Trendwatching 2009 05 Innovation Jubilation


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Trendwatching 2009 05 Innovation Jubilation

  1. 1. is an independent and opinionated consumer trends firm, relying on a global network of hundreds of spotters, working hard to deliver inspiration and pangs of anxiety to business professionals in 120+ countries worldwide. More information at First published in MAY 2009 | By now, virtually everyone has chimed in on how innovation is the only way out of the recession. So instead of adding more theory, let’s have a look at actual B2C innovations from recession-defying entrepreneurs and brands around the world. Good times or bad times, it’s actually somewhat up to you Yes, we all agree that innovation is the only way out of the current mess that both mature and not- so-mature consumer societies find themselves in. We’re talking basically anything that will get con- sumers spending again, and preferably the kind of spending that involves sustainable goods, serv- ices and experiences. Since everyone from Seth Godin to the Harvard Business Review is pro- viding you with excellent, inspiring insights and theory on innovation as a mindset, a process, a way of life, we'd like to contribute to the conversation with examples of actual innovations. As we see it: INNOVATION JUBILATION | There will never be a shortage of smart new ventures, brands, goods and services that deliver on consumersʼ wants and needs. And if those wants and needs currently revolve around practicality, efficiency and responsibility, and less about traditional luxury, splurging and upgrading, then thatʼs what brands should deliver on. Which seems doable, judging from the dozens of recent innovations weʼve rounded up for this briefing, courtesy of our sister-site Springwise. You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 1 / 14
  2. 2. The link between INNOVATION JUBILATION and trends? As fo- cused as we are on emerging consumer trends, we never tire of pointing out that trends are only good for one thing: inspiring you to innovate, to come up with new goods, services and experi- ences for (or even better, with) your customers. Springwise New Business Ideas is’s sister site. Do not miss out! Innovation: not just labs, not always earnest, not necessarily ex- pensive OK, enough preaching, let’s get to practicing: check out these 50+ innovations,* arranged by trends and industries, and all sour- Three more thoughts on innovation: ced from’s sister site Springwise, which • Innovation is not necessarily about people in white coats finds and publishes the best innovations from around the world, puttering about in R&D labs. In an experience economy with the help of 8,000+ Springspotters. Seriously, if you don't yet (which we’re still in, recession or not), marketing innova- subscribe to its weekly newsletter, you're missing out! tion is equally important, and often trumps technical *You may have already seen some of these (hey, we actually hope innovation. you have—if all of the below is new to you, you’ve let your busi- • Furthermore, as consumers’ wants are sometimes frilly, ness intelligence slide...), but we’ve also added some new trend new products and services can be, too. Really, innova- monikers to add context. tion doesn’t have to be so earnest all the time! Have fun with it, too! • Thirdly, doing or starting something new doesn't have to cost the world. Many of the innovations featured in this briefing thrive on nimbleness and creativity, not huge budgets. You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 2 / 14
  3. 3. The FREE LOVE trend will continue to do well, with a dash of GENERATION G thrown in now that recession pains are felt by • Sampling | Created by Belgian marketing and design many. Check out the following FREE LOVE innovations: agency Fosfor, the Boobox is a vending machine de- signed specifically to dole out freebies. More » Sample U is a product testing site where TRYSUMERS are given lab memberships allowing them to take home products and discuss them with friends, in exchange for providing demographic information for market research purposes. More » • Printing | FedEx Office recently drew attention by ex- tending a helping hand to job seekers, offering free print- ing (on March 10th) of up to 25 black-and-white copies of their resume at any of the company's 1,600+ stores across the US. More » • Advertising | Washington DC-based FreePaperCups gives away paper cups with advertisements on them to corporate customers across the US. More » • Retail | An iPhone application developed for 7-Eleven Sweden combines a store locator with coupons for a free coffee and biscotti. After downloading the app, us- ers plug in their phone number and receive a unique • Music | No Doubt is giving away free downloads of their coupon code on their iPhone. To claim their coffee, they entire digital audio catalogue to high-end ticket buyers just show the code to a 7-Eleven clerk; no purchase for the band’s tour, that just kicked off in Atlantic City. necessary. The coupon is only valid once, and free cof- More » fee in April will be followed by free ice cream in May. More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 3 / 14
