The 2018-2019 State of Digital Transformation


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I’m proud to announce the availability of The 2018-2019 State of Digital Transformation report. Now in its fifth year, our annual “State of Digital Transformation” research continues to document the constantly evolving enterprise. As disruptive technologies and their impact on organizations and markets continue to progress, our research aims to capture the shifts and trends that are shaping modern digital transformation. In 2018, strategic digital transformation is only becoming more pervasive moving beyond IT to impact competitiveness throughout the organization. Budgets are soaring. The list of disruptive technologies on the radar of stakeholders is expanding. Ownership is moving to the C-Suite and managed by cross-functional, collaborative groups. Customer experience (CX) continues to lead digital transformation investments, but as we observed in 2017, employee experience and organizational culture are also rising in importance to empower and accelerate change, growth, and innovation. This year, it’s clear that digital transformation is
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Oh The Humanities of It All: A Podcast with Andrew Koppel on the Importance of Social Science in an Era of AI


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Sasha Freemind
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Somewhere between Summer and Fall, I spent an unforgettable moment with Andrea Koppel. The good news is that we recorded our conversation. If the surname sounds familiar, it’s because Andrea is the daughter of iconic broadcast journalist and host of Nightline Ted Koppel. Andrea is a force of her own however. She’s the host of the uber-popular Time4Coffee podcast. It’s a show dedicated to students and entrepreneurs where “caffeinated career conversations” guide listeners in their studies and career pursuits. Initially, we focused on A.I. and why social sciences and creativity are more important in an era of machines and robots than ever. As time went on, I started to share a more personal side of my work, my challenges with technology and also what I can only say is a preview of my next big thing (click here to be among the first to
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The Frozen Middle Separates Management from Leadership (and Innovation)


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Illustration created with culture design firm @GapingVoid We live in a time of digital Darwinism. As technology evolves so do markets. And as they evolve, behaviors, values and norms also adapt. This sets the stage for the widespread disruption that we are witnessing today. Regrettably, or not, many reigning executives are not experienced to lead growth and innovation strategies as disruptive technologies radically shift everything around them. Yet, no matter how well we study history, it’s always doomed to repeat itself. There’s something about being in charge and surrounding yourself with other executives, boards of directors or investors that project a fallacy of invincibility. “I know the world is changing, but I don’t see it affecting me. I’m in control. Everything is fine.” These are the words of someone destined to tempt fate and inevitably repeat history. As I often say, disruption is the result of an all too
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Dear executives, find and empower your change agents, innovators and intraprenuers


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I’ve spent the better part of 20 years studying innovation and specifically, the past several years studying the people behind digital transformation. One universal truth I’ve found time and time again is that, in the face of disruption, the most meaningful and lasting change is always human. But, that spark, vision, or drive to change doesn’t always come from the top. Many times, there are those unsung heroes who feel, see or know at their very core, what needs to be done, they just don’t always know what it takes to organize or rally everyone else to move in different and challenging directions. These are the change agents, the innovators, the intrapreneurs, those who believe in something so passionately, that they take bold risks to open new doors. In these times of Digital Darwinism, legacy businesses need this talent now more than ever. They don’t just represent a different way
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The Magic of Creativity and Innovation Happens Outside of Your Comfort Zone


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In July 2018, I had a chance to speak in Rancho Palo Verdes at the NBJ Summit. I think I would move to the area given the opportunity. It’s a wonderful oasis in between the [INSERT ADJECTIVE/S HERE] of Southern California and the serenity of a beachside community. Before walking off stage, I noticed a graphic recording by The Sketch Effect off to my left. I missed it during my presentation, but was more than curious about what was captured following the event. Then, like all of us, I got busy. I forgot all about it until I found a rare moment when I could dig through past emails. And, there it was! It was interesting after all this time, to revisit the conversation, what I hoped to communicate and what the artist captured. I was impressed and I wanted to share their work with you here. It almost looks
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Through a Research Lens: What Captured My Attention in 2018 and What’s in My Purview for 2019


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Photo Illustration by Tracy Ma/The New York Times; Shutterstock (child and phone)

Prophet’s Emily Schreck recently interviewed the Altimeter analysts to spotlight some of the things that we never get a chance to share, such as what we’re working on, what has our attention and what’s on the horizon. Schreck’s piece is now live.
This year has been a whirlwind for Altimeter’s famed analysts; Charlene Li, Brian Solis, Susan Etlinger and Omar Akhtar. The team has published several new research reports, presented keynote speeches at top global industry conferences, and helped some of the world’s top brands learn how to best leverage disruptive technologies.
Not all of the Q&A made the final cut, but I did want to share it with you here.

