Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Key trends for 2013

Service design consultancy, Fjord, has presented its annual trends prediction. It’s in a lovely slideshare format (see below) with some thoughts on the rationale, impact and what you can do about each trend. Some of the trends resonate more with me than others. And for those who are reading this on a mobile device and, perhaps, cannot access the slideshare content, here are the key trends.

1. People are ruining everything… for traditional business. This is a big one! The technology users are doing it for themselves when it comes to crowdfunding, content creation and more. And it has never been easier. There’s no point fighting this one either. Embrace or die.

2. I belong to me. The personal data battlefield. Ah yes, the ‘Big Data’ chestnut coupled with users growing understanding of what it means to them personally, and how some of them raging against the big data machine and are demanding control of their own information.

3. Dawn of the personal ecosystem. Connected objects start to take their place right by your side. The internet of things becomes a reality. Access to data means we can make decisions about our house, our shopping, our health and more from the comfort of the palm of our hands. This creates what Fjord calls the ‘personal ecosystem’. No question, items like fitbit and Nike’s fuelband have been a runaway success and we’ll see many more of these kinds of gizmos being used in day to day life. We’ll definitely see more of these in the coming months and years.

4. Keep it simple stupid. Good old-fashioned KISS principles make a comeback. I’m wondering if this is just wishful thinking on Fjord’s part or not? I agree, they’re great principles to stand by and I wish more businesses and developers would use them but I fear humans are not always that smart! We’ll see.

5. Revolution in Retail. The online/offline distinction disappears. We are right in the heart of the retail revolution right now. If retail doesn’t change, our High Street will continue to die. Traditional retailers have been far too slow to adapt and understand the changing customer needs. Pop-up stores, virtual stores, payments on the move – they’re all here.( At the same time, I don’t want to see the High Street die and for retail to become solely a warehouse distribution business. I hope that we see some innovation this year to make the hybrid sustainable and to find new ways of invigorating the High Street. Says the former shop assistant, so I may have some personal bias here!)

6. Access is the new ownership. What does it mean to own something in the digital age? This is a really interesting area. We’ve seen the rise of rentals and subscriptions from cars to holiday homes to music to books and more. How many subscriptions can one person manage? And what happens if you have no money and lose access to everything? Where are the swapping platforms, the digital versions of our libraries? And what else will we see going to this model? I still haven’t manage to get rid of my books, CDs, vinyl, videos or DVDs. And I could certainly use the space, but the online services aren’t quite there yet that meet my personal needs in those departments. It’s only a matter of time though.

7. Learning gets personal. How being online is transforming the way people learn. This is very exciting. And game changing. What will the future of learning look like? What will a text book become? Will we need to remember things in the same way? Does this change our attention spans for the better or worse? What about accessibility for those with visual, hearing or other impairments? We’ll be looking at this in one of the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe sessions next month.

8. You talking to me? Exploring new challenges in human-machine communication. Ah, yes. Voice. What do we do with that? How many times have I found myself typing furiously on Skype or email or Facebook to an individual when it would have been a whole lot quicker and easier to talk? I’ve just gotten out of the habit and am now forcing myself back into it because, it’s, you know, productive! I still can’t see myself talking to my phone or laptop, but hey, I never thought I’d be working in the mobile industry so anything can happen. I’m interested to see what innovations happen in this area and what it takes to succeed.

9. The mobile gap. Business plays catch-up with adoption. Fjord says it so much better than I can. ‘The speed of movement to mobile has amazed everyone. But it has not been matched by the speed with which most organisations are able to monetize it.’ There’s nothing I can really add to that although Fjord does have some good tips of starting points and things to think about in the slideshare below.

10. Think like a start-up… and act like one too. Wow. That demands massive change for most big companies. One that they’re probably able to embrace in concept only rather than actual delivery. We’re talking culture change here and that’s hard to do. It’s worth thinking about though and anything that brings down barriers in companies and aids collaboration, serendipity and innovation, I’m all for and I would definitely encourage. Not everyone is ready to be in a start-up though so you may lose people along the way…

Thanks for the food for thought, Fjord. What do you think?

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