Trending The Future

At space150, we like to live in the future. The leading and bleeding edge of culture and technology is what gets us excited - and applying our latest thinking to our client projects of the present

150 Days

For those of you who are familiar with space150’s 150-day re-birth these recent trends releases should come as no surprise. Like an added apendage of evolutionary advantage to the space150 repertoire, we are using these decks as an opportunity to dig into how consumers behavior, culture, and technology are changing with the digital landscape.

In crafting trends we cite a lot of our favorite web sources that are tracked and discussed internally over time as well as comScore data and the unique personal insight and variety of interests that our eclectic staff represent.

Based on Behavior

There’s been a lot of talk in the planning and strategy world lately about the meaning of insights, marketing to context, and generally planning for behavior as a way of getting to the core of brand & consumer relationships while bypassing the facade of technology.

Behavior and context will become even more paramount as the world transitions to a greater integration of an internet of things, but for now we’re dealing with smartphones and their growing adoption - freeing humanity from the ball and chain of the pc.

Mobile Trends - June 2011

That’s where our recent exploration of mobile in this deck steps in. This particular edition is an intermediate update on the world of mobile that we are using to help onboard our clients onto some of the latest mobile happenings and how they are affecting their businesses.

Convenience, Context, and Fun are the three trends that we see as most immediately shaping the mobile landscape. So, dive in. Take a swim through our creation, and look for the next full-spectrum Trending The Future release with space150’s next version at the end of July.

Mobile Trends - June 2011 - Trending The Future View more presentations from space150

 

posted by: jakeszy notes (11)

The Pop-up Experience

 

The pop-up store of the future is a blank storefront, an empty window, and white walls.

Any day now, on an empty lot in a creative cosmopolis, a truck of merchandise and high-tech gear will be set up in a stack of shipping containers and a hyper-real shopping experience will launch.

In 2008, IBM released a widely read executive brief on the topic of Immersive Retailing. They predicted that successful retailers will use immersive technology solutions to “stimulate people’s visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile senses to connect with shoppers on an emotional level to create unforgettable shopping experiences.”

In fragments, experiments, fits and starts, this has already happened. Fashion, footwear, automotive, and beverage brands have led the adoption of new technologies for engaging, experiential impact.

The storefront and windows

Architectural surfaces have been transformed in stunning and inventive ways. 3D projection mapping has been much hyped as the future of advertising. “Adidas Is All In" wowed crowds in Marseille projecting on Pharo Palace. In NYC, SyFy’s "Follow the White Rabbit" projections went mobile, giving chase to the rabbit assassin across multiple surfaces. Projections have created buzz for Ralph Lauren, Hyundai, Fanta, Nokia and Hot Wheels.

Window displays are evolving into interactive installations. A video model blows a real scarf in a Hermès shop. Viewers wave their hands to flip pages in a digital book at Christian Dior. Visitors paint in light on a Nordstrom window. Diesel created arty installations for their Rockin’ Dots and Be Stupid campaigns. A Starbucks window doubles as a touch-screen game.

The retail environment

Already inside many stores are surfaces that entertain and inform. A concept devised by students for bag maker Crumpler creates a branded experience on floor and walls. Toyota’s Prius Wall engages and delights. An interactive display table for Rolex takes sales to a new level. Even more impressive is the Adiverse footwear wall, which brings selection, branded video, and product reviews to a shopper’s fingertips.

Holograms walk the runway for Forever 21 and Burberry. Another use of projection mapping displays myriad options for New Balance shoes. Even the dressing room is digitally enhanced in the Harajuku Puma store, where an interactive mirror previews outfits without the shopper physically changing clothes. Perhaps the projections in this spot for Puma Lift will be the next iteration.

To date, there’s not been a complete retail environment created entirely from digital technology, but the idea is close to reality. Who will be the first brand to do it?

posted by: hooklyn notes (13)

Under the Digital Influence

There are lots of debates on the relative merits of traditional vs digital agencies. Mostly crediting digital for creative innovation and traditional for creating high-level campaigns.*

And working at a digital agency, I follow those debates with my own horse in the race. But what I’ve missed is how the different ways we work produce different kinds of creative. Or even if it does.

So, the medium influences the message… does digital media influence a digital agency’s message?

