Trends Exploration Framework
The next installment of our series on tools and framework is the Trends Exploration framework. This model is very useful because it allows us to gather a very tangible and easy form of converting trends into innovation ideas or innovation platforms. It helps because it challenges assumptions, helps identify opportunities, and allows for both a very complete helicopter view while providing detailed identification of platforms.
The Trends Exploration model is also known as the “From… To Exploration” method because one is able to observe from before the trend until the trend actually happens. The first step is to identify important aspects of the project itself. This could be the digital platform, the services, the channels, the process, the system, the social aspects, the economic aspects, etc. All aspects should be Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive for the specific project.
For each one of those aspects we need to identify the most relevant trends and identify whether these trends are expected to grow, remain stable, or wind down. Every aspect and combination of aspects are usually characterized by several trends. For each one of those trends within the aspect, we then identify the most relevant conventions which relate to the trend. For example, in many services there is a trend of Uberization, which is both technological and social. Before Uber, it was common – it was literally the norm – for consumers to either hail a cab from the street or call a number to order a cab. There were very limited opportunities for doing it online or digitally. Today, because of the Uberization of Services, the new norm is ordering through a digital app, which provides clear expectation on timings and costs, as well as, providing a two-way feedback system for drivers and customers.
The second and final step in building the Trends Exploration model consists in actually identifying the opportunities: first of all by looking on how the convention has evolved and has been disrupted because of the trend; and then by identifying new moments of truth related to the convention, and which opportunities these entail, should the trend evolve further.
So for each aspect, we have a subset of trends, as well as a change in conventions/ behaviors highlighted from a starting point and an ending state. Once we have identified those subsets, the idea is to translate them into opportunities for innovation. They are either spun as one aspect over multiple trends, one trend over multiple aspects, or the convergence of multiple aspects and multiple trends. These entail, for example, innovation, digitalization and processes, as well as new customers, new forms and new ways.
In this way, of course, Trends Exploration model provides a summary review of all possible trends, a very good understanding of which changes relate to those trends, what are the new perspectives and the new current beliefs, associated to these emerging trends; ultimately we can clearly identify innovation opportunities stemming from the trend itself. Of course, we don’t recommend using the Trends Exploration model as a silo, but it is a great and easy approach to identifying insight platforms which are supported by trends as opposed to insight platforms which are identified by consumers or by co-creating with consumers. It is a complimentary methodology rather than a model/framework that we should be using as a standalone approach.