Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold


image“Fortune favors the bold.” — Virgil

If you know key trends, you get surprised less, you can anticipate more, and you can use what’s happening in the world around you to thrive in work and life.

2016 is the Year of the Monkey in Chinese astrology.

According to Oprah, motivation is the watchword for 2016.

2016 is also …

The Year of the Bold

2016 is the year of the bold.  Individuals and organizations are going for big, bold, goals.

Google wants to cure aging and death with Calico.  IBM wants to create a safer planet.  Microsoft wants to empower every person on the planet.

Richard Branson and Virgin formed the Global Goals Alliance to team up on the Global Goals: a set of ambitious, but achievable milestones that will change the world for the better for everyone.  People around the world will fight poverty, hunger, climate change and more.

There is the “Smart Cities” Initiative where city leaders are collaborating with universities and industries to fight crime, foster economic growth, manage the effects of a changing climate, and improve the delivery of city services.   Bloomberg Philanthropies is solving big problems with innovation teams and creating innovation capabilities within pioneering cities.

The North American Eagle team is on a mission: Ed Shadle intends to set a new land speed record, and Jessi Combs will become the fastest woman on the Earth.

Yes, 2016 is the year of the bold.

10 Key Trends for 2016

To set the stage, imagine a world where technology and computing power are increasingly pervasively available.

As more people and things are connected, there is more data to provide insight.   And that insight, in turn, can be used to innovate and disrupt anything where there are inefficiencies in how information is generated, captured, shared, and exploited.

At the same time, imagine a world where more people are trying to find new ways to create and capture value.   This flips business models on their head, and leads to more business model innovation, as companies find Digital Hot Spots along their value chain (marketing, sales, supply, product development, distribution, and customer support) to simplify, digitize, and automate.

The individuals and companies that rise above the noise are the ones that build better brands, use design as a way to improve user experience, focus on creating unique value, and master storytelling to tell and sell their ideas, and win raving fans.

With that in mind, let’s dive in to the 10 key trends for 2016 …

1. Age of the Customer

The customer is the North Star for the road ahead.

Via The Race to Digital Mastery is On in 2016:

“When it comes to digital, we are at a pivot point. Digitizing your business isn’t about technology: it’s about customer obsession — and in 2016, it will be among your ten critical business success factors helping position your firm for success in the Age of the Customer. In fact, next year will be a year of consequence: those firms that ‘get digital’ will begin to pull ahead, and those firms that don’t will begin to look increasingly archaic, facing the risk of extinction.”

2. Beyond Smart Cities

Rising urbanization leads to car-free and pro-cycling cities, and less millennials that own cars.

Via J.W. Intelligence on CES 2016 Key Trends:

“Beyond Smart Cities: The Future of Urban Mobility was a keynote panel led by Kent Larson, director, Changing Places Group, MIT Media Lab. The talk featured panelists Volkmar Denner, CEO and CTO of Bosch; Secretary Anthony Foxx at the US Department of Transportation; Steve Mollenkopf, CEO, of Qualcomm; and Professor Amnon Shashua, co-founder, CTO and chairman of Mobileye, a tech device that allows vehicles to sense their surroundings.

The discussion considered the future of vehicles amid a landscape of rising urbanization, car-free and pro-cycling cities, and millennials who are less inclined to own cars. ‘The future car is connected, electrified, and automated,’ said Denner, whose company produces technology for leading car brands. He added that he sees the future vehicle as a new form of personal assistant to consumers.

Though totally autonomous cars in cities are a way off, Denner said, their introduction will come in waves: self-parking by 2018, autonomous freeway driving from exit to exit by 2020, and onward to full autonomy in all settings.”

3. City Innovation

City innovation is hot.  Cities are innovating to solve big problems.  Innovation teams are finding ways to improve safety, security, sustainability, education, healthcare, retail, and more.

According to PWCs 5 Megatrends and Possible Implications, “These ‘smart cities’ will use cloud technology, mobile devices, data analytics, and social networks to automate and connect city departments and promote eco-friendly practices.”  Also in the report, Citi has launched its “150 cities” strategy.  as part of Citi’s strategy, the company has identified 150 cities it believes will shape the world in coming years.

The “Smart Cities” Initiative, is a program to challenge America’s cities to become smarter by accelerating innovations that tackle energy, water, waste, and air challenges.  The initiative will invest over $160 million in federal research and leverage more than 25 new technology collaborations to help local communities tackle key challenges.

Cities are innovation hacking to tackle water scarcity.  For example, Los Angeles released 96 million “shade balls” into the Los Angeles Reservoir to slow evaporation and conserve water, and Singapore found an effective way to recycle sewage water.

You can find your city’s innovation potential at the Innovation Cities Program, using the Innovation Cities Indexes.

4. Context is King

Context is the key to relevancy.  The way to be relevant is to show up in context, in a relevant way, to the situation at hand.

As you can imagine, Artificial Intelligence can play a big role in relevancy, along with the all the insight gained from the exponentially growing Internet-of-Things all around you.

Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“Sling TV also contributed to an addition trend becoming clear this year: the pervasiveness of technology that understands context. Sling’s second-generation user interface features navigation that understands a user’s TV watching history and tailors recommendations accordingly. For example, it may know that a viewer prefers news in the morning, or children’s programming on a tablet device, and modify its suggestions to match.

The French startup Prizm represented a different approach to contextually aware devices. It describes its new music player as an AI-powered device that is ‘the first music player that senses the current mood in the room, to play music that everyone will love’.”

5. Culture is the Critical Path

Digital business transformation is a cultural shift, not a technology problem.

Via The Race to Digital Mastery is On in 2016:

“Culture is the critical path. That lack of vision, coupled with a shortage in skills and organizational, political, and cultural inertia will hold many firms back. Executive teams will slowly begin to realize that digital transformation is a cultural shift, not a technology problem. It’s no coincidence that many of the most digitally mature firms are smaller, leaner and employ fewer people than their least mature counterparts. It’s just easier to pivot 1,000 people than 100,000. But size can’t be a barrier. Behemoths like GE and Phillips are making the shift.”

6. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is among the top concerns for CEOs.  Cybersecurity is not just a challenge for the CIO or the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer.)  As we’ve seen, failure to manage the threat of cyberattacks is the kind of thing that CEOs get fired for.

