2016 Trend Report: A Masterclass with Jeremey Gutsche

Jeremy Gutsche is the CEO of Trend Hunter and the best-selling author of Better & Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas


Better & Faster Workshop at the Front End of Innovation Conference:

Jeremy started with a picture of his partner, his wife, and a story. She was chased for three hours, by zombies. Why? Fire. Bombs. Cannons. Bullets. Rockets. Race to space. Nuclear subs. GPS. Geocatching. Social media. Nike plus. The Walking Dead. In other words, she was doing a zombie run.


All of these breakthroughs just build on one another. Point: you don’t need one big a idea, but a lot of small ideas that build upon one another.


Next came a brief overview: “When we work with companies, we set up innovation accelerators inside companies.” Trend Hunter has an Exploiting Chaos Framework.


Pace of Change exercise

The first exercise in the workshop was the Pace of Change. First step, look at all past behaviors. Then, compare to the present. The analogue used was movies. Peer reviews, text, GPS, pre-bought tickets has utterly changed the behavior. Looking at then-to-now helps.


The second stage of Pace of Change was to forecast five years into the future: now-to-then. For example, movies may be interactive. You may have an avatar in the movie. Video games and movies merge. Interaction and experience have shifted. Perhaps any move may be streamed.


Remember, you are “not preparing for what will happen, but what may be.”


Design Your Own exercise


Design your own hip hotel sprint was the first small group task for this exercise. Personalizing an experience for real people generates actionable ideas. Advice: first hunt for cool. Examples include portable hotels, cave hotels, coffin hotel, and other benchmarks. Next step: look at hotel services including pre-cooked meals, pet spas, in-room massages, wine spas, beer spas, and more.


Now, your team broadens the scope to fashion, museums, tech, etc.: skateboard park inside a museum, social vending machines, so many more.


Now, we cluster all the ideas into trends to recognize patterns. Beware; the first insights need to be discarded because of bias. Dig deeper. Time to re-cluster the data. Develop a variety of points of view. Now, the exercise picks back up: pick one insight and rebuild.


“Because we drove off an insight, we innovated off a much smaller box—and the ideas were more novel,” says Gutsche.


Distopia/Utopia exercise


Ask yourself these things about distopia: What may cause your brand to miss out? What five factors can lead you to failure in five years?


“What are the key levers, the five factors to solve? What can lead to utopia?”


Take your list of factors, now figure out the key two or three that may really make a difference around which you can innovate.


We explored the risks, dreams, fears, and hopes.


This Masterclass was packed, energized and energizing, and a great addition to the conference line up.


Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.