Understanding the Trends of the Future

We all plan for the future, whether it’s a purchase, a decision, an event or lifestyle. However, with the rise of technological disruption in many industries, getting a grasp and understanding of the future is difficult.

Predicting 20 or even 10 years out is difficult with the pace of change accelerating. A simple example is by looking at the rate of transistors. Gordon Moore, who was the co-founder of Intel made an observation in 1965 that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention. This has held true. Resulting in a pace of change that’s increasing.

We live in a world that does not only have one technology that’s growing exponentially but several. From healthcare to finance. That’s why to understand the trends of the future, it requires data while understanding both the macro and micro trends.

Recently the Trend Hunter team, led by Jeremy Gutsche, a research firm was able to categorize and share their insights for 2018 at their Future Festival in Toronto. While there are 6 Patterns of Opportunity and Top 18 Megatrends, below are just a few trend insights for businesses:

Omnichannel Assistance

People don’t buy through one method anymore. With the use of mobile, desktop or even tablet, it’s much easier than walking into a store to buy those headphones. But how about that purse, or tie, or that dress? How it looks and fits on you will be different and you need to go to the store for it. So what retailers are able to do is help make shopping, either online through e-commerce or in-store brick and mortar, much more seamless. A company can even help locate products from different locations and have it shipped to the customer, while the customer is in store.

The findSimilar app allows you to shop any look just by taking a picture. Whether it’s on the street or watching a movie.

Incentivized Mobile

As the landscape of apps become more democratic, standing out and monetizing becomes much more difficult. Apps are offering free rewards such as data or money in exchange for usage. This allows a younger audience to monetize their downtime. This lets companies to go around ad blockers and interact with the cost-conscious consumers.

The myADs app allows users to receive money when watching advertisements

Interactive Display and Merchandising

By using screens to create a more interactive experience for customers, grocery stores such as Whole Foods’ is able to immerse the customer in their store. Similarly, stores are able to analyze shopper data and offer assistance, responsive in-store display. Taking one step forward, the dynamic in-store display can be expanded to dynamic pricing.

Managerial Education

As the pace of change is accelerating, employees need to consistently be staying on top of the latest trends and technologies. Often the skills and/or the knowledge is known within the company, but not equally distributed. As such companies like Airbnb started a ‘Data University’ to teach their own employees and staff about the power of data.

Out of all the trends, education is the key. As this is the only one that will allow organizations to consistently be aware of the trends and what their customers are doing. It’s the only trend that should have been started from the inception of every company.

“What great ideas are close to your grasp?” mentions Gutsche during the Future Festival. Gutsche, who also is the author of the book Better and Faster, was able to share that these trends and insights to help businesses jump ahead of their competition.

As trends keep changing, a business must build in processes and structures within their organizations to act on it. Because ultimately, knowledge of trends without action is just a dinner conversation.

Najeeb Khan is an author, entrepreneur and an innovation strategist. He’s giving The Huffington Post readers a free copy of his new business innovation book. You can follow him on twitter and see his weekly innovation reports.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.