According to the IBM’s 2016 Guide to Retail Technology Trends, “The sophistication and scale of malicious attacks, as well as their sheer
destructiveness, is growing dramatically. And the issue is particularly acute for retailers, because private Lower operating costs consumer and credit card data is at stake. Without sufficient safeguards, your
brand, reputation and even your future in business may be at stake.”

According to Ericsson Consumerlabs 2016 Trends report, consumers are worried about several categories of devices, services, and organizations at risk for getting hacked: PCs, smartphones, social network services, banks, internet service providers, social security registers, telecom operators, military equipment, commercial airlines, smart TVs, and wearables.

Oh, and of course, consumers are worried about the security of connected cars.

7. Diversity Finds New Frontiers

Diversity gets even more inclusive.

Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“The boundaries of diversity in fashion and marketing imagery are being pushed to new limits, or perhaps even broken down entirely. Recent campaigns have included models with amputated limbs and genetic conditions, part of a general movement toward celebrating the triumph of the individual spirit over a society that often shuns those who are different.”

8. Reputation Capital

“A good reputation can be used to buy cooperation from others, even people we have never met.” — Mark Pagel, Wired for Culture 2012

What three words would sum up your reputation?  How would people describe your judgment, knowledge, and behaviors in different situations?

According to Rachel Botsman, reputation has a real world value, and will be your most valuable asset.  Reputation is the “social economic lubricant” that makes collaborative consumption work and scale.  And in the world of recruiting, the resume will seem like a relic of the past.

9. Smarter Homes

Smart homes are getting smarter, and subtler.

Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“In another direction, numerous companies are making home environments and Internet of Things technology more seamlessly wrapped into interiors, rather than grafted onto existing set-ups.

Sony’s Life Space UX, for example, is a home set–style display including a 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector, LED light bulb speakers, and glass sound speakers that look like designer lamps.

Sleepnumber was showing a new bed with built-in digital tracking technology, a departure from many “smart sleep” companies that attempt to add sensors to existing beds.”

Via 50 Wearable Tech Game-Changers for 2016:

“As we enter the ring in 2016, Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit and Google Brillo will slug it out while the nimbler and more specialist Nest, Hive, Canary and co. will squabble over whose is the system to trust.”

10. Virtual Reality Gets Real

Virtual Reality used to be a toy.  Now it teleports us and transforms our experience.

According to HTCVive, “VIVE changes how we communicate. How we are entertained. How we discover. With richer stories. Games more interactive. Surgery more precise. With VIVE, human imagination is finally unleashed from the limitations of reality — and this is just the beginning.”

Via Connected shopping at CES: What’s next:

“VR provides retailers a lot of benefits: to showcase a product from different angles, for example, or show what that product might look like against different backgrounds. When buying something expensive online, VR can help you make up your mind. Travel booking is a great example — wouldn’t you love to take a VR tour of a resort before making that reservation? Or think about dining: When you’re at a restaurant, seeing what other people have ordered can influence your decision. This year VR is getting a major push from Oculus Rift.”

Trends for 2016 A-Z

There are so many interesting trends to be aware of, that it was tough to put them into a useful list.  I figured the best bet was to bubble up 10 key trends for 2016, but then supplement the list with a quick waltz through additional trends, A-Z style.

You can always dig into each trends and find a lot more around the Web, but the idea here is to give you a pretty quick map of some of the cutting edge ideas, and the changing landscape.

Even just raising awareness might help you spark some new ideas or connect a few dots in ways you can’t even predict.   Serendipity can be a powerful thing.

3-D Printing

3D Printing continues to take shape.

Last year was the launch of the world’s first 3D printed car, the Strati.  It’s crude by design.  But going back to the basics, opens the doors for some wild innovation to solve problems for different demographics.

Via The World’s First 3D Printed Car is a Blast to Drive:

“Developing countries would love this technology for cheap transportation, but so might the rich guy who wants a thousand-horsepower car of his own design, printed in a production run of one. Or the carmaker that wants to churn out a complete car in ten hours rather than 24, using a fraction of the components. Modern cars are complicated, but the union of 3D printing and electric propulsion—where the motor has just one moving part—points to a future in which that’s no longer a given.”

As 3D printing continues to mature, it looks like a lot of predictions from an early article, Forbes on 10 Trends To Come In 3D Printing, are coming true:

  1. 3D printing becomes industrial strength
  2. 3D printing starts saving lives
  3. customization becomes the norm
  4. product innovation is faster
  5. new companies develop innovative business models built on 3D printing
  6. 3D printing shops open at the mall
  7. heated debates on who owns the rights emerge
  8. new products with magical properties will tantalize us
  9. new machines grace the factory floor
  10. “Look at what I made!”, where you children will bring home 3D printed projects from school

Via Forbes on 10 Trends To Come In 3D Printing:

“3D printing starts saving lives. 3D-printed medical implants will improve the quality of life of someone close to you. Because 3D printing allows products to be custom-matched to an exact body shape, it is being used today for making better titanium bone implants, prosthetic limbs and orthodontic devices. Experiments in printing soft tissue are underway, and may soon allow printed veins and arteries to be used in operations. Today’s research into medical applications of 3D printing covers nano-medicine, pharmaceuticals and even printing of organs. Taken to the extreme, 3D printing could one day enable custom medicines and reduce if not eliminate the organ donor shortage.”

If you didn’t get a chance to go to the Consumer Electronics show or don’t know the range of what 3D printers can do, then watch these 7 minutes of awesomeness:
Video: CES 2016 – 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, Virtual Reality, Holograms & More

3rd Era of IT

Every industry around the world must now face the “digital dragon.” IT moves from a business within a business to an integrated business focused on the customer and the market, with a broader universe of opportunities for digital experiences and IT innovation.

Via CIO Agenda Insights 2014:

“All industries in all geographies are being radically reshaped by digital disruption — a ‘digital dragon’ that is potentially very powerful if tamed but a destructive force if not. It’s a CIO’s dream come true, and also a career-changing leadership challenge.”

“CIOs now face the challenge of straddling the second era of enterprise IT and a new, third ‘digitalization’ era — moving from running IT like a business within a business, into a period characterized by deep innovation beyond process optimization, exploitation of a broader universe of digital technology and information, more-integrated business and IT innovation, and a need for much faster and more agile capability.”

