Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

We all talk of innovation, but few us start with innovation in our own work

Photo Credit: Brian Fanzo

I don’t normally share things like this, but…I’ve had a heck of a week.

On Monday, I released what I would consider my most significant research to date on the subject of digital transformation, “The Race Against Digital Darwinism: Six Stages of Digital Transformation.” I also spent traveled to San Diego (SMMW), Las Vegas (SAS) and Huntington Beach (WCPRSA). Not the most extreme mileage in comparison to previous trips, but each event, was in its own way, unforgettable.

I wanted to share with you some highlights from each.

Social Media Marketing World 2016 – San Diego

It’s been awhile since I spoke about social media. My entire career has been built by pushing emergent and promising industries across the bell curve and then moving back to the left side of early innovation. But my long-time friend Michael Stelzner believed that with X, my new book, that this was finally the time to come back and bring people along with me.

I had this fear that most people in the space had no idea who I was since moving on to other subjects such as CX, UX, BX, innovation, digital transformation, culture 2.0, et al. And indeed, I found myself explaining over and over my background, the nature of my work and why I was there. That was cool of course. I had no expectations. I’m not in this business to be famous or build a personal brand. I am interested however in bringing about meaningful and productive change.

I’m not going to lie though, this made me incredibly nervous for my session. “Would anyone be there,” I wondered?

Well, Mike was right. People needed to hear this story. Not only was it packed…my work seemed to resonate. But what really blew my mind was the number of people who took the chance on this session without knowing anything about me.  Apparently, according to the Twitterers, my session “took people to church.”

In what I hope was an inspiring way, I set out to remind them that all of this social media stuff is a gift and at the same time, consumer attention is also a gift. Using new tech to broadcast and pseudo engage people is a waste of everyone’s time. Instead, we need more innovation rather than using new technology to iterate the way things have always been done.

Following the presentation, I offered to answer questions outside on the deck overlooking the San Diego Harbor and Coronado Island. I was surprised people followed me out there. It turned into a pop-up conference. Wow!

Mike, congrats on all of your success! You’ve built an incredible event. 

Here are some of the takeaways…

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via @JimMacleod


via @PostBeyond


via @openmindsagency



via @OpenMinds


via @sarahnelson


via @CelestBowden


via @brittybap


via LinkedIn




via PostBeyond


via @PostBeyond


via @postbeyond



via BuzzSumo


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via LinkedIn


via Cision

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Outside pop-up conference via Jordan Feise


You can follow the incredible conversation stream here…sit back and get ready!

SAS User Conference – Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, I had an opportunity to speak about the future of brand in an experience economy.

This event was massive. Overtaking the Palazzo and Venetian ballrooms, attendees traveled from all over the world to learn how analytics can help every facet of business and more so how to integrate data into the architecture of brand…more so, the future of brand.

But what is brand today? More so, how can companies use data to close what I call the “relevance gap,” the distance between how businesses invest in brand and customer experiences and the experiences that people actually have and share?

This isn’t just a time for chief marketing technologists and data scientists, this is also a time of empathy and human-centered design to develop a meaningful and agile experience architecture.



PRSA – Huntington Beach

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for those in marketing and communications. I was invited to speak at Western Division PRSA event at the Hyatt Regency resort. What an unbelievable location! Like SMMW16, this was a packed ballroom of people of all levels of experience and backgrounds eager to learn about the future and their role in it.

I was there to share everything I learned about how this industry (as well as marketing, advertising and social in general) needed to stop iterating and start innovating. Honestly, I didn’t hold back anything nor did I shower the audience with meaningless platitudes. The moment was too important. But I did remind people that change happens to them or because of them. We can’t complain about disruption if we’re not willing to disrupt. And most importantly, if we’re waiting for someone to tell us what to do, we’re on the wrong side of innovation.

The era of broadcast may not be over, but media and influence is democratized. We have the ability to engage people directly and indirectly. We can talk to and through people now through our engagement and content. And, more so, we have the opportunity to build communities where the value isn’t in the number of people in it, it’s what we do together that makes belonging matter. We’re not going to get anywhere though if we aren’t willing to rethink our metrics, our approaches, our value and how other people measure value.

This is a time to earn relevance and that starts with accepting where we’re feeding into irrelevance right now.

To my awe and disbelief, after saying “thank you,” I looked up and saw a room full of people standing up to say “thank you” in return with a standing ovation.

I will never forget that moment. Never.



via @OC_PRSA


via Jenny Wedge


via Ron Antonette


via Pamela Crouch


via Alison Betts


via Jean Kelso Sandlin


via Courtney Tarnow


via @OC_PRSA



Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

Experience is everything…read my new book, X!


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