4 Important Innovation Trends To Watch This Year

There’s no time to rest; close your eyes for a moment and the world will continue marching ever forward. Keeping up with such rapid change is a more-than-full-time job which makes getting ahead a true challenge.

Innovating, then, is harder than ever. If you jot down your dream in the morning, somebody might have taken it public by the time you step out of the shower. Luckily, we at Team Blrt have our fingers on the pulse of innovation (we have one of our own… a pulse and an innovation, that is) and are here to walk you through the four most important innovation trends that will impact the foreseeable future.

Here are 4 important #innovation trends to watch this year. #ideasboom Click To Tweet

Big Data

Organizations of all sizes and individuals alike are contributing to the collection of more data than we can ever hope to process. Forbes reported in September 2015 that more data had been generated in the prior two years than in the entire history of mankind before that (that’s right: there is even data being collected about data collection).

Think about quitting time at work. Even ten years ago this involved little in the way of data: you walked to your car, popped in a CD, drove home, watched TV (whatever was on… maybe a DVD) and went to bed.

Now? Your Fitbit tracks the steps you take to your car, your car stereo automatically connects to your phone and shuffles your favorite songs based on data it’s collected from your listening habits, your GPS app tracks your progress on the road and sends that data to the mothership in order to generate live traffic updates for yourself and other users, your smart thermostat detects that you’re close to home and switches on the climate control in your house (and will eventually learn your routine so it no longer has to wait for that signal from you) all before you have dinner (which maybe you track in a dieting app) while watching a show Netflix knew you would like based on your viewing habits.

All this to say: rare is the thing not being measured these days. Those who ignore this trend do so at their own peril and the rewards are there for those who find a way to effectively harness the power of all that data and use it to fuel their innovation. Innovators who are able to read between the lines of this dizzying amount of information have the opportunity to react nimbly in order to beat their competitors to the next big thing.

#BigData represents an opportunity for #innovation - if you know how to use it. #ideasboom Click To Tweet

Design Thinking

Speaking of getting ahead, we’ve looked into design thinking on this very blog. Design thinking isn’t exactly a new phenomenon (designers, after all, have been doing it from day one) but its application in other contexts is a rather new phenomenon and has led to some haphazard (and incorrect) implementation in some cases.

Design thinking is concerned with improving user experiences rather than merely solving a problem (or selling a product, as it were). Where products or services have traditionally been designed to solve some problem (and thus be valuable enough to sell at a profit), design thinking is more interested in the creation of value.

Practitioners of design thinking don’t just want you to buy something – they want you to feel something when you use the product. What’s the difference between having an old fashioned at a pub and one at a meticulously decorated speakeasy? Design thinking. The drink is the same, the experience of drinking it is not.

We get into much more detail about how to practice design thinking in our blog post dedicated to the subject, but here’s the quick and dirty: Design thinking involves reversing the equation of production and placing value (rather than result) after the equal sign. Rather than asking “what can be done [price it competitively] with this thing [cocktail] to get this result [somebody buys it]?” a design thinker asks instead, “what things [cocktails] can I put through what process [atmosphere, theatre] to create value [escape from the everyday]?”.

Are you using #DesignThinking correctly? Use it properly for better #innovation. #ideasboom Click To Tweet

The Sharing Economy

Ever ask about some new service or app only to hear it’s the “Uber of _____”? You are not the only person to experience this particular brand of nausea but behind the rapidly-forming migraine this phrase induces is a sliver of truth: the sharing economy is taking over.

The sharing economy eliminates the middle man in most industries in which that middle man has gained almost absolute power. Uber – everybody’s favorite example – cuts out the middle man of a taxi management company. When you hail a driver on Uber, that driver is working for himself and usually in his own car. In this way the sharing economy is really a peer-to-peer network that utilizes resources that were previously being underused (like a car just sitting in the garage after work and on weekends). The logistics vary from concept to concept (we previously looked at how GoGet carshare works) but sharing is always caring.

It may seem counter-intuitive to include the sharing economy on a list of innovation trends (after all, what’s innovative about being the ____ of anything?) but the big idea behind the movement is the trend to watch. Society is shying away from the control of previously omnipotent institutions ranging from banks (being undercut by cryptocurrencies and fintech services – see below) to hotel chains (being disrupted by services like Airbnb). It raises an important question for any innovator to consider: how does your idea work in this new economy?

The #ShareEconomy is an important #innovation trend to watch this year. #ideasboom Click To Tweet

Fintech

Fintech is short for “financial technology” and is, admittedly, more of a new sector than a trend. However, as with the sharing economy, any innovator needs to pay attention to what is happening with Fintech.

Banks have held most of the financial power in the world for some time… but not for much longer. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are gaining legitimacy in the marketplace and online-only banks are able to undercut the big boys by foregoing the costs associated with operating brick-and-mortar branches.

Stock trading apps like Robinhood (we talked about that, too!) are offering zero-commission trades by outsourcing the trading to the user while banks are still trying to charge customers for this ‘service’. Even smaller loans are now being executed on a peer-to-peer level (where Fintech meets the sharing economy) through services like Nimble.

Are you paying attention to #FinTech? There is a lot to learn for those looking to #innovate. #ideasboom Click To Tweet

Bringing innovation trends together

The lessons to be derived from all of these innovation trends can, amazingly, be combined into one consideration for your innovation: using the data in a way that nobody else has, what lean (potentially peer-to-peer) process can you put your ‘product’ through to create value that ideally can be shared?

This is the blueprint for innovation in the months to come and Blrt is a great tool to help you organize such an undertaking. If you have an idea, there’s no time like the present to reach out and Blrt the people who can help you turn it into reality:

About Blrt

Blrt helps you get your point across quickly by allowing you to talk, point and draw over images, documents and websites. The resulting video-like recording is called a Blrt.

Your Blrts require much less bandwidth than video and can be shared with anyone on mobile or desktop. This makes Blrt ideal for both collaboration and the creation and sharing of dynamic content, as public Blrts can be embedded into any webpage.

Once recorded, Blrts are stored in the cloud and are exchanged with others in a conversation-like fashion. A record is kept of the exchange, and new parties and media can be added at any time.

Blrt shifts time and place, allowing users in a conversation to participate in their own time. In an era where activity-based working and distributed teams are commonplace, Blrt is revolutionising the way people interact to get things done.

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