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting smarter, more pervasive, and more contextual.

Have you seen PredictWise?  It’s AI in action, applied to politics, sports, finance, and entertainment.

According to the Ericsson Consumerlabs 2016 Trends report, AI will end the screen age.  AI will enable interaction with objects without the need for a smartphone screen.  With wearable electronic assistants and the ability to talk to appliances, you’ll be able to interact with objects and surroundings like you do with people.

Also in the report, consumers hope to see more AI brought to life.  They hope to see better AI search engines, AI travel guides, AI personal assistants, AI teachers, AI medical advisors, AI financial advisors, and AI companions to talk to.

IBM announced four new partnerships with its Watson “cognitive computing” service:

  1. In the Watson + Under Armour partnership,  a user could receive tailored personal fitness advice,  doing away with a “one size fits all” approach to digital fitness coaching. The advice would  be based on a comparison with millions of other users with the same height, weight and other characteristics.
  2. In the Watson + SoftBank Robotics partnership, Watson would help power Pepper, the “emotional robot.”
  3. In the Watson + Whirlpool partnership, Watson would help make appliances more personalized.
  4. In the Watson + Medtronic partnership, Watson would help create a smarter app to manage diabetes.

Beneficial Intelligence

AI is great.  But it gets greater when you focus on the greater good.  Get back to the basics  and focus on what people need and want for greater impact.

Via on 5 Trends for 2016:

“As long as the onslaught of technological change continues, we’ll keep shouting this mantra from the rooftops: stop viewing the world through the lens of technology, and start viewing technology through the lens of basic human needs and wants.

Put another way: all those tech trends you’re obsessed with are fine, but can you use them to deliver something people actually want?

In 2016, rising numbers of consumers will demand that brands use increasingly powerful and accessible artificial intelligence technologies to put truly smart products and services into their pockets, homes, inboxes, and more.

The underlying motivations that drive embrace of beneficial intelligence are ancient. Save me time! Save me money! Make me a better person! Make everything easier!”

Built for Change

If you want it to be built to last, then it needs to be built for change.

A key building block for organizational cultures that will rise and thrive is that they are built for change.

Via Accenture Technology Vision for 2016:

“As perhaps the most basic of the four aspects, organizations must
be built for change, which may mean changing how you operate
as a company. Moving at the speed required for a digital business means developing new skills, new processes, new products, and whole new ways of working. Agile methodologies come to the fore. ‘New IT’ is essential, with DevOps models and practices to drive continual delivery, serviceoriented architecture (SOA) and the cloud for scalability, softwareas-a-service (SaaS) for efficiency, architectures built for agility, and platforms for collaboration.”

Business Model Innovation.

As the Internet of Things begins to take off, business models get flipped on their head. Some businesses will go from selling their things to selling their insights and information.

In The Business Model Navigator, authors Oliver Gassmann, Karolin Frankenberger, and Michaela Csik teach us that business model innovation occurs when you change at least two of the four dimensions of a business model.  The four dimension are WHO-WHAT-HOW-WHY.  In other words, the four dimensions are the customer segment (WHO), the value prop (WHAT), the value chain (HOW), or why you profit (WHY).

Chief Digital Officer

Chief Digital Officer is a real role and you can find CDOs on LinkedIn.  A CDO is effectively a business strategist with acumen for digital strategies, that plays an executive role.

Via The Rise of the Chief Digital Officer:

“The CDO needs to be someone who not only has digital acumen but also is a seasoned general manager who can operate within a large-scale business and influence effectively across the organization. This is a relatively new type of leader and one who is hard to find, attract and retain. The increasing importance of the role eventually will put CDOs in the queue for CEO succession. CDOs will be the executives with the operating experience, management skills, strategic mindset and vision to lead businesses in an increasingly technological future.”

“More generally, CDO candidates should be familiar with web, mobile and social media— and possibly local as well. They should be able to plan and execute long-term strategy around driving customer awareness, engagement, experience and monetization. When it comes to innovation, candidates should have experience developing new channels and business models, as well as innovative products and services. The CDO also must be tech savvy; though knowing how to code may or may not be required, the ability to manage developers and ask the right questions is a minimum requirement.”

Cognitive Computing

Cognitive computing is getting consumerized through digital assistants and the Internet-of-Things.  More systems and things will become more human-like as they learn how to think like the human brain.

According to, “Cognitive computing is the simulation of human thought processes in a computerized model. Cognitive computing involves self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works.”

Collaborative Consumption (The Sharing Economy)

Share, rent, swap, barter, or trade just about anything.  The Sharing Economy creates new markets and changes what’s for sale, while social insights build trust and reputation.

Share art, clothes, bikes, books, errands, games, gardens, jobs, knowledge, money, movies, pets, rides, skills, space, tasks, toys, and more.  With the Sharing Economy, you can visit or stay in more unique places such as tree houses, tee-pees, airplane hangers, igloos, etc.

Via TED Talk: Rachel Botsman: The Currency of the New Economy is Trust:

“Collaborative Consumption: A social and economic system driven by network technologies that enable the sharing and exchange of assets from spaces to skills to cars in ways and on a scale never possible before.”

Via Wikipedia on the Sharing Economy:

“Sharing economy (also known as shareconomy or collaborative consumption) refers to peer-to-peer-based sharing of access to goods and services (coordinated through community-based online services). Sharing economy can take a variety of forms, including using information technology to provide individuals, corporations, non-profits and governments with information that enables the optimization of resources through the redistribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services. A common premise is that when information about goods is shared (typically via an online marketplace), the value of those goods may increase for the business, for individuals, for the community and for society in general.”

Companies Retool for the Digital Age

Big companies retool and restructure for the Digital Age so they can be more agile.  They build innovation teams and refocus their efforts for a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

Expect to see more startups, joint ventures (JV), and inside startups within big companies.

Via G.E. is Moving Headquarters to Boston and Itself to the Digital Era, NY Times:

“The relocation by G.E., long a bellwether of the American economy, illustrates the extent to which companies of nearly all stripes have been forced to rethink their businesses in the face of new technologies, to beat back threats and to experiment with new opportunities. Companies like G.E. and Walmart, as well as Ford and General Motors, are retooling to compete with and complement tech companies like Amazon and Google.”

