An Avalanche Of Trends To Get You Thinking

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There’s a handy little publication that I make it a habit to check out whenever I have time. In its Aug. 2008 Trend (a consumer trends and insights site) focuses on what they term an innovation avalanche.

The examples come from across the globe and touch all manner of industries, so there are lots of ideas to get you started. Whether you copy what you find here exactly, or the stories inspire you to something that’s unique to your business, the list is a great way to get yourself thinking about innovation.
According to the piece, “There’s more innovation happening than ever before. New brands, new niches, new concepts, new products, new services and new experiences are flooding an equally fast expanding number of markets. Just as important, there are more freely available sources to track these innovations than ever before. And all of this is coming to (if not at) you from every corner of the world. The GLOBAL BRAIN has been unleashed, and there’s nowhere to hide for those who aren’t part of it.”
Start by shaking up your perspective on what innovation is all about.

  1. You don’t need a staff of lab-coated scientists to be innovative, look for new ways to differentiate (and market) yourself.
  2. It doesn’t have to have high purpose or be so serious — sometimes the things we want are trivial… selfish or simply for our own idle amusement.
  3. Keep up with what’s going on all around you — it’s never been easier.

As you scroll through the examples in the piece, think about the innovations in terms of whether they have the potential to help you launch a new venture or new brand, offer something new and different to a particular customer segment .or show those who are on top of the trend that you “get it” too. 
Also, consider the examples in terms of the overall vision you have of your business. For instance, if you’re running an automotive business here in the U.S., you could look at theinnovative approach of UK business HiQ. Recognizing the feelings of customers, the company redesigned its stores with a clean black and white style, easy to understand signs and glass walls — so you can see the work going on in the shop. 
If this approach jives with your business practices and philosophy, you can look for ways to apply the same thinking to your own shop. Maybe you don’t re-design the whole place ($$$!) but you clear out, clean up; rework signs and give customers the option to watch the work being done. Oh and… wash your hands before you shake hands.
If you take the time to go through all 41 examples — they’re short and there are LOTS of pictures, I promise — you’ll be amazed at all the new and different thinking going on. Change is all around us. You don’t have to be in an Internet business, or have deep corporate pockets in order to be an innovator.
In fact, many of the examples are businesses you haven’t heard of… yet.

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