October 25, 2012

A Change of Pace

We are right in the middle of a pivoting moment of "change." Change, that whether we want to accept or not, is constantly challenging us to think smarter, faster, and in the now, because time is ticking. We need to understand that everything we are doing is affecting everything else...it's all connected in one way or another because that's just how things evolve. It's not always possible to see the finish line, but we have to push ourselves to keep running nonetheless.

So how do we keep up with this change? We embrace it. We have to. In every problem there is a solution, and many times in order to find that solution, you have to look at things from a different angle.
Last week, we talked about what we do here at MBF Trend Consulting...connect the dots. We explained how in today's world, one of our biggest challenges is constantly being able to think outside the box. Plainly put, as human beings, we are used to being in our comfort zones, it's just natural for us. However, in order to get anywhere and keep up in this fast-paced world, you have to shake things up every once in a while before the world does it for you! So as a follow up today, we'd like to point out some mind boggling, "out of the box" things that are happening right now.

photo via WWD

One industry that is consistently being shaken up is publishing. Despite efforts to re-design, edgy and innovative content, covers, and layouts, and even a staff of the best of the best industry experts, more and more magazines are disappearing into the online digital arena. The latest to do so is the iconic Newsweek, which will print it's last issue on December 31st of this year and from there on remain solely in digital form. However, as print media continues to shift to its online alternative, will it be able to attract enough paid subscribers? The same concern exists for Netflix as it is challenged by Amazon's streaming-movie service that offers unlimited movies for a few dollars less than Netflix's $8 monthly fee.

photo via NY Times

And as the old continues to be replaced by new, things need to get a move on and for the beauty industry that means mobile salons. We know we are re-iterating this all the time, but things move so fast, too fast and we know you are feeling it as well. Especially here in NYC, between work, play, family responsibilities, friends, and just everyday errands, it's hard to find time for personal grooming. Whether it be a 15-minute manicure from Manicube or a fresh blow-out from Prieto Select, convenience is the ultimate luxury and that's why beauty salons are coming to your office door (with a price of course).

video via TED

So maybe during this time of immense change, the key is to be more vulnerable, even in the workplace. Meet Brené Brown, a researcher storyteller, who has been studying vulnerability for the past 10 years and now speaks around the country at huge corporations discussing the importance of connecting and how shame, embarrassment, and fear prevent people from being creative and innovative. She explains how, "In your job you put your work out to the public. There is nothing more vulnerable than that." We firmly believe that in order to get anywhere in life and even begin to succeed, there is always a certain level of risk and failure involved in stepping outside of what's comfortable, but you just have to go for it. Time keeps on ticking and the world keeps on moving despite whether you put yourself out there or not. You are your own personal formula for change. So how are companies relating this to the way they do business?

photo via NY Times

In today's workplace, 9 to 5's have evolved into various freelance projects, going to the office everyday has transformed into working remotely from home, office buildings are evolving into business colonies, education is going teacherless, printing is 3D, and an entertainment factor is becoming more crucial to retail experiences everyday. Mercedes may even release a driverless car next year (or so rumor has it)! Not to mention, Boston Startup School (a start-up itself) trains students about the basic know-how to work in the tech start-up sector! Things are evolving and in order for businesses to keep up with this change, they have to put themselves out there and be fearless.

video via youtube

With that said, some are doing just that but in the world market by focusing on where they do business. HSBC has taken an ambitious global approach with its airport ads that continue to give insight into the future forces that will shape our world and commerce. Made in the U.S. products are selling in China and Chinese designers are actively looking to branch out internationally via online platforms like Bundshop, which features curated products designed in China. In addition, Starbucks is expanding into Mumbai this month and partnering with Tata Global Beverages to source local coffee beans.

photo via ft.com

So what's next? Well, for starters, how we learn and experiment is changing as we move forward towards figuring it all out. For many media and advertising companies specifically, they depend on future labs to predict innovations and experiment with working prototypes currently on the market. These spaces are designed with mock retail environments, "connected living rooms," and countless interactive components as great resources to brainstorm and explore new approaches. Meanwhile, in the textile industry, Cotton Inc. has launched its Cotton University, which is a free online resource for both students and professionals alike to educate and engage through a multimedia digital campus.

video via blog.shop.org

While having access to all this technology and data is fantastic as we move forward, maybe the best way to truly be one step ahead is to simply ask the future what it thinks. Either way, take a risk today, do something out of the ordinary and see what that brings. Maybe a change is just what you need. 

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