Connected Cars

Cars are hooking up.  Connected Cars is not just about driverless cars.  Connected Cars is about connecting makers to dealers and dealers to drivers and drivers to retailers, and to drivers’ social and service networks.

Connected Cars is also about connecting cars to each other and to infrastructure.  It’s also about improving safety for drivers and passengers.  It’s about building better, more reliable cars through telemetry and feedback.  And it’s about creating a more productive and entertaining experience.

In Forbe’s article Microsoft is Slowly Putting Your Living Room on Wheels, Sanjay Ravi says to “Think of the car of the future as your living room on wheels, or your office on wheels.”

According to J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100, “Mercedes presented its F015 Luxury in Motion concept car, a self-driving vehicle that allows users to convert the front, rear and sides of the car into a full-scale 360-degree digital entertainment screen, powered by gesture and eye control. Bosch introduced a haptic touch screen to its car interiors, replicating the feeling of touching a screen on a flat interface.”

Connected Shopping

Voice command integration is hot.  So is connecting and contextualizing your shopping experience to your car and home.

Connected Shopping at CES: What’s Next, by Joe Migliozzi, Migliozzi says, “’Smart fridges’ are not a new idea, but this year’s crop at at CES offer enhanced capabilities that range from turning transparent (so you can see what’s inside without opening the door) to purchasing groceries through a large touchscreen display.”

In the same article, Migliozzi also says, “Voice command is creating a tremendous opportunity to make shopping faster and more convenient. We’re seeing increased use of voice recognition as technologies such as Amazon Echo and Apple’s Siri are embedded into other devices. In fact, one of the big announcements from CES was the integration of Echo into a major automotive brand, so that you can use the Echo to check on your car from the house (or vice versa) or shop while on the road.”

Consumers Have More Influence

The Consumerization of Everything continues, and consumers continue to grow their influence.

Via Ericsson Consumerlabs 2016 Trends report:

“Online user reviews, opinion sharing, petitions and instant crowd activities are now becoming the norm more than an exception. Although
not all online activity is carried out by engaged consumers and some may even be classed as ‘slacktivism’ (lethargic, one-click internet activism), it is still perceived to have real effect. With such a large part of the world’s population now online, it is clear that there is strength in numbers.”

Cross-Functional Collaboration

Siloed business functions now work together, end-to-end, to serve their consumers and customers, in bigger, better, and brighter ways.

Via The Race to Digital Mastery is On in 2016:

“Your old ways of working (and employees) can’t deliver any more. Digitally-savvy employees will be in demand more than ever before. Firms in less desirable locations will continue to buy talent by acquiring Silicon Valley startups and software houses. They’ll open labs and funky new offices in Shoreditch and Manhattan. They’ll do anything they can not to look like stodgy old accountancy or insurance firms. For many, these efforts will be lip service. A hundred or so cool kids in a redbrick agency-style office means the mother ship can assume ‘hey, digital is their problem’. The brightest of senior executives will realize that it’s time to shake up their culture, challenge old ways of working, kick down some cubicle walls and champion a new wave of cross-functional collaboration.”

Crowd Intelligence

With diversifying online use, social effects like crowd intelligence and the sharing economy multiply.

There will be more ways to leverage James Surowiecki’s notion of the Wisdom of Crowds and Pierre Levy’s notion of Collective Intelligence, which are two very different premises for learning from crowds.

Via Collective Intelligence vs. The Wisdom of Crowds, by Henry Jenkins:

“Surowiecki’s model seeks to aggregate anonymously produced data, seeing the wisdom emerging when a large number of people each enter their own calculations without influencing each other’s findings. Levy’s model focuses on the kinds of deliberative process that occurs in online communities as participants share information, correct and evaluate each other’s findings, and arrive at a consensus understanding.”

Design is everywhere.

The world gets better looking as design becomes a first-class citizen.

In world of overwhelming information and choice, information architecture and design matter.  But more than just a face-lift, or old wine in a new bottle, people are using design-led approach to re-think and re-imagine end-to-end experiences to make them simpler, more intuitive, and more enjoyable.

Design is more than just how you stand out from the crowd.  It’s a way to find and exploit new ways to create and capture value, along the Customer Experience Journey, and a way to re-imagine the Art of the Possible for every day scenarios.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “Call it the ‘Pinterest phenomenon’—consumers with open access to sophisticated lifestyle press and blogs are increasingly expecting intelligent design, even from entry-level products, functional products and mass-market services. On cue, sectors from mass-market food retailers to pharmacies to budget hotels are being reimagined with new looks.”

Digital Assistants

Digital assistants are shifting our relationships with technology.  They are bringing technology to life.

According to, a digital assistant, a.k.a. a virtual assistant, is “an application program that can understand natural language and complete electronic tasks for the end user.”

Michael Knight talked with Kit, the computer in his car.  Batman talked with Batcomputer.  Captain Kirk talked with the Enterprise’s computer.  Tony Stark talked with Jarvis.

In real-life, people are turning to their digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon Echo, Google Now, or Microsoft’s Cortana for information and basic tasks.  This is accelerating crowd intelligence and the network effect, and creating lots of Big Data for machine learning and insights.

Via We’re on the Brink of a Revolution in Crazy-Smart Digital Assistants:

“If you’re already steeped in today’s technology, these new tools will extend the reach of your digital life into places and situations where the graphical user interface cannot safely, pleasantly, or politely go. And the increasingly conversational nature of your back-and-forth with your devices will make your relationship to technology even more intimate, more loyal, more personal.

But the biggest effect of this shift will be felt well outside Silicon Valley’s core audience. What Steve Jobs saw in the graphical user interface back in 1979 was a way to expand the popular market for computers. But even the GUI still left huge numbers of people outside the light of the electronic campfire. As elegant and efficient as it is, the GUI still requires humans to learn a computer’s language. Now computers are finally learning how to speak ours. In the bargain, hundreds of millions more people could gain newfound access to tech.

After all, the underlying ingredients—what Kaplan calls the ‘gating technologies’ necessary for a strong conversational interface—are all pretty much available now to whoever’s buying. It’s a classic story of technological convergence: Advances in processing power, speech recognition, mobile connectivity, cloud computing, and neural networks have all surged to a critical mass at roughly the same time. These tools are finally good enough, cheap enough, and accessible enough to make the conversational interface real—and ubiquitous.”

