Creativity at Work Value Creation

Mine the Future for Innovation

Is it possible to download the future?

If you want to see the future coming, 90 percent of what you need to learn, you’ll learn outside of your industry. There is nothing that you can learn from inside your industry that will help you get ready for the future. Literally nothing, because you already know it.”
~ Gary Hamel

Practice mining the future using these 8 strategies:

  1. Delphic oracle: Know thyself.
    Who are you and what do you stand for? This is your foundation and compass at the individual and organizational level. Take time out  for contemplation, reflection and any activity that puts you in the creative flow: Running, walking, meditation, art-making etc.
  2. Once a week, read trade magazines from a different industry.
    Find two things in every issue that relate to your business or provoke new thinking.
  3. Learn to be a better listener.
    Find something useful about ideas that annoy you.
  4. Volunteer.
    Volunteering gives you a chance to expand your network, experiment and exercise your creativity.
  5. Read the classics for timeless wisdom to sharpen your thinking.
    Aristotle, Shakespeare, Adam Smith.
  6. Visit art galleries, museums, and attend cultural events.
    What are the arts reflecting back to you. What can art teach you about coping with change, ambiguity and paradox?
  7. Visit trade shows outside your industry.
    How can you apply new processes or new technology to your business?
  8. Observe and track trends.
    Trend spotting is a useful creativity tool to help uncover innovative potential. Successful trend spotting will allow you to determine which trends are commercially viable to exploit.
  • Practice  trend spotting as a means of expanding your perceptions,  and finding hidden patterns.
  • Learn to make connections  between seemingly unrelated phenomena, (the trend and your business) and
  • Generate ideas for innovation, such as  finding new ways to connect with your customer, new products/services

Marcia Yudkin’s advice for spotting trends:

  • Watch early adopters. If you have friends who always buy the latest gizmo or a teenager who leads the pack, observe what they get most excited about.
  • Track new laws. Reason your way to new tools and assistance folks will need to comply.
  • Listen and ask. What new complaints do you hear in daily conversations?
    What weird questions are coming in on your email or to your company receptionist?
  • Notice unexpected customers. Are you getting orders from surprising locations or demographic groups? This might indicate the need for an innovative marketing effort.
  • Note coincidences. When some particular surprise pops up twice in one week, it often indicates a trend. Stay alert and you may detect more examples of a phenomenon that you can take advantage of. Don’t get blindsided by change. Develop your own crystal ball! Source: Marketing Minute Newsletter

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One of my favourite websites for tracking consumer trends is This month they are featuring “Flawsome” brands:

Consumers don’t expect brands to be flawless. In fact, consumers will embrace brands that are FLAWSOME: brands that are still brilliant despite having flaws; even being flawed (and being open about it) can be awesome. Brands that show some empathy, generosity, humility, flexibility, maturity, humor, and (dare we say it) some character and humanity.”


Happy Creating,

Linda Naiman


The Creativity at Work Newsletter provides overviews of new research in creativity and innovation, ‘best practices’ of leading organizations, links to new or relevant websites and an array ideas and techniques from innovation experts.

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