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Futurist and digital anthropologist Brian Solis helps Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce look to the future

Article passed Akron Lighthouse Log, Jim McKinnon

The annual meeting of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce in 2021 explores how it must change and transform to serve its members and communities during the pandemic. Most of the plans involve looking to the future rather than looking back.

This is largely the keynote speaker Brian Solis Figured out.

Solis is a futurist and “digital anthropologist” who looks at how consumer behavior evolves. He is a book author, digital entrepreneur, and frequently invited speaker. He was appointed as Salesforce’s Global Global Innovative communicator.

He talked about digital Darwinism, innovation, etc. in a video conversation with Steve Millard, chairman and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

Solis said that digital Darwinism is a key pillar of business success. He said that the consumerization of the Internet through companies such as Amazon and Apple has democratized the Internet.

“As things change, so must the business,” he said.

He said the pandemic has forced companies to become digital first as a means of connecting with people.

Solis said that people connected to the Internet can explore many options. This creates a narcissist because people say “Serve me faster. And get out,” he said.

Solis said research shows that 75% of consumers tried new brands or services last year, and many of them chose to stick to these new choices. He said that people also choose to stop buying goods from companies that are inconsistent with their values.

Solis said that iterating-doing the same thing better-and innovating in a way that eliminates the old is necessary for a company to survive and thrive.

“If you don’t invest in innovation, you will fall into iteration,” he said.

Solis said Domino’s Pizza is an example, and the company realized that it needed to become a “digital first” to survive. He said that it has hired many software engineers to develop applications, for example, to connect with customers in a way that customers like.

Solis said that smartphones and similar devices and their applications are reconnecting to the human brain, not getting better. He said that they are creating more need for attention in a way that “cannot satisfy you” and make people addicted to services. “All these things are competing for your attention.”

Solis said that technology and the pandemic are forcing change.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime interruption, and you can choose how to deal with it,” Solis said. “The world will continue to change. To be honest, many of them are out of date. … If you don’t build that new future, it will be built for you.”
For example, the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce needs to study how it provides value, Solis said.

“I didn’t know we could just wait for things to return to normal,” he said. “I don’t know we will return to normal.”

Solis told the audience that they should look for articles and information that challenge their traditions.
“Innovation starts with you. It is true,” Solis said.

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