Once I imagined that the best part of being an author would be the satisfaction of putting a period on the final sentence of my book. Kevin Ordonez, my business partner and I, have just done that a second time. Association 4.0™: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Risk, Courage and Transformation is launching at .orgCommunity’s Innovation Summit on February 20. I’m thrilled to send this book out into the community, but it’s also bittersweet.

We tell the stories of 24 entrepreneurs, who we call transformers, and how they built and are evolving companies that serve a changing association industry. These are leaders who love solving tough problems. They use disruption as a gateway to opportunity and confront risk with the cool of derivative traders. The ups and downs of bringing a vision to life have made them fascinating people. For the last year, they have enlightened, entertained and often made us laugh out loud. Each interview took us on a new adventure, and I’m genuinely sorry to see that journey end.

On the other hand, I’m eager to share their wisdom with you. If you are:

• Convinced that your association needs a megadose of change but uncertain how to transform
• Looking to energize a stagnate culture and maximize talent
• Needing to grow membership and engagement
• Eager to innovate and experiment but hemmed in by process and tradition
• Seeking to create an organization driven by curiosity, problem-solving, innovation and passion
• Hoping to ignite the spark of the start-up mentality in your teams

You’ll find so many practical strategies in this book.

Five years ago, Kevin and I realized that major shifts in our industry were on the horizon. More and more of our clients were struggling to meet technology goals because they didn’t have the talent or experience necessary for implementation. Although these organizations were eager to grow, they had been doing business as usual for some years. Managing change was uncomfortable and difficult.

We are experiencing a fourth industrial revolution powered by digital innovations that are transforming business. The environment is fraught with challenges for all industries, especially our own. Our first book, Association 4.0—Positioning for Success in an Era of Disruption, was conceived when we began asking leaders in our network how associations must change to stay relevant. We discovered that the most successful executives are experimenting and iterating to mitigate risk, developing hubs of innovation within their organizations and using the latest technology to gain a deep understanding about their members’ needs. In other words, they are acting like entrepreneurs. This book explores that concept.

The interviews offer examples, benchmarks and questions for leaders who want to meet and exceed the demands of the volatile business environment that we call Association 4.0. Launching at the Innovation Summit is more than appropriate. The event, which takes place in Schaumburg, IL, is focused on introducing association professionals to the people and tools they need to be transformers and to infuse their organizations with the creativity and passion that will capture a new generation of followers.

Writing this book has been a transformation for me as well. I’ve learned that what I enjoy most about being an author is not the final product but the many twists and turns of discovery that it took to get there.