  4. 4. The trend towards control-craving consumers who actually enjoy doing the work that brands used to do for them (online check-in, Hot on the heels of last month’s briefing on consumers becoming anyone?) is not new, but the innovations that it continues to SELLSUMERS, here are some additional clever new ventures spawn certainly are: that help ordinary consumers make money instead of spending it: • Vending machines | U*tique is an upscale vending ma- • Advertising | British Everyday Models invites consum- chine that dispenses select luxury and personal care ers to rent out aspects of their daily life to advertisers: products handpicked by specialists with backgrounds in whether it's their clothes, car, house or online profile. global beauty, trend-hunting and innovation. More » The idea of individuals renting out their own foreheads or tee-shirts as billboards is not new, but the founders of Everyday Models (British student James Brookner and photographer Matt Garcia) are the first to create a busi- ness model around brokering other people’s posses- sions as ad space. More » • Promotion | Hollrr encourages fans of specific products • Bars | Amsterdam’s Minibar gives patrons access to a for spreading the word to their friends via email, Face- personal minibar and lets them serve themselves. De- book and Twitter, and rewards them with deposits into signed by Dutch design firm Concrete, Minibar offers Amazon Flexible Payment Accounts. The Seattle-based consumers a way to avoid long lines at the bar without website, which is still in beta, has found an innovative having to spring for pricey bottle service. More » way to help small companies launch new products by turning customers into sales(wo)men. More » • Publishing | An initiative from Lexus, Time and American Express Publishing, called mine, allows consumers to • Marketplace for jobs | California-based ShortTask create their own personalized magazines by choosing finds qualified workers for companies in need of help editorial content from Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & with tasks that are too small to justify hiring an em- Wine, Real Simple, Money, InStyle, Golf, and Travel + ployee: think finding articles, or commenting on Leisure. More » More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 4 / 14
  5. 5. Do you really know what you’re selling? Often, providing consum- • Junk removal by students | Washington, D.C.-based ers with the ingredients of a story—with conversation starters—is College Hunks Hauling Junk hires the friendliest and the product. More on that in our STATUS STORIES briefing, but most trustworthy junk haulers at local colleges and uni- here are a few (HYPER-LOCAL) spottings to get you going: versities, and recycles more than 60 percent of the junk they collect. Businesses that are inherently no sexier than this one can learn from College Hunks and their sister business, College Foxes Hauling Boxes, how to brand their service as fun, personable and responsible. More » • Retail | Fortnum & Mason has four hives placed on the roof of its Piccadilly store. Via webcams, customers can watch the bees as they create honey that will eventually be sold in the store. More » • Advertising | Ohio-based DOmedia links up media buy- ers and sellers to place advertisements everywhere from The Fairmont Royal York hotel has installed a three- college student notebooks and phone kiosks to golf hive apiary 14 stories above the streets of Toronto and carts and restrooms. More » the resulting honey is used in the hotel's restaurant kitchen. The response from hotel patrons has been so positive that the hotel plans to install three more hives at other sites this summer. More » • Hotels | Dutch hospitality group La Bergère is decorat- ing a new hotel in Maastricht—dubbed, for now, Hotel X—with furniture and knick-knacks that it's buying from • Jewelry | It's My Scar uses wax renderings based on ordinary consumers, asking them to scour their spare photos of scars sent in by customers to create highly per- rooms and attics for unique chairs, ceramics, board sonal bracelets, rings, earrings and necklaces. More » games and even plants. More » • Retail | A Vida Portuguesa has opened a store exclusively dedicated to Portugal’s unique brands. Customers can find over 1,000 products that have maintained their original packaging, that are made by hand, or that represent tradi- tional Portuguese craftsmanship; everything on stock holds a fragment of the nation’s collective memory. More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 5 / 14
