The Trends Shop – Watch that trend


It may disrupt your business model more than you expect !




More than ever before it has become a necessity to trace and check the upcoming and the potential influence of trends. We all know the examples of once solid corporations that went bankrupt rather unexpectedly. The rise of Uber and AirBnb is only a start of a long list of new disruptions in front of us. The main reasons for these severe disruptions are twofold. On the one hand the internet and all of its connected tools facilitates an exponential change, instead of the lineair change most adults still bear in their DNA. The second complication is that not all domains move with the same speed. Startups do not know nor respect a speedlimit whereas institutions such as govenmental bodies and most schools have no clue of where we are heading to and try to adhere to the rules that were agreed upon and written down many years ago.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) caused a paradigm shift when he concluded from his observations that not the strongest or the most intelligent, but the most adaptive species would survive. Unfortunately we have not taken his advise into practice at a satisfactory level. We still stick to rules, regulations and practices from the past and have not sufficiently reviewed what had to be changed or revised. Of course one should not throw old shoes away before the new ones are at hand; but the common insight among experienced governers that a great many laws, rules and regulations tend to become counterproductive after a couple of decades, has been debated at the most. This insight is not new at all and it has as such no connection with internet. We just failed to install a systematic program to revise customs and rules to a changing environment. It was not picked up. Serious understanding of these developments could have prevented huge losses in capital and human energy. How much do we know about the Millenium generations and the choices and decisions they are about to make? We know they do not like the financial institutions and that they are very open to change. What do we know about the babyboomers/protest generation and how they will spend their time and money in their silver decades? Shall they follow the examples of their (grand-)parents? Not very likely.

Very sad and no use to cry over spilled milk, we can change our attitude and behaviour today with three proven approaches that are flexible and have shown their impact over the years. Everybody can work it out in his or her own pace. The first one is the ever rolling Wheel of Strategic Thinking. In the top box we spend time to reflect where we are and where we would like to go.

In the next box (clockwise) we choose how we want to optimize our product or service. The choices should have a logical connection to what was decided in the previous boxes. Same goes for the choose of channels. Only now it makes sense to measure our effectiveness and satisfaction of our clients.

Of course this sounds very obvious and rather simple, but be honest: How often did you see plans for a new website or a client satisfaction survey without a common understanding about the awareness and appreciation of stakeholders and target groups.

Another, rather well known and accepted model is the Golden circle as presented by Simon Sinek. Almost too simple, but again: How often did you hear decision makers ask ‘HOW the profit could be increased and WHAT needed to be done to increase sales. Like so many youngsters ask themselves HOW they can get rich and famous and WHAT they need to do to accomplish this if possible today. If you know the work of Simon Sinek well you can see that a circle was added by Motivaction: WHO is involved? What does the target group think and what do they want to know about you? The WHY question may result in a shock. Is profit, sales, rich and famous why we live and work to a burn-out? If you do not go beyond the WHAT and HOW you get stuck most of the time; you are not inspiring and rarely attractive. Some of us are addicted to money, status and power. For most of these addicted speed is more important than trust or the truth. The WHY question would spoil their play.

If you are truly interested in the other persons you can not stop by just asking their opinion, because just like in fashion, the behaviour reflects how people cope with trends and what kind of lifestyles they adhere to. But we know that these outings are rather volatile. Basic values, such as the level of idealism, the quest for sustainability, what makes you happy, what do you like in what you are doing are rather stable after your formative period, your first 24 years of your life.

Is it not strange and in contradiction: we can all agree that the world becomes much more complex at a faster rate, yet the research budgets in general are being decreased. We do not allow ourselves the time and the means to ask the most relevant questions.