Insights

The future belongs to those who move

28. November 2019

At Valtech we believe the future is created in the present. We believe changes we do now is defining our future, so there is no need to sit around and wait. Instead we make our clients business grow by working with trends to ideate on new business possibilities.

How to work with trends to make your business grow

Sometimes we imagine the future as something in the distance, something far away. Soon we realize it´s closing in faster than expected, hitting us at full speed - no matter what we do.

At Valtech we like to think the other way around. The future is created in the present. We believe changes we do now is defining our future, so there is no need to sit around and wait. Instead we make our clients business grow by working with trends to ideate on new business possibilities. By doing so we can meet emerging customer needs already now, and be first at new markets and business models. By not doing it we risk to loose relevance, even becoming obsolete. 

In this blog post we share the trends that we’ve seen affect us and our clients. If you wanna know more about a certain trend or try a trend workshop, contact Victoria Cleverby

Brands become…

Brands become…, is a trend originating from the political chaos many countries are experiencing today.  In the face of mounting pressure and public outcry, corporations have felt the need to take a political stand and to be the change they would like to see in the world. Examples can for example be seen in U.S policies around guns, where retailers such as Walmart have stopped selling guns to young people under 21 years, as a response to shootings at Walmart stores. 

Another way to understand this trend is to look at brands covering new grounds. Sidewalk Labs—owned by Alphabet—is building a new neighbourhood called “Quayside” a new “smart neighbourhood”  in Toronto. And Facebook has announced they are launching their own cryptocurrency, Libra. 

Growing a new branch

Connected to ”Brands become…” is the trend Growing a new branch, the idea that we want everything from one single entity, hence businesses are adding more offerings and business models to its existing operations. 

You probably know Uber eats? Now imagine Uber eating everything in the transport sector, as they are rapidly trying to position themselves as the ultimate macro-to-micro transport architect. 

Airbnb has debuted Airbnb Adventures, a collection of tours and trips. And the American outdoor equipment company REI has launched Camping Project, a service that enables users to search for bookable campsites and outdoor properties by location and nearby activities. 

Choosing choices

Getting all your needs accommodated by one brand alone is a tactics found in our third trend - Choosing choices. This trend is born as we in our modern day world are faced with hundreds of decisions everyday, leading to decision fatigue. In these environments new tactics around choice emerge. 

Buying everything from one brand can be seen in the example of Public Goods, a new online store that specializes in essentials like food, household, and personal care products, with each product category offers pretty much one choice. Helping the customer to choose is something Amazon is doing in their store concept Amazon 4-star. That is a physical store where everything for sale is rated 4 stars and above, is a top seller, or is new and trending on Amazon.com. Another way to get out of having to make active choices is to postpone them, such a tactic could be found in subscription as it in a way postpones choices when the service keep on coming until you reject it. According to McKinsey, between 2011 and 2016 sales among the largest retailers in the e-commerce subscription market rose from 57 million dollar to 2.6 billion dollar.

To learn more about these trends, and to understand what kind of customer behaviour and expectation they are driving, as well how this might influence your business. Please contact Victoria Cleverby for more information. 

Starting to think in circles

Subscriptions is also important when rent replaces ownership in the circular trend we would like to call Starting to think in circles. H&M are reopening one of their stores in Stockholm where the customers will have the possibility to rent pieces of clothing from their HM’s sustainable collection. There H&M will also repair and update clothes in a special atelier. 

Circularity also affects our residential homes. The housing project Viva has just met its new inhabitants in Guldheden, Gothenburg, as a result of research within “Positive footprint housing”. The house offers features such as solar energy, energy storage, car and electrical bike pools, desks for remote working. At Valtech Sweden we recently hosted a design sprint using circular design methods for Rädda barnen in order to build our knowledge within circular design. Rädda Barnen and Valtech has collaborated for a longer period of time, read more about our work together here.

I am my DNA

As personalisation has started to become something we all expect from our services and devices. The next big thing is tailoring to the needs of our actual bodies in a trend we call I am my DNA. 

Customised food is a billion dollar industry that is growing fast. A number of companies have been marketing “nutrigenomics,” or the idea that a DNA test can provide guidance for what foods you should eat. In March 2019, L’Oréal announced an innovative partnership with biotech startup Ubiome, to provide consumers with a deeper and more precise view into skin health. And bespoke travel expert Brown and Hudson offer psychology based trips where clients have an in-depth interview which is used to tailor a trip that resonates with the individual.

Feeling all the feels

But it is not only the “technical” parts of the body that is being highlighted, our emotions is getting more and more attention. “Feeling all the feels” is our trend that highlights the importance of emotions and how they contribute to intuitive, experience-based decision making. As we know image speaks to emotion faster than words, and maybe thats why images are increasingly the means by which people communicate. More than 50 percent of Twitter impressions now involve posts with images, video or other media. Images are also becoming a gateway for new technology. 

Affectiva is a startup that develops a software that can understand emotional and cognitive states by analyzing facial expressions through a device’s camera. Affectiva created and defined the category of Emotion AI – technology that can detect expressions of emotion from face and voice – which is projected to become a multi-billion dollar industry. 

The quest for wellbeing

This increased importance of our bodies also comes with a greater focus on our wellbeing, seen in our trend “The quest for wellbeing”. 

According to WHO depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. This has led to an evolution of new products and services to help sooth our mind and souls, and governments have started to take action as well. Great Britain is the first country in the world to appoint a minister of loneliness, and New Zeeland has presented a new “well-being budget that will make sure government spending is to ensure citizens’ health and life satisfaction. In this trend the digital has been a way to solve mental health problems, for example Woebot is an artificially intelligent chatbot  that uses the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy. But unfortunately digital technology has also been appointed a contributing factor to mental illness, which has led to companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook all adding features designed to help their users measure their time using those companies’ products. At Valtech Sweden we have worked with Socialstyrelsen to raise awareness around endometrios, something you can read more about here

Doomsday for data?

Another side of wellbeing might be greater transparency in the use of data that can be collected from individuals’ online presence. The trend Doomsday for data? touches upon the issues connected to how data has been used to create psychological profiles on people in order to target certain individuals with political messages, as critics accuse Facebook, Google and Amazon for damaging democracy. Companies are now trying to take advantage of this. Apple wants to make privacy their key selling point and the companies such as CyberVein and Ocean Protocol has developed a blockchain-based system enabling people to sell their own data.

The New Normal

Our last trend is also connected to ourselves, to the individual and the community as changes in how we live, love and interact with each other is expanding our norms. Presented in the trend The New Normal, inclusivity is becoming more and more important for brands to take into consideration. 

Ikea for example is working to make living with disabilities easier through considerate design in their inclusive Omtänksam line and ASOS, Tommy Hilfiger and Target have released adaptive fashion lines designed to make getting dressed easier. Connected to this is also ageism. Ageism is stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. and W.H.O. has invested half a million dollars in research on the topic as the world population reaches older ages. So for brands to remain relevant they will increasingly have to embrace the ageing population and its broad needs and demands.

To learn more about these trends, and to understand what kind of customer behaviour and expectation they are driving, as well how this might influence your business. Please contact Victoria Cleverby for more information.

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