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THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS IS
DIFFERENT THAN WE MIGHT THINK. IT’S PART TECHNOLOGY. IT’S PART PEOPLE. IT’S PART CHANGE. This special series of cartoons, with short insights from both Hugh MacLeod and Brian Solis, will help you see things differently.
Why this collaboration happened: Hugh
MacLeod is not only a dear friend but also one of my biggest inspirations. His artwork is a magnificent harmony of emotion, wit, logic and satire. When I thought about the future of business, I pictured it beyond words on a page, I hoped to bring together art with the art of storytelling. I couldn’t think of anyone other than Hugh to visualize what the future (WTF) is and should be…I hope you are inspired by his work the same way I am. – Brian Solis
Why this collaboration happened: Besides
being a favorite old drinking buddy from the early blogging/Web 2.0 days, Brian is one of the few people who really *gets* how all this Internet-enabled social stuff is changing business — how it’s totally messing and rearranging its entire DNA — and then also, being able to explain it to people in a way that (1) they understand and (2) they can implement. It’s pretty neat stuff. – Hugh MacLeod
Nothing personal. Just business. The
internet is a collective of people, data, and things. Understand that it is what it is. Also understand its true nature and potential are yours to define.
This brave new world is
really difficult to get used to at first. But that’s how it should be…The question is, what are you going to do about it? We cannot assume that others have figured anything out. The rules are being written as we go. Seek inspiration beyond the oversimplified. Become disenchanted with anything that takes complex subjects and breaks them down into “Top 10” lists.
They may still be children
in the eyes of the law, yet the way they’re beginning to interact around technology is already changing the world, including the boring ol’ adult world we old fogies are occupying. The impact of Millennials, Generation Z, and every digital native that follows them is either generalized or simply underestimated. Why? Because their behaviors and experiences are different and difficult to understand. They are the future and they are changing the world…their way.
Welcome to the new realities,
people. Studies show that digital natives can text, check social networks, publish updates all while doing their work. But wait, other studies show that they’re actually spreading themselves thinner with greater reach but with less depth. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares?
The Funnel doesn’t care about
people because the Funnel isn’t alive, the Funnel is a thing. Stop treating people like things. Today, technology automates and scales engagement. The funnel seems to exist for the benefit of the funnel. Decisions though are influenced by shared experiences…. Between people…and they influence the new customer journey
They’re not new toys anymore,
they’re daily tools. Communicating, researching, reviewing. No matter what the product is it’ll end up on a customer’s phone. Are you ready for that? The Zero Moment Of Truth is when you search. The Ultimate Moment Of Truth is a shared experience. The future of business and branding is when those two meet. To Generation C, the smart phone isn’t the second screen, it’s the first screen…and that changes everything.
Everybody remembers the great epiphanies,
almost as easily as they forget the slow, boring, day-in-day-out schlepping it required to reach there in the first place. In a world of shared experiences, it’s not what you say about you, but what others say. These experiences don’t vanish, they bind to one another, intensifying over time. Shared experiences influence every moment of truth.
Just as a great book
is a window into other possible worlds, the same is true with great products. They tell us that things don’t have to be the way they currently are. Generation C is “always on” – seeing the world through the small screen, often before they really see it with their own eyes. Following the digital breadcrumbs that Gen-C leaves behind inspires us to create new worlds that captivate their attention and imagination. This is how we compete for the future and relevance.
As more and more of
our lives are mediated via the device (i.e. the smartphone) we carry around with us, the more strong attachments will occur. Phones already matter to Millennials on an emotional level, more than their cars do. Just a matter of time until phones overtake houses in the emotional food chain etc. Say it over and over again, because it’s not going back. “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” I love this image because I’m probably the last generation to hold up a phone to my ear to talk to someone.
It’s so easy to see
the customer as only the sum of the current transaction, as opposed to a fully realized, complex human being, in it for the long term. Customers are on a journey that either brings them closer to you or further away from your brand promise. Unlike the linear imagery of a funnel, today’s journey is an ellipse that doesn’t end if you don’t let it end.
Real human engagement has to
come from inside you; it cannot be faked. But for it to come out of you there need to be a “you” in the first place, Q.E.D. What are the likely engagement scenarios your business needs to plan for to build a frictionless and beneficial journey? Help? Entertainment? Support? Advice Validation? Focusing on anything less than everything isn’t engagement, it’s marketing disguised as compassion.
To paraphrase Maya Angelou: People
eventually forget the price, people eventually forget the quality, people never, ever forget how you once made them feel. In a connected society, all markets are the culmination of shared experiences. If you think about what it is that people share online, you’ll realize that conversations are actually the manifestation of experiences. Why would you leave them to chance?
The best companies start off
by solving REAL problems. Understanding what a real problem is, requires understanding what real human suffering is. Or at least, understanding the real human condition. That requires empathy. I love the TV show “Undercover Boss,”. Executives undergo a humbling journey to walk in the footsteps of customers and employees. These CEO’s admit to “forgetting what it was like…” and it’s hard to blame them for it. They live in a world of spreadsheets and PowerPoint charts. Help them see what’s changing so they can feel it.
We human beings LOVE to
confuse what happens inside the skull, with what happens outside it. Maybe because being confused is better than being afraid, better than admitting “I don’t know.” If you think about it, everything that’s shared in mobile and social networks is emotional. The EGOsystems in which we’re connected is alive with observations, reactions, calls to action, and everything else we go through in life. Experiences can be contagious. Create the experiences you want people to have, feel, and share.
The business world is A
LOT more complex than it was. A few of us are NOT O.K. with remaining complacent and pretending the old rules still apply. Ignorance + Arrogance = Irrelevance. If you don’t believe things are changing, if you undermine those fighting for transformation, be warned that you are expediting your own irrelevance.
Innovation doesn’t begin with a
spreadsheet. Innovation doesn’t begin with an MBA or a seven-hour strategy meeting. Innovation begins from a place inside our deepest, most quiet selves. Innovation comes from an aspiration to fix something that may or may not be broken, to create something from nothing, to accomplish feats not possible yesterday. Innovation begins with a feeling and it will change the world.
Don’t wait around for the
answers to magically appear. The answers will only come with practice, Grasshopper. Sometimes the best place to start is with a blank canvas, to answer the questions that only you can answer.
Hugh MacLeod has been drawing
art about life and business for twenty years. He was one of the most popular bloggers in the early days of social media, earning a loyal following of the best and brightest of Silicon Valley. His work has informed an entire generation of entrepreneurs. He has created work for the largest companies in the world including Intel, Microsoft, HP, Roche, Pearson, Dell, Havas Worldwide and Rackspace, just to name a few. Hugh has written three books published by Penguin, including a best seller, Ignore Everybody, which began life as a free online manifesto that has been downloaded over four million times. Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research firm focused on disruptive technology. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture. Solis is also globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. His new book, What’s The Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth.
An in-depth look at the
future through the cartoons inspired by “WTF: What’s The Future of Business.” Like what you see? Use code: WTF15 for 15% off your next purchase at gapingvoidart.com