February 1, 2012

12 Days of Innovation for Marketers – Day 3 – Trendwatching.com

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. – Albert Einstein

Today’s innovation feature is for the passionate curious who love not just the items of innovation – but a contextual frame for them.

The frame of reference is critically important to enabling an improved organizational dialogue, led by marketers.  A product innovation must be positioned.  The concept in and of itself is invention; context delivers the shared value construct, the mechanisms of durability and the problem solved/disruption created.

While the MIT Media Labs define inside-out innovation, from the perspective of the type of interaction; Trendwatching.com defines innovation from the factors of disruption and influences driving change.  The latter is an outside-in approach.  It is helpful in creating conversation among marketers, product people, researchers and those who control the budgetary purse strings (when the CFO becomes necessary to fund bigger investments).

So, we used the example of Cognitive Machines from the MIT Media Labs.  It’s important but not exactly approachable.  With Trendwatching, tens of smaller trends are aggregated to bigger movements:  human factors, data consumption, product dimensions (like price), game-like interactions or location-based approaches.

Some of the trends they wrote of in the 2012 round up include:

Having had a fair amount of innovation conversations over the years, experience has taught me that an approach like D:Decide & Discover is far easier to process than “sensor or trigger-detected interactions.”  It’s the democratization of innovation – out of the hands of the few and accessible to many more people in the organization.

However, it is not just the framework that makes these assiduously researched trendwatchers worthwhile.  They back up their case for a trend with emerging and real examples.  While this means the disruption is already in process (which leaves you with a need to really determine how and what to use with speed), it helps make the case that the change is underway.


One of the world’s leading trend firms, trendwatching.com scans the globe for emerging consumer trends, insights and innovations.  They bring you hundreds of examples of things that you didn’t know already existed.  For instance, January’s free briefing brings you 12 must-know consumer trends (in random order) for you to run with in the next 12 months.

Cristene, Kevin and Debbie

@hermione1, @cunningham_kev, @zebbierebs