I think so, and here are a couple of ways it happens.

Rapid Evolution

First, the speedy evolution of digital tech causes corresponding changes in behavior. Twitter and Facebook really got going only about 3 or 4 years ago. But doesn’t it feel natural today to tweet dinner plans to your Facebook status?

Part of the digital creative process involves heavy, steady use of these new bits of digital culture so that we undergo that change in behavior ourselves. Another part is finding the people in-house who are already on top of something new. You know who’s already using Beluga. Who’s got the latest jailbreak. That kind of thing.

Big Teams

Speaking of those in-house people, in digital, many new disciplines work together. Writers, designers, creative directors, and planners are joined by front- and back-end developers, user experience, and SEO experts. And even traditional roles can take on weird new aspects, like when media is more about the social web than TV buys.

The downside? That’s a lot of people at the table. Managing all those voices can be challenging.

But, on the bright side, it opens up the creative process to ideas from new and surprising places: like a new interface concept from UX. Or a new way to deliver content from the tech team. Ideas that can only come from people with the right kinds of technical expertise.

Immediacy

Digital is usually about connecting people more closely. And people have come to expect that brands in the digital world will behave more like their friends, rather than as an impersonal corporate giant.

That means immediacy. If you’re on Twitter, you need to respond when people call you out. If you launch an app, you have to be ready to deliver regular updates that react to user feedback. If you’re making mobile websites, they better work on the devices your customers use.

And there’s not always time to wait until the CMO gets back from vacation. Digital works best when the agency has a little more freedom to maneuver, to stay connected to their audiences.

Or is it all that different, really?

This distinction between trad and digital disappears the more digital culture becomes mainstream. If you live it and work it, it changes your behavior just like anyone else’s.

So is there really a difference? Or are there other, more important differences between the two? School me, please. Please talk about your creative experiences in different types of creative agencies.

*Like here. And here (PDF). And here, too.

posted by: bendyspace notes (15)

Sunday Night

What is the hardest day of the week? 

I think it is Sunday night.

Internal, clients, vendors, partners … everyone emails on Sunday night. Right at about 5pm or so, the emails, txts, vmails everything just erupts.  It is as regular as Yellowstone’s Old Faithful.

Sunday night sets the course for the week.  If you fall behind on Sunday night, the rest of the week is F’ed. It is the time when important emails are sent.  It is also the time when pointless FYI emails are sent.

There has actually been research done stating that its the most stressful day of the week. One UK study done in 2009 suggests that the most stressful day is Tuesday at 11:45am. Hardly.

In my opinion, a successful week begins with a productive Sunday night.

posted by: mftroutkiddy notes (10)

Next Practice

We at space150 recently challenged ourselves to rethink how we answer the common question: “What’s the best practice?”

What started as an exercise in overturning the term “best practice” turned into a discussion about having empowered conversations. We searched for a more empowering response to the question by taking the opportunity to have better conversations about our capabilities as marketers, designers, and developers. By exploring some approaches to properly answer the question, we can look ahead and even leapfrog an established practice for something entirely new and different.

Something entirely new and different

Our first reaction was to turn the question around and ask it in a new way. When asked, “What’s the best practice?” let’s shift the conversation to “What’s the space150 way?” Let’s seize the opportunity to crush an overused convention and create a new one.

Our initial conclusion (after a 10-minute conversation among four of us and an all-company e-mail string): We don’t do “best practice,” we do “next practice.” Ahh, nice. But we’re not the first ones to think of that.

I’d like to give the credit to the late C.K. Prahalad, who coined “next practice” first in a 2004 article1, in addition to a few other industry-standard terms. Study his work. You won’t regret it.

“Dr. Prahalad, who began his career as an engineer in his native India, applied bold and original approaches to a wide range of business practices and economic issues, including corporate culture, consumerism, innovation, marketing and poverty. In explaining his ideas, he coined such now-standard terms of the business lexicon as “core competencies,” “strategic intent” and “the bottom of the pyramid,” which describes business opportunities among the world’s poor.”2


He was the original next practice guy.

Cool. We found out that next practice is already out there as an alternative term. We can use it. But we had also discovered that simply rebranding the term “best practice” in space150-speak was not the goal.

