A “Non Obvious How to predict Trends and Win the Future” book review (2018 edition)
“Non obvious” teaches the foundations to successfully curate content and think differently to spot non obvious trends.
It starts with a description of the habits to cultivate to be a successful content curator, follows with a process to curate ideas and spot patterns among industries and ends with a deep analysis of 15 trends for 2018 that the author Rohit Bhargava and his team predicted.
Rohit Bhargava, ex brand strategist at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett, and author of 5 bestselling business books, worked on the series from 2011.
When the series passed from only being digital to paper (2015) , the “non obvious trend series” won the following awards:
Wall Street Journal Best Seller (2015 Edition)
Winner: Axiom Business Theory Silver Medal (2017 Edition)
Official Selection: Gary’s Book Club at CES (2017 Edition)
Winner: Non-Fiction Book Awards Gold Medal (2018 Edition)
For maximum transparency the book includes also a summary of the trends predicted the previous years with a rating on how off where the predictions compared to reality.
The 5 habits of curation taught in the book are:
– Being curious = consuming brainful media such as ted talks, read historical fiction, and curated compilations
– Being observant = simplify concepts like you were teaching to children, asking questions on the processes in every day life from how the coffee is made to how your movies are streamed on Netflix, and observe the world outside of your phone!
– Being fickle = Capture ideas without fossilizing on them, save them offline for later consumption, set a timer to evaluate ideas and summarize concepts.
– Being thoughtful = Take time to comment on the internet, you do not always need to be first and take time to rethink your thoughts.
– Being elegant = Make concepts as simple as possible but not simpler, keep the ideas short, use poetic principles to make the ideas more memorable and easier to remember.
The Haystack Method, a process to find the trend (the proverbial needle) among the ideas and information gathered (the hay)
It is composed by 5 steps, (1) saving ideas, collecting them in folders with summaries, and searching for concepts, not conclusions, (2) aggregating ideas, order the ideas with questions on what need or behaviour they underline, and recognize the obvious (3) elevating, understanding what is interesting in the ideas, what is the broader theme and how multiple industries are connected by the ideas, (4) Naming, a method to ensure that the trend name is memorable enough to stick in the minds for example using alliterations (Disruptive Distribution), twists (Small Data), and mash ups (Likeonomics, Shoptimization) (5) Proving, refer to authoritative sources for examples and research that support your trends, check that the trend is present in multiple industries, and watch your biases.
Some of the trends that I found interesting in the book were:
Enlighted consumption, the customer use of availability of information to express their values in consumption , it ranges in a multitude of industries from transformative travels such as the ones advertised by Incredible India tourism campaign to find peace and silence, to mindful ugly produce consumption, the opening of supermarkets in Denmark, Finland and Sweden where people can buy fruits, vegetables that are fresh and tasty but are being discarded for their aspect (started by the Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark Stop Spild Af Mad by Selina Juul)
Light-Speed Learning ,the idea of dividing the teaching of time consuming skills in multiple micro tasks such as short videos/audios/pages and minimum units of knowledge to fasten learning. This is useful to keep audience attracted in consumption that requires the involvement of advanced abilities, for example the guitar producer Fender started to sell short videos to teach basics to new guitarists ( 90% of people that picks up guitar quit within the first year and 45% of Fender annual’s sale go to beginners who have never played before). Another example could be Chinesepod, an online service that divides the teaching of the language in short video tidbits.
Disruptive Distribution, the trend that business reinvent themselves in their connections with the customers to increase efficiency. Example of this other than the obvious Netflix are Cloud technologies providers, that shifted from on premise to subscription services to better serve the customer, West Elm a furniture retailer that opened its hotel chain where it is possible to buy all the items found in their hotel’s room, and Moviepass a subscription service to see movies in various theaters at cheaper prices.
“Non Obvious How to predict Trends and Win the Future” is a really interesting book with a collection of compelling branding stories and successes that is worth reading.Innovation is found at the crossroads.