4 Ways to Use Trends
We have been asked, “With so many trend reports out there, which ones should I pay attention to?” This is a great question and we can provide some suggestions. Here are 4 to get you started:
- Inspiration - Pick a few trends that pique your interest and use them as a basis for a brainstorming session by developing ‘How Might We’ statements to get ideas rolling. Examples: Trend: Everyone wants to save time leads to How might we cut down on the number of steps needed to use our service or product?; How might we get our users to the end result faster? If you’re having a difficult time thinking of relevant ‘How Might We’ statements, then move on to a new trend - no sense wasting time. Here’s an example of how a trend can evolve into new ideas in similar and different industries - Hands free operation - I’ll never forget the first time I used a toilet that I didn’t have to flush; it was magical and hygienic! Hands-free faucets that turned on without touching the handle were also on the market and found in public restrooms. Since those early applications many other hands-free products have popped up using similar technology or in new ways. Some of the latest are the Google Home and Amazon Echo products - you want to turn on your lights? Just ask! You want to know the weather or play your favorite music? Just ask…their wish is your command! How might you apply hands-free operation in your industry?
- Extrapolation - Track the trends in a particular industry to help predict what might come next in your category or determine where your industry can go. Trends can be one resource that help you develop a great multi-year innovation strategy for new products or services. You need an end point in mind in order to develop this plan and trends can help you imagine what that endpoint or ideal experience might be. For example - Many companies are working on self-driving vehicles. Can your company cater to the needs of passengers of self-driving cars? What will their new experiences be like and how can it be the best experience?
- Modification - Using trends to make tweaks or modifications to plans in place are a great way to make sure you are heading in the right direction. Perhaps you have a new product launch planned for the near future, now is the time to make sure the color, materials and finishes are relevant and appreciated by your user. On a grander scale, Amazon Go is a new retail experience in which the customer walks in, selects the items they want to buy from the shelves and walks out, no check out necessary. Other retailers should be thinking about the modifications they need to make to their shopping experience quicker and more convenient.
- Validation - Trends can be used to validate an existing strategy in place, providing further evidence that your plans are right on track. This can be done on a regular basis in a variety of ways including scheduling trend trips, visiting trade shows and events or reading publications that provide the state of the art in a variety of industries.
There are many ways to use trends, these are just a few basic ideas to get you started.