Digital Business Transformation

According to Gartner, Digital Business is the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds.

According to the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, here is a definition of Digital Business Transformation:

Digital business transformation is an organizational change journey to adopt digital technologies and business models to improve performance.

I would add … “for a mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

Fundamentally, it’s the digitization of business.

It’s a change in the customer experiences, the employee experiences, and the operations, as well as in business models.

I really like this precision from SAP’s Bernd Leukert on the change to business models – he nails where to look for change in a Digital Economy:

New business models are driven by different interactions with companies and their customers.

Digital Economy

The Digital Economy is here.  Businesses of all shapes and sizes are learning how to build and ship digital products and services using digital processes and creating digital experiences.

According to Wikipedia on Digital Economy, the Digital Economy is “an economy that is based on digital computing technologies. The digital economy is also sometimes called the Internet Economy, the New Economy, or Web Economy.”

Digital Health

Consumer tech gets medical grade.

Via 50 Wearable Tech GameChangers for 2016:

“The newly rebranded Google Life Sciences already has some ambitious projects including its glucose-detecting contact lens. Google’s also set to use tech to target cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health problems too.”

Via 50 Wearable Tech Game-changers for 2016:

“Digital health is an enormous opportunity for both the private and public sectors. More accurate, more constant and better respected measures of individual’s biometrics mean both money- and life-saving. If you’re the NHS, you can axe millions from your costs by ensuring that people are compliant with drugs. If you’re an insurance company, you can price your premiums accordingly. If you’re a tech giant you can capitalize with your health platform and data sales. Whomever you are, it’s a winning situation. The only haunting figure is the specter of possible identity theft; no small deal but perhaps no big problem.”

Digital Remastery by CxO Roles

Businesses executives are learning how to shift the mix of their business to a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

Via Gartner Says CIOs and CDOs Must ‘Digitally Remaster’ Their Organizations:

“Many industries have already been disrupted and redefined by digitalization. As the digital revolution progresses, it will create an even greater need for new information management roles as business units rush to harness the digital opportunities of big data. Gartner, Inc. said that chief information officers (CIOs) and chief data officers (CDOs) should take the lead in anticipating and capitalizing on digital remastery.”

Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive Innovation continues as more individuals, startups, and organizations join the game of innovation and disruptive change.

According to Wikipedia on Disruptive Innovation, Disruptive Innovation is “an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leaders and alliances. The term was defined and phenomenon analyzed by Clayton M. Christensen beginning in 1995.”

Driverless Cars

Rideshare, on-demand services, and vehicle fleets continue to shape the minds of automakers.

Via CES 2016 recap: Evolution, not revolution:

“It seems clear that carmakers envision a future where many consumers ditch their own cars in favor of rideshare or on-demand services, perhaps enabled by fleets of driverless vehicles. Thus, auto brands may look to on-board technology and entertainment options to differentiate themselves rather than traditional attributes like power or drivability. In a driverless world, the options for advertisers will expand dramatically as consumer captive time increases and content providers continue to integrate with automakers. (Think SportsCenter streaming into driverless cars on the morning commute.)”


Drones are branching out.  Some are getting smaller and faster.  Others are getting bigger and more capable.

Have you seen the drone that can carry a person weighing up to 220 pounds?  Check out EHANG 184, the autonomous aerial vehicle, and behold a future that’s starting to look like the Jetsons.

Drones aren’t just for hobbyists or for Amazon to deliver packages.  They are creating new ways to capture and share experiences.  Check out Lili, the camera reinvented

Via CES 2016 recap: Evolution, not revolution:

“With the rapidly expanding drone ecosystem comes a variety of interesting brand-able opportunities: drone racing and drone battles can be sponsored, drones hovering around stadiums or racetracks can carry branding and a few previously un-observable events could be more easily captured (i.e. mountain ascents).”


Emotional Intelligence (EQ) isn’t just for people anymore.

Robots learn how to read and respond to human emotions.  Just ask Pepper how he’s feeling and you might be surprised by the response.  Or, Pepper might ask you how you’re feeling, and actually know what it means.

Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“As technology, in particular, becomes more embedded in our lives, brand creators, innovators and consumers are starting to question their relationship with new apps and devices. The successful ones, in the current flooded landscape, will be those who understand human behavior and emotion.”


T.V. entertainment gets disrupted.

Via CES 2016 Diary: From the ‘future city’ to the smart fridge:

“What’s clear is that TV entertainment is being disrupted. It’s not over by any means, but the industry needs to adapt to an audience that is consuming media for free, or cheaply, on its own terms and expects that across the board. Consumers want traditional entertainment live, now, when they want it, and the option to save it, so it’s not dependent on the Internet and can be viewed at a later date.”

Everything is intelligent

Gizmos and gadgets go from connected to cognitive.
Via J.W. Intelligence on CES 2016 Key Trends:

“Devices at CES this year were not simply connected, like the first generation of Internet of Things gadgets. Increasingly, they were enabled with human-like abilities to process information, from machine vision to artificial intelligence.”

Future of Retail

The future of retail is immersive, connected, and contextual.

Via J.W. Intelligence on CES 2016 Key Trends:

“Hints at the future of retail were also on display throughout the conference. Retailer Lowes’ unveiled Holoroom, a VR shopping experience that allows customers to not only experience different kitchen designs, but also virtually apply them to their own homes using adaptable dimension settings.

John Vary, innovation manager at UK-based retailer John Lewis, sees a bright future for VR in retail. “I loved HTC Vive, the virtual reality experience, because it allows you use virtual reality in groups,” he said. “This could have amazing applications in retail as it will make it social, too.”

Samsung launched its new Family Hub refrigerator, which features a large touchscreen embedded in the door. The product is integrated with a new service called Groceries by MasterCard, which allows users to shop for food and beverage items directly from their refrigerators. Initially integrating with Fresh Direct and ShopRite, the service will expand to other merchants in 2016.”

Future of Work

The future of work is more fluid and dynamic.

According to Michael Rander in 6 Ways the Digital Economy is Reshaping the Future of Work, the “Knowledge Worker” comes to an end, replaced by the “Digital Worker.”

