For those of you who receive our newsletter, these predictions are the same ones we made in our December 2010 edition. For those who don’t know about the newsletter or our yearly predictions about innovation, please read ahead.
Keeping with the publishing traditions that demand that most articles in December relate to a “top ten” list from the year just past or predictions about the near future, each year we boldly stake out several predictions about the future of innovation. Each year we also recap the predictions we got right, and wrong, from the previous year. For 2011, we’re making the following predictions about innovation:
1. Ideas come from everywhere – “open” innovation is ubiquitous
2. Experience is more important than product – the outcomes change from new products to new experiences
3. Timeframes shorten – while organizations are getting better at generating ideas, the timeframe from idea to commercialization hasn’t changed.
4. Creativity re-enters the workforce.
Let’s look at each of these in turn and describe why we think they’ll occur and why they matter…
Michael Schrage does not, but he is a keen observer. His “Top Six Innovation Ideas of 2011” set the theme for the whole bunch: since radical events of the ‘black swan’ kind are understandably hard to predict, professional future gazers usually focus on highlighting existing trends and their continued yet amplified impact in the new year. Another typical feature of trend lists is the excessive use of neologisms, preferably in the form of the noun-ification (oops) of nouns which untreated would sound all too common. Schrage, for example, coins the term “contestification” (“contests”? – nah!). Apart from that though, his list is interesting and sound: he cites touch screen user experiences (“having the right touch to get the right touch will become a desirable communications competence”); “WWWabs” (“not-quite-ready-for-prime-time alpha and beta versions of apps to explore and test”) as valuable playgrounds for companies as they shift from “R&D” to what Schrage calls “E&S – Experiment & Scale;” the rise of promotional platforms (“advertising will take a backseat to promotional offers as retailers and brand managers alike collectively decide that branding a promotion matters just as much as promoting a brand”); the “gameification” (here, he did it again!) of business (“the companies that succeed in gameifying their products, services, and brands will enjoy a certain Zynga in their step”); and the renaissance of lobbyism (“a charismatically innovative lobbyist may have a bigger impact on marketplace success in 2011 than the country’s most savvy technologist or marketer”).