Altimeter Roundtable: What’s Happening with Our Analysts

Emily Schreck: What research areas have been your focus in 2018? Brian Solis: 2018 has been a whirlwind
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Emerging tech: Your bookmark for 2019


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Data has a better idea “We know from human history that developments in technologies over the centuries, ranging from the Industrial Revolution through to the invention of the automobile, then airplanes and so forth, the landscape of progress is littered with human casualties. People die because of these things being tested.” A provocative statement, the first thing you hear in episode 1 in the third season of the Digital Download podcast that I did with host Paul Sutton last month in which we discussed emerging technologies and communications and what’s predicted to hit the mainstream within the next two to three years. That statement was intended to sharpen focus on the dilemmas confronting all of us when we want to try something new or radically different to advance our knowledge, our well-bring, our development, where there are risks in doing so. It’s an extreme example of risk and consequence on the journey to that
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A Prelude to Innovation: Figure Out How The World is Changing and How To Be More Relevant as It Evolves


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There are many places in this world I hope to one day experience. On that list was Sofia, Bulgaria. I use the past tense as I’m so happy to report that I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful city (and country) for the DigitalK conference. What a great event! I presented on topic that I refer to as “A Prelude to Innovation.” It’s meant to spotlight the important actions and events serving as the introduction to innovation itself. Shortly after my talk, I had the opportunity to meet Vassilena Valchanova to answer a few of her questions. Our conversation led to an incredibly thoughtful article that I wanted to share with you here. Even though the context of the article focuses on customer experience and marketing, you can substitute those monikers for innovation, transformation, or any role or industry. It’s very honest and candid advice. I hope
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For Immediate Release 155: Did neglect kill SlideShare?


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slideshare-tombstone For the September episode of the monthly Hobson & Holtz Report podcast, aka FIR 155, I was the solo host with Shel away. Doing the show like this reminded me of the old days of FIR when Shel and I recorded a weekly show for over ten years, where one of us would typically do it all solo if the other was away. This was one of those times! Anyway, you have a show to listen to so here’s what’s in this month’s H&H Report: In his Tech
FIR155graphic
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Tomorrow’s Products and Services Need to Offer Innovative (Not Just Iterative) Experiences


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Napa Valley, what a wonderful place to visit. Some of my favorite wineries are in Napa. Paraduxx, Far Niente, Harlan, Mascot, Nickel and Nickel, Chandon, Domain Carneros, Cuvaison, Schug, just to name a few. Napa is also a wonderful place to work. And, I recently had an opportunity to do so when I was asked share my vision of the future at the Senior Living Innovation Forum. I’m not an expert in senior living care nor am I a master of its business models and regulations. But I’ve studied the evolving nature of consumer expectations, preferences and their strengthening power of choice. I’ve studied how entrepreneurs, investors and bold legacy businesses are paving new roads to deliver modern products and experiences that cater to this evolving generation of connected customers. At some point, we are all the customers we are trying to reach. We all want experiences that build upon
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Digital Transformation: Strategies for Success


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“Transforming businesses through digital innovation — blazing through dreams, disruption and delivery.” These are the beginning words shared by Salesforce in its new “NorthStar” report. Over the last few months, Salesforce interviewed over 500 customers as well as executives and thought leaders to discuss their personal experiences, triumphs and challenges in their pursuits of digital transformation. I appreciate that I was on the company’s radar during the development of this report. I was asked to share my thoughts on the subject, and I graciously did. Even though, it’s easy to think that with all of the work we invest in a subject, that we are entitled to attention or notoriety, we’re
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Evolving customer behavior gives retailers insight into innovation priorities


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“Innovation starts with understanding who people are becoming, because in there are the insights into how they shop and why.” – Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to present my vision for retail innovation and shopper experience at “The Summit” hosted by AT&T in Dallas. Following the event, the AT&T Editorial Team, published a written summary and also a video highlight reel of my talk. I wanted to share them with you here. I hope this help you!

Retail gets a digital revamp

Evolving customer behavior is leading the way for retail companies

Solis — a futurist and analyst — stood before
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For Immediate Release 147: Tell Me a (Facebook) Story


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Neville Hobson joined FIR host Shel Holtz for the July edition of “The Hobson & Holtz Report” and conversation about these topics:
  • Starbucks and plastic straws (listener comment from Kris Gallagher)
  • British Airways asks customers to post personal data on Twitter ‘to comply with GDPR’
  • Will Facebook Stories (and Instagram Stories, Messenger Stories, WhatsApp Stories, and Snapchat Stories) change how marketers use social media?
  • Whatever the EU does about copyright laws, expect it to change social media globally
  • Chatrooms come out of closed beta at Reddit
  • Facebook has suspended Crimson Hexagon from accessing data while it investigates how that data is being used
  • New buyers of smart speakers want to reduce the amount of time they spend looking at screens
Also, Gini Dietrich shares her thoughts on companies shrugging off the “E” in the PESO model she helped develop, Dan York has his Tech Report, and more. Special thanks to 
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For Immediate Release 143: Fired by mistake by an AI