The goal was to come up with a way to answer the question and still deliver something innovative. So let’s evaluate the question.

Evaluate the question

When we are asked to provide examples of a best practice for “X” (particular interactions, branding approaches, marketing methods, engineering exercises, etc.) we are being asked specifically to go find examples of things that have already been done.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always like to go find things that have already been done just to do something similar. Sometimes (maybe most of the time) it’s the right thing to do. But it doesn’t always feel right to go find the safe stuff, especially at an agency like ours where revolution is in our blood. We seek opportunities to destroy convention on our way to new discoveries, designs, recommendations, and capabilities.

Turns out it’s not the question that’s the problem, it’s the answer. We’re happy to do research and back up a tried-and-true approach with data. We’ll valiantly defend status quo examples because they’ve been measured, evaluated, and therefore “proven,” but that doesn’t change the fact that when you seek out a best practice example you’re tracking down a method that’s not new. We should make sure we answer with examples that are best for a reason.

Best that’s best for a reason

Here are three basic, well-known best practices:

  • In e-commerce the user-friendly approach of allowing customers to purchase without first registering for the site has become best practice.
  • In using social media, a best practice is to ask questions and don’t always talk about yourself.
  • When writing, it’s best practice to use headings, bulleted lists, and bold type to make text easy for the reader to scan.


Best practice is hard to argue with, and often not necessary. But we should still ask: Are there opportunities to improve? Sometimes we refer to a best practice that is years old. Does that make the opportunity to overturn it that much greater?

Empower yourself to do next practice design, but don’t stop referencing what’s been done. Here’s how: Reference the approach, not the solution.

Reference the approach, not the solution

The approach is the best practice; the solution is the next practice. Reference moments of change and innovation, and label the approach as best practice, rather than the innovations that result from it.

Take the case of Mint vs. Wesabe in the competition for free online personal finance software, and Wesabe co-founder Marc Hedlund’s awesomely open observations about his site’s failure to succeed. Mr. Hedlund admits Wesabe had a best practice approach to the usability of their interface, while Mint was ahead of the game:

"I was focused on trying to make the usability of editing data as easy and functional as it could be; Mint was focused on making it so you never had to do that at all.3


Wesabe’s is an example of a best practice approach that, despite all the research, logic, and reason that supported it, failed to beat the competition. It happens. Innovation and safe approaches don’t always play happily together.

This is the heart of my argument against simply answering the best practice question with examples. The best practice approach leads to next practice design.

Best practice approach leads to next practice design

Mint.com is commonly referenced as an industry best practice. We do it all the time. But it’s not their interface that’s the best practice, even though that gets most of the attention. It’s their approach to solving the problem.

When I reference Mint as a best practice, I’m not referring to their interface. My answer to the best practice question isn’t “The best practice in this situation is to design some cool-looking graphs and make sure they’re readable and easy to use.”

My answer is “The best practice in this situation would be to adopt the Mint-style approach of eliminating usability burdens altogether. This will free us to be innovative and come up with a next practice solution that’s customized for your needs.”

Don’t make the current experience better. Design an experience people never knew they needed.

1 Prahalad, C.K. and Ramaswamy, Venkat. “Co-creation Experiences: The Next Practice in Value Creation.” Journal of Interactive Marketing, 18(3): 5. 2004.

2 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/20/AR2010042005075.html

3 http://blog.precipice.org/why-wesabe-lost-to-mint

posted by: shawnkardell notes (10)

Hello, World

We love ideas. We think they’re awesome. We’ve shared 1,400 of them with 12,000 followers over the last two years. Week after week, 70 contributors have brought you ideas found from all over.
 
Announcing: Ideas Are Awesome 2.0. We decided it was time to upgrade and add some new ideas we liked. Particularly from, well, all of us: space150 and you, the followers. We’d like to use this place to bring you those ideas, too.
 
You’ll continue to see the same shared ideas, with some original ideas sprinkled in as well.

And it’s not just about us. We’d like to hear from you, too. So if you’ve got some of your own ideas that you think are awesome, we’ll be taking applications for authors. We’re getting a form ready, and we wanted to tell you as soon as we could.

Stay tuned, more awesome ideas are coming soon.

posted by: shawnkardell notes (14)