February 22, 2013

News & Opinion: What's the Future of Business?

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 5:00 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Predicting the future can be difficult. Some would say it's impossible. Yet in many predictions, there are things that resonate, things that seem close enough in proximity to the logical flow of events that we see their likelihood. Brian Solis (author of The End of Business as Usual), has written that kind of book. What's the Future of Business?: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences first explores the current situation: generational differences, continuous technological advances, and the personal changes in how customers interact with businesses. Then he describes how each change feeds each other, and as generations change, their interactions with businesses change, and technology influences those changes. Change, Solis points out, is often talked about, but what do businesses really do about that change? How can they manage their business through it? How can they stay relevant? According to the book, this will be done by creating better experiences. Solis states:
"Businesses must now proactively invest in the experiences they want customers to have and use new technology to measure the alignment of intended experiences versus shared experiences. In the future, the new customer hierarchy will either work for you or against you. And if customers are going to talk about you, then give them something to talk about. Experiences are the new "relationship.'"
And Solis practices what he speaks. The book itself is an experience: nice layout, unique size, color graphics, and an interesting table of contents feature at the start of each chapter. The book also includes comics by business author/artist Hugh Macleod, who uses brief statements and images to sum up some of Brian's points. It's a great reinforcement to the key points. As 'experience' becomes something of a buzzword, we cannot deny that they are powerful. Fundamental, even. Good experiences create good memories, and memories are what we talk about with others. It's not hard to see how this theory applies to any business situation, and any human situation. Maybe the long, hard road ahead can be looked at differently - as an opportunity to make better experiences for those around us, and in turn, ourselves.