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Neville Hobson joined FIR host Shel Holtz for the June edition of “The Hobson & Holtz Report” and conversation about these topics:
  • An employee was mistakenly fired by an AI system and managers stood by powerless to correct the mistake. Was AI really to blame?
  • IBM has introduced an AI designed for debate, which could mean there’s finally an unbiased devil’s advocate to point out the flaws in your business plan.
  • There is no minimizing the threat to the Internet posed by the draconian copyright restrictions the European Parliament could vote into law as early as the first week of July.
  • A couple of PRSA members are proposing an overhaul of ethics rules to make sure they apply to the group’s executive board (and making their case hasn’t been easy).
  • The World Cup is using a Video Assisted Referee, which would have applications far beyond sports.
  • Facebook is testing paid monthly
    FIR 143 The Hobson & Holtz Report
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In the future of retail, ask these two questions – what is space? And, what is experience?


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I just finished researching innovation trends in retail. It took over a year to complete and honestly, the insights shared in it are applicable to every industry. Please download, read and share it with your colleagues, even if you’re not in retail. It’ll help. Recently, I was invited to present my findings on retail innovation at The Summit hosted by AT&T. I also cut right to the heart of the matter, that what we’re really talking about is change. How do we change, and then what do we do differently, to invest in new areas that create new value for our customers and those who are not yet our customers. All innovation is
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Perspectives: Reimagining space and experience In the future of retail


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I just finished researching innovation trends in retail. It took over a year to complete and honestly, the insights shared in it are applicable to every industry. Please download, read and share it with your colleagues, even if you’re not in retail. It’ll help. Recently, I was invited to present my findings on retail innovation at The Summit hosted by AT&T. I also cut right to the heart of the matter, that what we’re really talking about is change. How do we change, and then what do we do differently, to invest in new areas that create new value for our customers and those who are not yet our customers. All innovation is
Continue reading "Perspectives: Reimagining space and experience In the future of retail"

We keep talking about Millennials and Centennials, let’s just talk about human beings first and go from there


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It’s my job to study how people, you and me, are changing as a result of our relationship with technology. It’s also my job to then reverse-engineer those insights into opportunities for innovation. There are immediate areas of where human-centered design can solve problems you are facing right now. There are many more areas where human-centered innovation and iteration can help you create competitive and critical opportunities for the future. Everything from customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) to education and government to finance and health and everything in between will benefit by looking at the evolution of people and how they are different that what you assume today, how they rival
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We keep talking about Millennials and Centennials, let’s just talk about human beings first and go from there


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Dear Feedburner Readers, we'll soon be shutting down our feedburner plugin. If you'd still like to receive news from Brian Solis, please scroll to the bottom of www.briansolis.com and subscribe to the newsletter.

It’s my job to study how people, you and me, are changing as a result of our relationship with technology. It’s also my job to then reverse-engineer those insights into opportunities for innovation. There are immediate areas of where human-centered design can solve problems you are facing right now. There are many more areas where human-centered innovation and iteration can help you create competitive and critical opportunities for the future. Everything from customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) to education and government to finance and health and everything in between will benefit by looking at the evolution of people and how they are different that what you assume today, how they rival
Continue reading "We keep talking about Millennials and Centennials, let’s just talk about human beings first and go from there"

The Importance of Having a Purpose in Digital Transformation and Innovation


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So many companies are investing in digital transformation and corporate innovation strategies to compete for the future.  They’re typically led by technology and aimed at growth areas such as customer experience (CX). In actuality, these efforts are most often not that innovative…they’re a bit more iterative than groundbreaking.  That’s ok, but these times necessitate a balance of innovation and iteration. Many organizations are simply investing in new technologies and expertise to simply modernize legacy models, processes and systems. However, to compete for the future, to earn market relevance, modernization is just not good enough. You have to give innovation a purpose. You have to give meaning to your work so that the organization
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The Importance of Having a Purpose in Digital Transformation and Innovation


This post is by Brian Solis from Brian Solis


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So many companies are investing in digital transformation and corporate innovation strategies to compete for the future.  They’re typically led by technology and aimed at growth areas such as customer experience (CX). In actuality, these efforts are most often not that innovative…they’re a bit more iterative than groundbreaking.  That’s ok, but these times necessitate a balance of innovation and iteration. Many organizations are simply investing in new technologies and expertise to simply modernize legacy models, processes and systems. However, to compete for the future, to earn market relevance, modernization is just not good enough. You have to give innovation a purpose. You have to give meaning to your work so that the organization can stand behind something that’s meaningful and believable. Technology isn’t the answer. It’s an essential enabler of a greater vision and mission. What’s your purpose? Credit: DrivingSales | DSES

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal analyst and
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