What trends mean for innovation

Trend reports come in all shapes and sizes. This year, even Tik Tok and Instagram launched their very own outlook on the trends that will shape the year to come. While these trend lists serve as a burst of inspiration, they also come with a clear challenge for brands and businesses as to deciding what to do next. Trends are great fuel for innovation, yet acting upon a trend just because it is a trend simply won’t do the trick. Here are three things to consider when using trends in innovation.

1. Use trends as a compass, not as a GPS

Trends are an indication of changes and developments in the marketplace. While they naturally spark innovation, this does not mean you should be blinded by them. They should be used for orientation rather than navigation.

Our 2022 Consumer Trends report bundles 10 consumer trends and the way they are manifesting across the globe. From a quest for ‘extending life’ and ‘inclusive connectivity’ to embracing ‘non-linear lifestyles’, these trends showcase changing consumer attitudes and behavior as well as consumers’ expectations towards brands. The challenge for brands is to take in these sparks of inspiration without necessarily being defined by them.

Innisfree fake paper bottle

2. Challenge a trend’s relevance

Too many innovations are anchored in technological developments. Yet, it is not because you can that you should, as was proven by the Google glass. Similarly, you shouldn’t use a trend as innovation platform simply because it is there. It’s important to understand a trend’s relevance for your brand, your category and your consumer.

Similarly, you should not claim a trend when it is not realistic. We see far too many brands creating ‘green innovations’ just to enter the sustainability game, without rethinking their business as a whole or, even worse, the actual product. An example is what happened with Korean cosmetics company Innisfree that launched a moisturizer in a bottle which the label claimed was made of paper. But one customer sliced open the bottle only to find that it was actually a plastic container wrapped in a thin paper shell.

3. Start from the insight

Once your trend platform defined, it’s important to understand its potential, by evaluating its relevance X freshness X emotional valence. This combination is what we call an insight. The stronger the insight, the higher its business potential and innovation success. In fact, research has shown time and again that ideas and concepts based on validated insights perform significantly better; the unpriced buying intention of concepts based on validated consumer insights score up to 20% higher than concepts based on insights that were not tested upfront.

Trends in action – innovation needs creativity

Knowing which trends to take further in your innovation journey does not guarantee success. The current market reality demands from brands that they take a fresh perspective and explore creative solutions. But not everybody within a team or organization has the skill to come to new and fresh ideas. Not everyone has a knack of thinking outside the box, or is engaged in creating concepts or solutions. Yet in a reality, where creativity is a core differentiator, businesses need to open the gates and connect with the so-called 1%, creative consumers that bring the outside-in perspective required to get to truly fresh ideas.

And this is where creative crowdsourcing comes in, bringing the creative power of the crowd to the table and co-creating the solution space. This is what we have done for the ‘extending life’ trend in our 2022 report. It is a trend the toy industry also is challenged with, as more and more parents are looking for sustainable solutions that are life-stage-specific. To explore the solution space, we set up a creative crowdsourcing contest. Within two weeks, participants from more than 20 different countries joined the contest, which resulted in 53 ideas on how to extend the lifetime of toys and games.

We’d like to showcase what creative crowdsourcing could do for your brand. Request your showcase today!

2022 Consumer Trends Report

2022 Consumer Trends report

As experts in people-centric future thinking, we identified 10 consumer trends for 2022, and we validated these with 15,000 consumers in 17 markets around the globe. This report shows the emerging trends that are shaping the 2022 consumer.

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