Don Tapscott is a highly regarded executive, author, consultant, and featured speaker at the 2013 Bazaarvoice Summit. I interviewed him about some of the radical changes to the relationship between consumers and brands in the Connected Economy. We can’t wait to hear him discuss these and other trends at #bsocial13! (Also be sure to check out his remarkable TED talk, below the interview.)

What is the link between innovation and openness?

DT: Openness has four meanings and four corresponding principles — transparency, sharing, collaboration and empowerment — each which drive innovation. Transparent organizations have higher metabolism innovation networks. Sharing is key to innovation as companies place certain functions in a commons, as IBM did with the Linux operating system — and compete on a different level. Collaboration means that companies can find the uniquely qualified minds for innovation outside their boundaries. And by shifting power down and out, enterprises can unleash the energy required for innovation.

How will the relationships between consumers and brands change in the next five years?

DT: Consumers can now become producers or as we call them “prosumers.” The brand shifts from being an image to a relationship with integrity its foundation. The four P’s or marketing are no longer value. Most of what we know about marketing is wrong and is being turned on its head. Products are being replaced by experiences. Sixty-two percent of young consumers know what they want to buy before they go to the store. Soon customers won’t be purchasing on websites but on sophisticated detailed aggregation online. New price discovery methods are emerging. That requires a fundamental rethinking of many principles of marketing.

Today’s consumers, especially Millennials, want to actively participate in brands at every level, from marketing to R&D, to crowdsourced equity (coming soon!). How can brands make best use of this desire to participate?

DT: Brands need to engage the Net Generation in new ways. Rather than thinking of them as outside your boundaries think of them as being inside your network. Don’t focus on them — co-innovate. Don’t have customer centricity — have customer co-creation.

Watch Don’s TED talk below, and learn more about the Summit here.

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