Rander outlines 6 ways that the world of work as we know it changes:

  1. Leadership involves everyone.
  2. Engagement and the ability to make an impact.
  3. Benefiting from technology means being more human.
  4. Workplace simplicity drives productivity.
  5. A new workforce in a new job market.
  6. Leading in the future means a new perspective on learning.

Via 6 Ways the Digital Economy is Reshaping the Future of Work:

“By connecting the four areas of digital disruption (workforce, suppliers, assets, and customers), the digital core becomes the platform for future business innovation. Fluid, nimble, real-time digital business – this is the future of work.”


Virtual games have gone pro.  And now there are gamethletes.

Gamethletes are earning celebrity salaries and building huge tribes of raving fans.

Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“The phenomenal rise of online gaming is giving  rise to a new career path: professional virtual gamer,  with virtual gamethletes commanding celebrity salaries.  As we charted in our Generation Z study in 2015, virtual eSports gaming as an industry has become a global phenomenon among 12- to 19-year-olds.

One of the most popular games is League of Legends, a multi-player online battle arena game. The world championship final was played in South Korea last year, in the stadium built for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. While 40,000 people watched live in the stadium, 27 million people around the world tuned into the event via live-streaming sites. To put that in perspective, an average of just 14 million Americans watched last year’s baseball World Series.”

Immersive Experience

As Qualcomm puts it, “Immersive experiences stimulate the senses–they draw us in, transport us to another place, and keep us in the moment.”

But the game is getting better, and the experiences are getting richer.  As J.W. Intelligence coins it, it’s “Ubiquitous Immersion.”

Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“From virtual reality, to 360-degree TVs and cameras, to screen interfaces being applied everywhere from the interiors of cars to the front doors of refrigerators, technology is adding additional layers of immersion to retail, music, gaming and entertainment.

GoPro announced the introduction of a 360-degree camera aimed at consumers rather than professionals. GoPro’s Odyssey, announced at the YouTube keynote, allows users to capture 360-degree and 3D video for virtual reality devices. Nikon also launched KeyMission, a 360-degree action camera.

Additionally, Syfy is releasing 3D printing files as content on MakerBot’s Thingiverse platform, which allow fans to create objects themed around Syfy shows. And a VR app allows users to explore spaceships from The Expanse, a new series that imagines a far future in which the Earth and Mars are on the brink of war.”

Industry 4.0 (the 4th Industrial Revolution”)

Industry 4.0 embraces a number of modern automation, data exchange, and manufacturing technologies.

Here are the four phases so far:

  1. Industry 1.0: Water/steam power
  2. Industry 2.0: Electric power
  3. Industry 3.0: Computing power
  4. Industry 4:0: Internet of Things (IoT) power

Via Wikipedia on Industry 4.0:

“Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution, is a collective term embracing a number of contemporary automation, data exchange and manufacturing technologies.  Industry 4.0 facilitates the vision and execution of a ‘Smart Factory’. Within the modular structured Smart Factories of Industry 4.0, systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real time, and via the Internet of Services, both internal and cross-organizational services are offered and utilized by participants of the value chain.”

Innovation is a Competitive and Collaborative Capability

Individuals are innovating.  Companies are innovating.  Cities are innovating.  Innovation is the key to solving big challenges from poverty to hunger to crime.

Innovation is a competitive and collaborative capability.  Some are using innovation to create competitive differentiation.  Others are collaborating on innovation to solve big challenges and hack a better world.  While some companies are going it alone, other companies and cities are collaborating on innovation and building new innovation capabilities.

According to Bloomberg Philanthropies, cities are getting big results with innovation teams (i-teams) in five pioneer cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans.   For example, In New Orleans, the i-team helped the city reduce its murder rate by 19% in less than two years, and in Memphis, an i-team helped to fill 53% of the empty storefronts in just 16 months.  For an overview of the innovation approach, see the City Hall Innovation Team Playbook.

Internet-of-Things (The Mega-Trend of Mega-Trends)

How long before you can talk to this thing? Or that thing? Or this thing talks to that thing?

Probably, not that long, if it hasn’t started talking already.

According to Wikipedia on the Internet-of-Things, the Internet of Things (IoT) is “the network of physical objects, devices, vehicles, buildings and other items which are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.”

Via Forbes on A Simple Explanation of “The Internet of Things”:

“Simply put this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.  This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.  As I mentioned, if it has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT.  The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices…that’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion).  The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people).  The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.”

Learn Anything

Imagine if you could learn acting from Kevin Spacey.  Imagine if you could learn writing from James Patterson.  Or, imagine if you could learn tennis from Serena Williams.

You can.  You can learn from the world’ best at Master Class.

You can learn for free about math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more at Khan Academy.

Skillshare is a learning community for creators. Anyone can take an online class, watch video lessons, create projects, and even teach a class themselves.  Udemy is an online education marketplace with limitless variety: over 7 million students enrolled in more than 30000 courses,taught by 19000 instructors.

MIT Open Courseware is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. It’s open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

Never stop learning.


According to Gartner, the Mega-Trends are Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data.  The Mega-Trends, Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data, are changing the game for business, work, and life, along with Internet of Things (IoT) — the Mega-Trend of Mega-Trends.

A business adopts Cloud to gain mobility.  With mobility, then comes social to connect employees and to connect with customers.  Businesses then crunch Big Data to gain social insights.


According to Rachel Botsman, Collaborative Consumption  and the Sharing Economy are empowering people to make and save money from their assets.

Via Urban Dictionary:

“A person who assumes the risk of starting and running a business. This person usually maintains a full time or part time job to support personal expenses.”

Mobile-First, Cloud-First World

It’s a mobile-Mobile-First, Cloud-First world.  What that essentially means is that today’s computing platform is about providing mobility of the experience and that computing is everywhere.

Via Satya Nadella’s keynote at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference:

“There are a couple of attributes.  When we talk about Mobile-First, we are talking about the mobility of the experience.

What do we mean by that?

As we look out, the computing that we are going to interface with, in our lives, at home and at work, is going to be ubiquitous. We are going to have sensors that recognize us.  We are going to have computers that we are going to wear on usWe are going to have computers that we touch, computers that we talk to, the computers that we interact with as holograms.

There is going to be computing everywhere.

