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The Dilemma’s Innovator: Innovation and Change as the New Pillars of Business by briansolis


This is the unabridged version of the cover story I wrote for Entrepreneur Magazine entitle "Change: Lessons on What's Next". Included is also the uncut interviews with Dennis Crowley, Jack Dorsey and Tony Hsieh.

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									The Dilemma's Innovator: Innovation and Change
as the New Pillars of Business
By Brian Solis, blogger at and principal of FutureWorks, Author of the highly
acclaimed book on social business Engage!

If necessity is the mother of invention, then perhaps imagination is the source of innovation.

In December 2010, I was given the opportunity to write the cover story for Entrepreneur Magazine.
The article, “Change: Lessons on What’s Next,” explored the innovation behind three (well four)
companies — Foursquare, Square + Twitter, and Zappos. Throughout the years, I’ve had the
opportunity to spend time with Dennis Crowley, Jack Dorsey and Tony Hsieh. And over that time,
I’ve observed inherent traits that I believe represent the future of business and how companies
engage with customers to create a more adaptive and connected infrastructure to compete for the

What I will share here is the unabridged version of the my article and also the uncut interviews with
Crowley, Dorsey and Hsieh through a week-long series. I believe it will inspire you to see things
differently and to look beyond the tools and networks that we lean on today in our attempts to
introduce change. These stories place greater emphasis on innovation and a quest to deliver a more
meaningful experience that in the end, reveal that technology represents enablers while you and
your passion represent the capacity to lead change.

The Spirit of Innovation and Entrepreneurialism is Recession Proof

The spirit of entrepreneurialism powers capitalism. And the ideas we envision and the passion to
bring them to life define the state of our economy and the future of business universally. While
growth markets and recessions force the expansion and contraction of economies, innovation is
constant and it is the very essence of the ideas that push thinking and markets forward. Innovation is

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
the proverbial yo-yo on an escalator and while economies may ascend and descend, they are
always going up.

In September 2010, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the official arbiter of the U.S.
business cycle, announced that the recession behind curbed consumer spending and confidence
officially ended in June 2009. What wasn’t constrained during these last few years however, was
innovation. Entrepreneurs were the beneficiaries of a constant source of funding to materialize new
products, services and technologies. While the number and size of deals bobbed with the financial
tide, in Q2 2010, 612 deals were closed to the sum of just under $6 billion.


Even though entrepreneurs can seek comfort in knowing that financial and now consumer support is
at the ready, a new challenge is manifesting as you read this. The pervasiveness of Internet-savvy
consumers is undergoing a pivotal transformation. As such, the typical digital consumer is now
giving way to the rise of a more discerning, informed, and connected social consumer. These
consumers are surrounding themselves with the people and information that helps them make better
decisions thanks to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Their attention is
focused in new paradigms and away from traditional media that served as a means for branding and
demand creation. Simply said, in order to connect new ideas with social consumers, new or adaptive
business models are mandatory. Gone are the days when great companies, products and services
naturally found their markets. In the attention economy, businesses must manually connect with
customers and prospects where their attention and interest is focused.

The importance of innovation doesn’t just lie in the development of brilliant ideas, innovation is now
also necessary in the development and execution of these ideas and how corresponding

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
infrastructures erect and evolve to support and scale with them. The “modern” schools of business
management suddenly appear old school in the face of new media. And with the rise of the social
consumer, tomorrow’s business leaders are now forced to rewrite the books that help grow
companies and markets today. These new leaders will also change the lessons students learn in
school and the lessons they will continue to learn through experience.

Innovation is an essential ingredient in not only the survival of emerging companies, but now
business in general. And, innovation is not limited to technology or the entrepreneurs that innovate
on their own. Tomorrow’s business will empower a new genre of intrapreneuers to create and
innovate internally. Ideas can change processes, systems, and methodologies to lead businesses
from static entities to dynamic organizations. We are forced to compete for the future, right here,
right now and as such, the future of business is not created, it is co-created!

In this series, we take a look at three innovators who are changing the game. Their vision, ambition,
and ingenuity prove that sometimes breaking the rules or writing them as they go is what it takes to
push business toward a new genre of success.

Part 1: Jack Dorsey, Twitter + Square
Part 2: Tony Hsieh, Zappos
Part 3: Dennis Crowley, Foursquare

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook


(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is globally recognized as one of most prominent thought leaders and
published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has
studied and influenced the effects of emerging media in business, culture and the
convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. He is principal of
FutureWorks, an award-winning business management and New Media consultancy in
San Francisco and has led change management and social programs for Fortune 500
companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups. is ranked among
the top of world's leading business and marketing websites.

Solis is the author of Engage! The complete guide for businesses to build, cultivate and
measure success in the new Web.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis

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