Bob Feldman | The Innovator 25
Charting the future of public relations
Bob_FeldmanThe Innovator 25:

Bob Feldman

Partner,  PulsePoint Group
Los Angeles

Management Consulting

Recognized for being among those who developed PulsePoint's Social Media Accelerator that applies management consulting thinking to public relations. 





Where does the PR industry need to innovate the most?

Conceptualizing a new framework for communications that engages skill sets and talents previously found elsewhere.

People have been saying communications has been changing forever. And it probably has. But the pace and scope of that change in the past five years is unprecedented. Innovation today is not just about innovating within the existing framework for storytelling and stakeholder engagement. For sure, that is important. 

But the successful communications organization today is focused on integrating skills and talents from a wide range of disciplines not traditionally housed in the comms function. We must recruit, develop and fully leverage people with expertise in marketing, data analytics, data visualization, systems building, etc. 

We must have more creative directors and people who fully appreciate the emotional importance of storytelling; our roots in journalism often push us to the "rational" at the expense of the emotional.  We must recruit brighter and more well-rounded people. And all this places a greater premium on leadership and how to fully optimize the talents we have access to. 

How innovative do you think the PR industry currently is?
About the same as other marketing disciplines

What is most important for the PR industry to do to foster more innovation? 
Different hiring practices. The need to improve the strategic and business acumen of the function is one of the most common refrains I hear from CEOs. We must aggressively raise the bar on talent in order to drive innovation and to be relevant to leadership.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be 'innovative.'
I’ve worked with a wide variety of companies for years and the best innovation comes organically. It starts with a strong emphasis on listening, then a good sense of the environment, the competitive landscape and the company’s business priorities…and then devising smart, thoughtful, forward-looking solutions.  These solutions might be marketing oriented, reputational in nature or focused on organizational change. Innovation is essential in all forms, but it’s not necessarily about something no one ever considered; it’s about clever insights applied in relevant, compelling ways.

How do you inspire innovation within yourself or to your team?
Hire great people and challenge them. Give them plenty of latitude. Surround them with people are equally bright and equally supportive. In our firm, we are paid to deliver high value results. We must obsess on talent, culture and performance.

What’s the most innovative place in the world?
The most innovative place in the world is that little place in your brain that thinks to do something differently based on a set of personal experiences.  The trick is to afford that little place some daylight and an opportunity to emerge into a real-world, practical solution.

What's your favorite time of day and why?
6-8am. The mind is fresh, it thinks broadly and is not yet consumed with all the day’s minutia