Guest post by Mike Edelhart, co-producer and CEO of The Pivot Conference (@pivotcon)
Historic shifts in business fundamentals don’t occur smoothly; rather they happen in sudden, sharp shifts which open unexpected chasms companies must traverse or plunge.
Today, the deep change in human behavior brought about by the emergence of social media marks the latest such shift, perhaps the most dramatic since the Industrial Revolution. Gone are the traditional success factors of operational efficiency and price advantage being uprooted by the conversational, consumer-centric nature of the emerging business environment. Already, quick response, collaboration and flexibility are trumping traditional competitive advantages. And this shift seems to be accelerating into an ever-more-social future.
The 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.
Not too long ago, my dear friend Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid) and I set out to explore a new world of visual communication that combined an intentional form of written storytelling illustrated through clever yet pithy cartoons. That work was originally brought to life in #WTF (What’s the Future of Business). The engagement around Hugh’s work eventually spilled over from print to online with readers sharing their favorite Hugh cartoons via Tweets, Instagrams, Vines, Pinterest, et al.
Early on, I was one of the first analysts to explore the dynamics of the interest graph versus the social graph in social networks. Think Twitter vs. Facebook. I learned right away that interest graphs tend to share connections based on topics rather than relationships. I also found that every person possesses a series of 6-10 interest graphs that together form a social graph. Google refers to these groupings as “Circles.” The notion of manually organizing people by interests though proved daunting and unnecessary. It happens naturally and rather than leave it to humans for organization it requires a human algorithm to help people behind the scenes better manage their contacts and information by analyzing and gauging interests in real time. It’s one of the reasons I always believed that Google’s social strategies suffered from the lack of expertise in and diminished sense of importance for the subject of humanities.
Guest post by John Bergquist (@JohnFlurry), who leads Content and Communications at Saddleback Leather Co.
So much has changed in business in the past 20 years. And it continues to change daily. As Brian has said before, today a business has to engage… or die. And you know what? That delights me. It is the way it used to be. Shopkeepers knew their customers very well. They didn’t need mechanical analysts or teams of test consumers to determine how to best serve them; they heard it directly from the customer.
This is the story of when ZMOT met UMOT…
Search is a natural step in the discovery process. In a web world, search engines offer a lens into a qualified and structured view to help online consumers focus and make informed decisions. With Google dominating search, marketers concentrated on improving search ranking through tried and true techniques to ensure that what they were marketing earned a coveted position in the likely search results a customer might consider clicking.
Digital Darwinism is a fate that threatens most organizations in almost every industry. Because of this, businesses not only have to compete for today but also for the unforeseeable future. Digital Darwinism is the phenomenon when technology and society evolve faster than an organization can adapt. There are many reasons for this of course. Every fabric of a company is strained due to internal and external influences. The challenge lies amongst the very leaders running the show today. Their mission and the processes and systems they support today may already be working against them.
I follow the Maker Movement as a consumer, analyst and also as a maker. What is the maker movement? It a manifestation of the DIY (Do It Yourself) or DIWO (Do It With Others) culture where everyday people design, build and/or market something that they want or need on their own rather than buying something off the shelf. The maker movement has led to the creation of a number of technology products and solutions by typical individuals working without supportive infrastructure. This is facilitated by the increasing amount of information available to individuals and the decreasing cost of electronic components.
Businesses today are met with unique challenges and opportunities that necessitate pause. For years, management models were developed to optimize the pursuit of business objectives. Processes were established and hierarchies, technologies and reporting systems supported them. Everything was business as usual until it wasn’t.
Nothing is permanent. As in life, things change. And so is true in the world of business. The models and practices that have been taught for generations are tested in a time when customer and employee behaviors and resulting expectations are evolving without official study, strategy and systematic transformation.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.