We have spotted seven hot trends for propelling forward-looking innovators, writes Giulia Calabretta, Tor W. Andreassen and Line L. Olsen, researchers at BI Norwegian Business School.


RESEARCH @BI: Service innovation

Pippin, Hockey Puck, Lisa, and Newton all share one thing: they are part of Apple’s top 10 innovation flops. Few consumers could believe that Apple has several flops on its record.

How can a company with innovation as one of its core ideologies develop new products that few consumers want to adopt? 

Two basic mistakes often made are misreading consumer needs or misreading the timing of launching new products. The result is, according to a study, that only one out of ten innovations are commercially successful, making innovation a high-risk sport.

Future thinking as a structured approach to innovation could reduce such painful oversights. Future thinking for innovation uses environmental scanning and trend analysis of people and technologies to envision promising directions in consumer lifestyle, attitudes, and behaviors.

Here at BI, within the Value-Driven Service Innovation project, we are continuously collecting data for monitoring hot trends in consumer lifestyle in order to offer innovators a vehicle for their future thinking.

The last results spotted seven trends for propelling forward-looking innovators.

1. Mobility

Namely the progressive normalization of moving from place to place, for short or long distances, for short or long periods, and for professional and leisure reasons.

Moving is not only cheaper, but also less demanding in terms of personal stress and adaptation costs. Thus, it is easier to embrace a life on the go.

2. Always logged-in

Namely the compulsive need of accessing information and services at any time and from anywhere. People are turning more and more demanding when it comes to access to their virtual life and to intangible services, since all what is intangible and virtual should be always accessible.

3. Return on Time

Since time is scarce, people claim optimal benefit from their time allocation.  Individuals optimize their return on time when they can free as many time slots as possible and fill them with the maximum number of self-fulfilling experiences.

4. Quality information faster

Data digitalization and low circulation costs ignited an explosion in information load daily received by people. In their quest for return on time, individuals feel that efficient tools for filtering and organizing information could help their cause. Effortless quality in information fruition paves the way for optimizing daily time allocation.

5. Nowism

People increasingly engage themselves, and spend money, in activities with high experiential content and whose benefit is quickly redeemable. Though experiential consumption is not new, nowism (the term has been created by the trend firm trendwatching.com ) adds urgency to it: time for contemplating previous experiences is over; individuals are quickly ready to move to the next one.

6. Look at me now! 

In the age of fast experiential consumption people are attracted by challenges, since tackling the impossible, showcasing skills and mastering knowledge are ultimate sources of pleasure. Individuals reach satisfaction by impressing an appreciative audience with what they know and craft, rather than with what they consume. 

7. Privacy

In the noise of quick experiential consumption concern about information disclosure, information misuse and fraudulent behaviors remains high. Particularly, the digitalization of personal information (i.e., health, physical location) in a common virtual location creates concerns and wearisome trade-offs.

Is knowing the trends enough for making innovation a risk-free game?

Obviously not, and this is when companies should take the floor: the next step is internalizing, connecting, and embedding the trends into idea generation routines and let them nurture innovation efforts. Some will call this being market oriented.


The article is based on "Value-driven service innovation", a research project at BI Norwegian Business School. The article is published in BI Marketing Magazine 2011.  


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