  6. 6. Serving well-established demographics (and their well- documented desires) in novel ways is an endless source of inno- vation. In fact, if your next trend brainstorm fails to produce a few smart new products for babies, teens, women, parents, gays, boomers and so on, then you might as well stop reading now: you will sadly never be a trend innovator. It just doesn’t come easier than this. A few spottings: • Health & wellness | Aiming to offer women some well- deserved relaxation and rejuvenation after they've given birth, Minneapolis/St. Paul-based Go Home Gorgeous offers a variety of in-hospital-room spa services for new mothers. Options include massage, aromatherapy and soothing music. More » • Publishing & personalization | StickieStory is an inter- active storybook from Argentina that allows kids to paste stickers with their own names and photos on the book’s pages as they follow along with the story. More » • Finance | BillMyParents allows parents to monitor their children’s online spending by forwarding any attempted purchases to the parent for them to deny or authorize with a credit card number. The San Diego-based service currently only targets US consumers. More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 6 / 14
  7. 7. OK, so in January we inundated you with GENERATION G (that's G for Generosity, not for Greed) examples, but there is always room for one more: An integral part of GENERATION G, the BRAND BUTLER trend will inspire creative brand professionals to come up with innova- tive campaigns for many years to come. As we suggested before: "Instead of stalking potential and existing customers with tradi- tional advertising, why not assist them in smart, generous, rele- vant ways, making the most of your products and whatever it is your brand stands for?” • Charity & advertising | San Francisco-based Reply- forall is a site that raises money for charities by adding a cause’s information to a user’s e-mail signature. The signature shows information about the cause, along with a mention of one of Replyforall's participating financial sponsors. Replyforall distributes sponsors' payments amongst the causes that users have selected. More » • Airports / Food & beverage | Heineken has teamed up with design agency UXUS to create a 'democratic airport lounge' at Hong Kong's International Airport. The Hei- neken Lounge treats travelers to luxuries and perks typically reserved for first and business class passen- gers, like private conversation nooks, custom-white leather sofas, striking light fixtures and a variety of beer served on tap. More » • Automotive & parking | In the greater New York area, Central Parking System and other parking companies offer half-price parking for Smart fortwo owners. The service, which is a partnership with Smart USA, is based on the notion that drivers shouldn't have to pay full price if their car only takes up half a parking spot. More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 7 / 14
  8. 8. Where will you find the most fertile grounds for innovation? Just follow consumers, and observe what excites them. Nine out of ten times, you’ll end up in the online world. So while many fea- tured innovations in this briefing have an online component, here’s a batch of copy-worthy ideas that are geared even more to enhancing consumers’ online lives, as well as improving intersec- • Security | San Francisco-based startup Legacy Locker tions with the real world (see our OFF = ON briefing for more on entrusts the details of customers’ online accounts, from the latter). And no, it doesn’t hurt that many of these innovations Gmail and Facebook to eBay and PayPal, to assigned are more about creative thinking than having to spend millions beneficiaries in the event of the customer’s death or dis- upfront. ability. More » • Mail | BlueMailCentral lets users send paper mail di- rectly from their computers. After creating a document in Word, Outlook or any other application, customers click 'print' to send their file to one of BlueMailCentral's print- ing partners, which prints the document and delivers it • Food & beverage | Hot croissants or cookies? Baker to its destination. More » Tweet is a technology that alerts customers via Twitter • Also check out California-based Zumbox, which has any time a fresh batch of baked goods emerges from a created an online mailbox for every residence and busi- participating bakery’s oven. The service is still in proto- ness street address in the US, allowing any US citizen to type form at the Albion Cafe in London, but it could be send and receive all-digital mail for free. More » easily be duplicated to provide potential customers eve- rywhere with up-to-the-minute information about all kinds of products. More » • Notifications | Telegram Stop lets customers compose • Restaurants | Kogi Korean BBQ sells their signature classic-looking paper telegrams online—complete with tacos primarily through two trucks in the Los Angeles the traditional “stop” in place of periods—and delivers area. In order to know where to find them, customers them to any country. More » follow Kogi on Twitter, and it's not unusual to find hun- dreds of the company’s 19,000+ Twitter friends lined up and socializing while awaiting their turn at the Kogi truck. More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 8 / 14
