There’s no question that we are living in exciting times. There are multiple trends, technological and otherwise, that are blossoming and can be leveraged if you take the time to put in some work. Follow this simple three step process and you’ll be much better equipped for leveraging the power of trends in your business.
Research and understand trends that are shaping the landscape.
As a primer, here’s a quick list of some trends that are shaping the world right now.
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
- Smart Cars
- Artificial Intelligence
- Phone (and batteries) That Charge at a Distance
Some other Consumer Retail Trends:
- Leveraging the Crowd
- Subscription Services (Dollar Shave Club)
- 3-D Printing
- Maker Movement
- Product Personalization
- Sharing Economy
- Uberization (I agree with Fast Company. Uber isn’t Sharing Economy but it is a new model)
- Multiple Platform Sales
- Social Media and Online Communities
- Preference for Ethically Responsible Brands
- Product Co-Creation
- Increased Biometric Use
Also check out Trendhunter (where I contribute from time to time 😉 ) Trendwatching, and Cassandra with their Cassandra Daily Newsletter. The trends on these sites can be quite provocative and are great for jump-starting creative thoughts.
Steps 2 and 3!
2. List the main positive and negative attributes of your product.
3. Look for intersections between your product attributes and the trends and create products that enhance the positives or negate the negatives
For example. Let’s say that your company makes paper-based notebooks.
Positive Attributes: Convenient; Creates hard copy; Can be used with various media (pen, pencil, paint, crayon, etc.); Highly secure; Can be digitally copied (copy machine, phone picture, etc.); Difficult to forge; Low-cost; Recyclable; Personal
Negative Attributes: Needs to be on hand to use; Must do additional work to digitally archive; Uses/wastes paper; If recycled then must be copied; Have to purchase at stores either in bulk or as needed but then have to run to the store; ???
- Have a QR code 10 pages from the end of the notebook that automatically orders (when scanned) more notebooks before running out (Better than a subscription service because it’s on-demand) This data can be used to then understand ordering patterns.
- Enable customization of notebooks (paper designs -lined/graph/etc, covers, etc.) via online portal or app
- Have a sensor embedded 10-20 pages from the end that when written on automatically purchases another notebook and mails it
- Use non-wood pulp papers
- Create an online community where people can design notebook covers for each other
- Deliver notebooks by drone
- Create notebooks from text messages
- Create an augmented reality app that enables someone to ‘write’ on various products/locations/etc. to capture ideas virtually
- Create a wearable that can tell what you’re writing and store it digitally, automatically
- Provide notebooks that are customized for online courses and heighten student interactivity
- Notebook covers contain solar panels and/or batteries for recharging digital devices. These can also be charged via movement/carrying.
- Use biometrics to lock/unlock paper notebooks
- Create luxury notebooks
- Personalize notebooks with a chamber that contains a friend/family member’s DNA from a kiss (think lipstick on an envelope…remember snail mail? 😉 )
- Create Notebooks from pulp made from trees or branches that grew on property that held emotional import
- Grow bamboo (at home?) or more likely, you pay an amount to lease a portion of a bamboo field from which pulp is harvested to create your own notebooks. It’s a notebook/paper co-op (I LOVE this idea. Anyone that wants to do it, please contact me 🙂 )
As you can see, just by bouncing notebook attributes against the various trends, I came up with 16 ideas for new products. (Not only does this process supplement existing product lines, but you can use it to create brand new markets. Just start with some existing product line attributes, bounce it against trends and create new products irrespective of what your industry is!)
There’s no excuse for being left in the dust of technology and an evolving world. Follow this simple 3 step process, and you’ll find yourself successfully creating products as the world changes. 🙂
Here are some other tech trends for your reading enjoyment 🙂
- 3d Printing
- Active Participation in Advertising
- Changes in Healthcare Funding
- Reshaping Education via Online Training
- Online Portals Reshaping Retail
- The Device Mesh (Connected products of all kinds)
- Ambient User Experience (Seamless experiences spanning devices)
- 3d Printing Materials
- Obtaining Information from Everything
- Advanced Machine Learning
- Autonomous Agents and Things (Next gen Siri, Cortana, etc.)
- Adaptive Security Architecture
- Advanced System Architecture (Computers that function more like brains)
- Mesh App and Service Architecture
- Internet of Things Architecture and Platforms
A pdf Report from Deloitte touches on much of the Forbes stuff and more