Innovators are not only disrupting, but also reinventing the PR sphere

PRWeek editor-in-chief Steve Barrett on the innovative, disruption-driven future of the industry.

Whichever way you look at it, the PR profession is changing, and it is evolving so fast that adaptability to change is becoming one of the principal skills required to prosper within it.

At our excellent conference in New York City last month, Progressive Insurance’s CMO and master of disruption Jeff Charney told a packed house: "If you don’t like change, get out of this profession."

The Charney method encompasses going through a process of reinvention every few months and pretending he’s coming into work to replace himself. "A CMO should be fired every 18 months – what would I do if I replaced me?" he thinks.

He believes if you don’t re-examine everything constantly you will inevitably go backward. "If you’re not disrupting, you are wasting your money," he adds.

Charney is a master of disruption, so I guess he would say that – but the spirit behind his quest for reinvention rings very true to me. And it is in this spirit that we present to you the second annual iteration of our Innovation 50 initiative.

I’ll be the first to accept that the world does not need yet another gratuitous list – but the Innovation 50 goes way beyond that.

It celebrates the digital strategists and technology trailblazers; the startups and trendy boutiques; the smart misfits and the social media change-makers; the branded content mavens and political reformers.

All the individuals on this roster come to the communications profession with a sense of innovation and reinvention embedded in their DNA, and all of us can learn from their world view and approach to business.

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