  9. 9. As if our loooooooong briefing on green innovations this February (ECO-BOUNTY) wasn't enough, here is yet another batch of ex- amples from entrepreneurs preparing for the coming eco/green/ ET bonanza: • Transport | Wi-Drive is a green, weekday bus service that offers high-end transportation for San Francisco commuters. By emulating the comfort of a limousine • Bicycles / Rentals | Bike-sharing programs are cropping with amenities like leatherette seats, wifi, LCD screens up all over Asia, from YouBike rentals in Taipei that are and iPod ports, Wi-Drive is giving green commuter free for the first 30 minutes, to similar programs transportation a luxury spin likely to be emulated in cities launched in Taiwan, Changwon, Korea and Hangzhou. around the world. More » More » • Bicycles / Being spaces | Cycle2City, the first full- • Supermarkets / Delivery | British supermarket chain service facility for bicycle commuters in Australia, pro- Waitrose is launching a series of new green initiatives vides cyclists with a place to store and repair their bikes, including eco-minded handcarts and bicycles for gro- take a shower and change into business attire. As the cery delivery to local consumers. More » number of cycling commuters grows around the world, so will the need for other services that ease the transi- tion from four wheels to two. More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 9 / 14
  10. 10. If there’s one trend that has taken longer to become mass than These cash-strapped times are perfectly suited to entrepreneurs we expected, it’s TWINSUMERS. But we’re sticking with our with a soft spot for group buying and ‘intention economy’ con- prediction that one day, everything of interest to consumers will cepts. For some of our earlier thoughts and examples, reread our be evaluated based on experiences and opinions of fellow con- CROWD CLOUT briefing. Recent spottings include the follow- sumers with similar lifestyles (yup, their ‘twins’, consumption- ing: wise). A recent TWINSUMER manifestation worth checking out: • Finance | When Dutch consumers register with Spaar- bod, the service automatically compares interest rates from various banks and gets the banks to bid on a saver's funds. More » • Parenting / Retail | CrowdSprout lets groups of parents interested in purchasing the same item (think high chairs or cradles or diaper bags) band together to get a better • Q & A | Led in part by Flickr cofounder Caterina Fake, price by bidding, and committing to making the pur- Hunch is an online decision-making tool that gets to chase only if enough other buyers join. Whether it's to know a user through his or her answers to seemingly buy a stroller or a soccer team, crowd clout is becoming random questions. Based on those answers, Hunch a force for vendors to contend with. More » aligns users with other people that are like them—their twinsumers—and can offer personalized answers to complex questions like: "Should I go to medical school?" More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 10 / 14
  11. 11. Yes, maps are the new interface. And as discussed in our January briefing covering (along with other trends) MAPMANIA, this may well be the year in which all things ‘contextual’, ‘app’, ‘local’, ‘ur- ban’, 'tags', 'lidar', ‘smartphone’, ‘convenience’, 'Cell ID', ‘spon- taneity’, ‘infolust’ and ‘GPS’ finally come together in one orgas- mic celebration of map-based tracking, finding, knowing and connecting. The following innovations certainly help: • Finance | ING Wegwijzer, an application built for the T- Mobile G1 (Google) phone, allows users to locate the nearest ATM simply by pointing their phone's camera in any direction, with nearby ATMs showing up on the dis- play. More » • Travel / Music | Amplified Journeys is a site from UK- based sound system manufacturer Harman Kardon that gives users driving directions and matching playlists of location-inspired music based on preferred artists or musical genres. More » • Restaurants | Patrons at Wagaboo restaurants in Ma- drid and Barcelona can now reserve specific table on- line. What sector is next to succumb to consumers’ re- lentless search for the Best of the Best? More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 11 / 14
  12. 12. HYPER-LOCAL is another innovation favorite: truly local services, fueled (paradoxically) by the advent of borderless technology. Closely linked to the drivers behind MAPMANIA and (STILL) MADE HERE, this trend will continue to create opportunities for • Housing | Neighbo is an online platform in the UK that smart entrepreneurs: brings together neighbors, tenants and landlords to help improve both practical issues and social connections, using widgets, calendars and forums. More » • Publishing | The Local is a community of news and in- formation websites from The New York Times, catering to the residents of five areas in New York and New Jersey: Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Maplewood, Millburn and South • Ecommerce / Delivery | Enabling customers of partici- Orange. Combining both professional and citizen journal- ism, and targeting stories toward specific communities, pating retailers to receive their packages wherever it's The Local could be one of the new models that struggling convenient, PickupZone is a network of neighborhood pickup points, from convenience stores to dry cleaners. newspapers are desperately looking for. More » The company is currently active throughout the Boston area, but aims to expand farther afield in the near future. More » • Publishing | The Printed Blog is an independent outlet that aggregates user-generated, online content, and pub- lishes it in print to create a fully tactile newspaper that functions like a web feed, but can still be spread out across the breakfast table or enjoyed on the train. More » • MyGofer is a warehouse-style concept where Illinois shoppers can browse products online and then drive to a local Sears store for curbside pickup. Which combines the convenience and selection of an online store with the immediacy of a bricks and mortar retailer. More » • Hotels / Restaurants | Loews Hotels' Adopt-a-Farmer promotes local farming while providing its guests with food made from locally-sourced, seasonal, organic and sustainable ingredients. More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 12 / 14
  13. 13. We (just like other trend firms, no doubt) are being deluged with requests for ‘recession trends’. Now, as we've stated before, we feel the short-term effects of this recession are pretty straightfor- While we understand that most of you must be suffering from an ward: many consumers have less to spend. And others might not overdose of crowdsourcing examples, it is one of those trends be feeling the pain yet, but are worried enough to curb their that not only keeps growing, but also effortlessly absorbs other spending. Which means that purchases become pragmatic, with emerging ‘themes’. For one, check out how the current recession consumers cutting down on the non-essential, with the exception makes it more rewarding for SELLSUMERS to participate in any of a few comforting indulgences, often with a nostalgic, good- kind of co-creation project, or how the below 'crowd' initiative old-times twist . cleverly incorporates GENERATION G and ECO-BOUNTY: Long term, there's definitely a chance of a HAPPY ENDING as (some) consumers will find out that many non-essential expendi- tures are just that: non-essential. Anyway, we aim to please, so here are some worthy innovations making the most of 'less', or the most of 'longing'. • Automotive | Netherlands-based c,mm,n is an initiative that aims to create a model for sustainable cars, starting with a community-designed prototype. The car's blue- prints are publicly available under an open source li- cense, so its design can be used and modified by others as long as any derived works are shared with the public. • Mobile telephony | New Jersey-based Rentobile pro- More » vides a wide selection of the latest cell phones for rent on a monthly basis so that consumers can try out vari- ous devices without being limited by a long term con- tract. A Netflix for phones, indeed. More » • Finance | Borro is an online pawnbroker that provides short term loans to customers who cannot borrow from banks, or who have maxed out their other options. Offer- ing them cash for jewelry, gold and memorabilia, the site brings an ancient system into the 21st century. More » You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 13 / 14
  14. 14. • FMCG | Häagen-Dazs Five is an all-natural ice cream made from only five ingredients—skim milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks and one of a few natural flavors like mint, ginger and coffee. What makes the product stand out is its simplicity; in uncertain times, bringing back the classics can appeal to consumers’ nostalgia. More » From gloomy times to horn of plenty? ;-) To beat you over the head with it one more time: yes, the econ- omy sucks, and no, cutting costs will not lead to a race to the • Finance | Through online-only applications, British top, but a race to the bottom. Which means you’ll have to inno- startup Wonga offers tiny, month-long instant loans of vate, by anticipating emerging trends. All this briefing has tried to GBP 50 to GBP 200, and encourages prompt repayment do is provide you with examples of brands already practicing by rewarding responsible borrowers with good ratings what the gurus are preaching. and increased flexibility on future transactions. More » The both scary and jubilant part? Wherever you live, whatever it is you do, you have absolutely no excuse to be unaware of innova- tions originating in Australia, in the Netherlands, in the US, in Ar- gentina, in Singapore, in South Africa ... It’s all out there, reported on 24/7 by sources dedicated to trends and new business ideas. So, get into gear and good luck! And once you've joined the jubi- lation, be sure to let us or Springwise know about your innova- tive new products and services :-) • Housing | Wanna Start a Commune helps its members to harness the power of shared resources (read: saving money by living together), with tools like a downloadable starter pamphlet, and potluck and workshop planning information. Three pilot projects are already underway in the Los Angeles area. More » is an independent and opinionated consumer trends firm, relying on a global network of hundreds of spotters, working hard to deliver inspiration and pangs of anxiety to business professionals in 120+ countries worldwide. More information at You are reading a PDF version of one of our free monthly Trend Briefings. More at: ! ! ! ! ! 14 / 14