Guessing The Future – Provocation Sparks Creativity

light bulb comes on

At the start of a new year, it is almost inevitable that you will try to guess how the future will evolve.  It is also well known that forecasting is dangerous and most often wrong.  How can you guess what surprises may be ahead of you?  Perhaps the best advice is to generate as many ideas as you can so that you maximize the chance that at least one of these ideas will be close to what develops.

You might consider the methods suggested by a company like MindTools for generating new ideas.  As their slogan suggests you should Think Differently and Spark Creativity.

That brings to mind a book published on Sep 25, 1972 entitled PO: A Device for Successful Thinking, which was written by Edward De Bono and is illustrated in the image on the right.  His thesis was that instead of responding with an immediate yes or no to surprising ideas you should use the word Po.  This is at the heart of words like possibility, hypothesis, poem and requires that you suspend disbelief for a time and explore what the consequences might be if this surprising idea should be a reality.

This whole train of thought was triggered by something produced by JWTIntelligence.

JWTIntelligence is a center for provocative thinking that is a part of JWT, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand. We make sense of the chaos in a world of hyper-abundant information and constant innovation – finding quality amid the quantity. We focus on identifying changes in the global zeitgeist so as to convert shifts into compelling opportunities for brands. We have done this on behalf of multinational clients across several categories including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, and home and personal care.

That is pretty heady stuff and I was particularly intrigued to see their Executive Summary of a report they have produced called 10 Trends for 2013.    Here below is a slide presentation of these ten trends.

In their introduction, they highlight that new technology continues to take center stage.  They also put a spotlight on health, examining, in two separate trends, the rising awareness around the impact of stress and happiness on our overall well-being and how businesses are addressing it.

The ten trends they cover are the following:

  1. Play as a competitive advantage
  2. The super stress area
  3. Intelligent objects
  4. Predictive personalization
  5. The mobile fingerprint
  6. Sensory explosion
  7. Everything is retail
  8. Peer power
  9. Going private in public
  10. Health and happiness: hand in hand

The  JWTIntelligence website is very worth exploring and includes a longer list of 100 Things to Watch in 2013.  Here is a summary slide of the 100 ideas.

jwt 100 things to watch in 2013

If you are looking for some provocative ideas to spark your creativity, then I am sure you will find it in that long list.  It certainly represents a very rich source of potential opportunities.

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