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

Is it possible to download the future? Mine the future for innovation using these 8 strategies

  1. 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.
  2. Visit trade shows outside your industry.
    How can you apply new processes or new technology to your business?
  3. 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?
  4. Read the classics for timeless wisdom to sharpen your thinking.
    Aristotle, Shakespeare, Adam Smith.
  5. Volunteer.
    Volunteering gives you a chance to expand your network, experiment and exercise your creativity.
  6. Learn to be a better listener.
    Find something useful about ideas that annoy you.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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). 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 www.yudkin.com/