But what we need across all of this computing, is our experiences, our applications, our data.  And what enables that is in fact the cloud acting as a control plane that allows us to have that capability to move from device to device, on any given day, at any given meeting. So that core attribute of thinking of mobility, not by being bound to a particular device, but it’s about human mobility, is very core to our vision.

Second, when we think about our cloud, we think distributed computing will remain distributedIn fact, we think of our servers as the edge of our cloud.  And this is important, because there are going to be many legitimate reasons where people will want digital sovereignty, people will want data residency, there is going to be regulation that we can’t anticipate today.”


Advertisers are using data-scientists and Big Data to learn how to deeply understand behavior and to drive behavior change.

Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“Neuromarketing—a buzzword for years now in the agency world—is finally moving into the realm of serious science and real applications.  More boutique neuromarketing firms have also emerged in recent years. New York-based firm Neuro-Insight has partnered with AdNews to study how the brain responds to nominated ads using a technique called steady-state topography, and Nielsen bought the Boston-based neuroscience firm Innerscope Research in May.  If peering directly into the brain continues to yield better predictive results, it could quickly become a standard technique for agencies and brands.”

Nexus of Forces

According to Gartner, the Nexus of Forces is “the convergence and mutual reinforcement of social, mobility, cloud and information patterns that drive new business scenarios.”

Originally, organizations would start by building a Cloud solution, or a Mobile solution, or a Social Solution, or a Big Data solution.  But now, new business solutions are an amalgam of the building blocks and they use Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data capabilities together to create new business capabilities.


In a world of increasing Connected Products, it’s a natural evolution to Connected Payments.

The real key will be trusted brands that target payments in context.

Via CES 2016 Diary: From the ‘future city’ to the smart fridge:

“Samsung has embarked on collaboration with MasterCard to facilitate commerce from its connected home objects, which is an interesting move for the company — it’s moving beyond payments. MasterCard is becoming the platform through which all payments for connected products (such as eggs, coffee and milk) are bought through Samsung electronics. It will process payments by any credit card or debit card, it says. In other words, it’s thinking beyond simply being a credit card company and trying to emulate Apple with Apple Pay. All are interesting to watch.”

People First

In my previous group, we had a saying, “People before business, business before technology.”

Now, more than ever, there is opportunity to get back to what we do best, and it’s a reminder of what Covey taught us long ago: “Be efficient with things, but effective with people.”

Via Accenture Technology Vision for 2016:

“We’ve come a long way in a short time. Companies no longer just serve customers; they collaborate with them. They no longer just compete with rivals; they partner with them.

They’re no longer limited by industry boundaries; they ignore them.
The connecting tissue for all this may be digital, but the defining factor is people. And it’s much, much more than a means of improving business today. Digital’s power is to drive fundamental change in the status quo—whether that’s the industries that companies operate in, the markets they serve or the talent they employ.  However, it’s increasingly clear that technology, on its own, will not be enough to propel organizations toward their new strategic objectives.

Winners will create corporate cultures where technology empowers people to evolve, adapt, and drive change. In other words, the mantra for success is: ‘People First.’”

Robots Get Better, Smarter, Kinder

Robots are getting kinder, gentler, and more precise.  With AI integration and a focus on empathy, we’ll see robots learning how to be more human.

On the industrial side, intelligent robots can now team up with people for even precise movements.

Via Microsoft and KUKA present intelligent future generation of robotics:

“KUKA LBR iiwa redefines the possibilities for industrial robotics. For the first time, humans and robots can work together on highly sensitive tasks in close proximity. The LBR iiwa is also an important milestone on the road to service robotics. It is the first robot to have safe torque sensors in every axis and is suited for tactile solutions and gripper systems.”

On the softer side, Softbank teamed up with Aldebaran to create Pepper, the world’s first personal emotional robot.  In a partnership between Softbank and IBM, Watson will help to create a super robot with the ability to understand hidden meanings in data that traditional computers can’t comprehend.

Via Aldebaran’s FAQ About Pepper:

“This robot has been created to make people happy to interact with. He’s an emotional robot, not a functional robot for domestic use with dish washer  or vacuum cleaner functionalities. Pepper will help people grow, enhance their life, facilitate relationship, he will have fun with them, give some services and connect them with the outside world. By creating new content and usages, the developer community will progressively sustain Pepper’s growth.”

Self-Healing Materials

What can we learn from biological systems about self-repair?

New self-repairing materials are being created, inspired by self-healing properties of the body.

According to Wikipedia on Self-healing materials, Self-healing materials are “a class of smart materials that have the structurally incorporated ability to repair damage caused by mechanical usage over time. The inspiration comes from biological systems, which have the ability to heal after being wounded.”

Via Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“The prospect of self-healing technology speaks to  anyone who’s made do with a cracked smartphone  screen. More researchers are taking the possibility seriously and prototyping a new wave of self-healing material innovations.  

A team at the University of Bristol, UK, announced in June 2015 that it had created airplane wings that could repair themselves in mid-air, and was even contacted by L’Oréal, which registered interest in developing self-healing nail polish. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London are creating self-healing protein scaffolds for growing tissue, while at TU Delft in the Netherlands, scientists have created bio-concrete that heals itself using bacteria.

Why it’s interesting: Drawing inspiration from the self-healing properties of the body, researchers imagine that the materials of the future will resemble living tissue more than static objects, offering a new and inspiring way to look at technology.”

Service Networking

The Web is a portfolio of services.

Via Wikipedia on Service Network:

“A service network is a structure that brings together several entities to deliver a particular service. The rationale for a service network is that each organization is focusing on what they do best.  A service network can also be defined as a collection of people and information brought together on the internet to provide a specific service or achieve a common business objective.

It is an evolving extension of service systems and applies Enterprise 2.0 technologies to enable corporations to leverage the advances of the consumer internet for the benefit of business. In this case, the service network is designed to benefit from the wisdom of crowds and a human’s natural tendency and desire to share information, collaborate, and self organize into communities of common interests and objectives.”

Social Good

Organizations are getting creative in how they contribute to the greater good.

In CES 2016: Connected devices drive social good by Shepherd Laughlin, we learn that Whirlpool’s new connected washing machine donates to charity with each use.  Laughlin says, “Through the Whirlpool Connect to Care program, consumers can set up Whirlpool washing machines so that they automatically make a donation to a social cause each time a user does a load of laundry. For now, consumers can use to donate 15, 25 or 50 cents for each wash.”

