Pivot – would you want Pivot to go or see Pivot heading? Pasted_Image_10_7_14__9_52_AM Brian- Well, Mike, you’re turning this conversation into a strategy session. Let’s see, I didn’t do my homework on that one but if I had to think about it, I would want to see us continue –because I don’t want to say we’re not doing that – every year the event is different because we practice what we preach and looking at how we can make the event better; how we can make the experience better.  I think that’s really what I am looking for the future of Pivot – is that why does it has to be just one event and why does it have to be just that one event once a year? What if we made Pivot alive every day? What if we were bringing the most amazing people in front of the most amazing people in various ways every week, keeping the Pivot spirit alive, because change is only going to accelerate, right?  Disruption is only going to accelerate, so the need to get inside and find inspiration and information is going to happen more than once a year, and we’ll find ways to bring people together in real world because that is just as important but I think that, following this theme, by 2015 we might start to see a living and breathing Pivot. Mike- I think that would be terrific and I think events like Pivot are going to be subject to the same transformation and change related forces as every other business and I think we have to not only follow that but, being Pivot, lead and understand how the world of being a senior executive in a company under stress is changing and how we can constantly look at new ways to reach out and help our community, help themselves and get ready for what’s going to be a fascinating but challenging future. I think on that note we can maybe wrap it up with one last thought from you-   if you’ve got one – for both our community and for folks who may not know us yet but we’d like to have come join us and get to know what we can do with Pivot this fall. Brian- I think that people should know that in Pivot you’ve got a couple of folks here looking out for you – your job, your business and we’re thinking about the stuff that we know you’re thinking about too. What we’re really trying to give you is the confidence and also the information, the evidence necessary to go back and bring about change wherever you are in the organization and, while there are a lot of great conferences out there, a lot of smart conferences out there, we think of you as the stakeholder trying to do something and we are trying to help you to do that and that’s our motivation Mike-You know, I think that is absolutely it – a couple of Pivots ago you created an epiphany for me when you said from the stage: “Pivot –  this isn’t a conference, this is the physical embodiment of an extra ordinary community”  and I think that gets it exactly right.   I think it’s what we were trying to do then, it’s what we are trying to do now and, as much things may change in the future, it’s what we are dedicated to do going forward – it’s been great ride – I have huge respect for you and have had great fun working with you and can’t wait to do it again next week. Brian- I am really excited for this and, as we know, it will be over before we realize it and then we’ll be up for 2015. I can’t think of a better person to want to work with on that front. Mike- Same here and I can’t wait and look forward to see everyone here in New York, October 16th and 17th. Pivot Conference talks place October 16-17 at the NASDAQ Marketsite in Times Square NYC.  Pivot is an invitation-only event for senior executives who lead social, mobile and business transformation initiatives for major corporations.  Requests for invitation should be directed to: Matt Godson, Pivotcon___The_Total_Digital_Experience