Streaming Natives

Teens watch a lot of YouTube.

Via Ericsson’s Consumerlab’s 10 Hot Trends for 2016:

“20 percent of 16?19 year olds watch more than 3 hours of YouTube daily. Today’s teens are now streaming natives. In fact, 46 percent of them spend an hour or more on YouTube every day.  Correspondingly, new generations have a very different online video experience. Today, 20 percent of 16?19 year olds say they watch more than 3 hours of YouTube daily, compared to only 7 percent in 2011. The original internet generation does not follow this behavior and only 9 percent of today’s 30?34 year olds watch 3 hours or more of YouTube daily.
Today’s teens are now streaming natives.”

The Hot 10

As growth slows down in Brazil, Russia, India and China, it picks up in 10 new places.

Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“The BRIC nations—Brazil, Russia, India and China—have provided the luxury market with ample growth over the past years, but are starting to cool, making way for a new wave of rapidly ascending markets with fresh millionaire and billionaire fodder. Economists are getting excited about 10 new places, predicting that the next growth  spurt will happen in Peru, Colombia, Ethiopia, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Why it’s interesting: These markets are growing rapidly from small bases, creating fresh pockets of wealth around their capital cities. They’ll provide new challenges in the post-BRIC era as brands try to understand cultural nuances in this wide array of destinations.”


Categories of wearables continues to expand: bands, brainwave sensors, connected clothing, early warning systems, hearables, invisibles, sleep headphones, smart watches, swimming wearables, VR headsets, wearable payments, etc.

According to, ears are perfect for biometric measurements and a natural home for all those virtual assistants from the likes of Google, Amazon and Apple.  Wareable also broke the news that Microsoft is working on a dedicated hearable device for Cortana currently called Clip.

There is more focus on personal coaching now rather than just collecting data, along with specialized devices.  For example, Xmetrics is the hottest swimming wearable.  It tracks kick-turn times, breath counts, and stroke efficiency, all fed back to you in real time audio.

Via CES 2016 Diary: From the ‘future city’ to the smart fridge:

“On wearables, still a big topic here, I expect to see a lot more emphasis on mental health: mind being, mindfulness, meditation and stress.”

Via The hottest wearable designs from London’s Central Saint Martins’ Show Two:

“Terrawatch lights up with the relevant symbol – bush fire, flood, tsunami, earthquake, tornado or volcano – and vibrates to alert the users.”

Via 50 Wearable Tech Game-Changers for 2016:

“A trend towards clever coaching platforms piecing together our different biometrics – our sleep patterns, our heart-rate, even our galvanic skin response – and send users both warnings of stress levels and ways that, perhaps, we can try to reduce them.”

Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“Already Google and Levi’s are collaborating on connected fabrication, stepping beyond bracelets and bands to wrap technical functions into everyday clothing. Increasingly technology and science will be used to push the boundaries of creativity in clothing, and technical functions will be integrated into our tailoring and normal accessories.”


People are pursuing wellbeing with wearables and apps to help with mindfulness, meditation, breathing, posture, and more.

For example, Muse is the brainsensing headband that helps you learn how to meditate.  Thync helps you focus and energize, and find your quiet.  Emotive EPOC is an EEG system for research enabling entertainment, market research & usability testing and neurotherapy.  Emotiv Insight is a sleek, 5-channel, wireless headset that allows you to optimize your brain fitness & performance, and measure & monitor your cognitive health & wellbeing.

Spire is a personal mindfulness coach.  Unobtrusively clipped to your belt or bra, Spire knows when you’re stressed and helps you reduce tension with smart notifications and gentle reminders.  Simply controlling your breathing can lower blood pressure, reduce tension, and increase endorphins. By monitoring your breathing, Spire figures out when you’re calm, focused, or tense, and provides you with guidance and exercises when it matters most.

Via J.W. Intelligence’s The Future 100:

“Wellbeing and future-proofing our bodies is also becoming nothing short of a global movement. As consumers, we’re investing in wearable tech, athleisure wear, wellness pursuits, mindfulness, buying farm-to-table, bean-to-bar, seed-to-skin, organic, fermented, probiotic, cold-pressed everything to ensure our continued good health. “Natural” is becoming the watchword for all of this. As we saw in our New Natural report earlier this year, consumers are exchanging previously trusted products and brands for New Natural alternatives, from feminine care to fertility.”

Key Resources for Trends for 2016

Here is a handful of some of the resources that I found most useful for discovering, analyzing, and evaluating trends for 2016:

There are many great resources for trends.  The above list is just a handful to get you started.

The Trend Framework: 16 Mega-Trends That Define the Future of Consumerism

With the explosion of trends, how do you figure out what matters and what’s worth paying attention to?  How do you keep “the big picture” in mind while so many new trends come your way?

I found it helpful to learn how some of the different trend hunters actually frame out what to focus on and what to prioritize. uses a framework to sort and catalog trends.  To understand the future of consumerism, they use a framework of 16 Mega-Trends:

  1. Status Seekers.  The relentless, often subconscious, yet ever present force that underpins almost all consumer behavior.
  2. Betterment.  The universal quest for self-improvement.
  3. Human Brands.  Why personality and purpose will mean profit.
  4. Better Business.  Why “good” business will be good for business.
  5. Youniverse.  Make your consumers the center of their Youniverse.
  6. Local Love.  Why “local” is in, and will remain, loved.
  7. Ubitech.  The ever-greater pervasiveness of technology.
  8. Infolust.  Why consumers voracious appetite for (even more) information will only grow.
  9. Playsumers.  Who said business has to be boring?
  10. Ephemeral.  Why consumers will embrace the here, the now, and the soon-to-be-gone.
  11. Fuzzynomics.  The divisions between producers and consumers, brands, and customers will continue to blur.
  12. Pricing Pandemonium.  Pricing more fluid and flexible than ever.
  13. Helpful. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
  14. Joyning.  The eternal desire for connection, and the many (new) ways it can be satisfied.
  15. Post-Demographics.  The age of disrupted demographics.
  16. Remapped.  The epic power shifts in the global economy.

Create your future before somebody 3D prints it for you.

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  1. Love the 10 key trends for 2016 – its exciting just to know the level of diversity and uniqueness of each of the trends that is going to shape our world going forward 🙂

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