We met Anne Lise during a future lab hosted by Virgin Media Business. The way she maps her world seemed really interesting and relevant to navigating the world of innovation and enterprise. She says that due to her fisherman heritage, she knows how important maps are to properly navigate a new territory and to find your way home. So, we took this metaphor to create a mapping tool based on her insights. The tool is meant to allow entrepreneurs map the environment of their idea to make more purposeful decisions on brand, growth, and iterations.
Why is this tool so important?
We are all aware that big companies do not always seem to follow the spirit of the time. Nevertheless, their one big advantage is that they have both the resources (in form of time, money and people) and the history to analyse their existing business model towards bigger trends of how they should develop themselves towards the future.
Entrepreneurs do not have the same leisure. They cannot adjust business models based on experience. They have to start out seeing the bigger picture. Trend mapping helps you recognise macro trends that inevitably will influence your project mid and long term.
If you just start out finding your place in the market, it is even more important to know what consumers will want in the future than to know what they want today. Thus, trend mapping helps you stay consumer-focused at all times. It helps you navigate your future.
How do we use this tool?
Trend mapping is, at its base, a 360° outlook – the “whole picture” – of both macro and micro trends that influence you and your work no matter whether you are aware of them or not. You have to make yourself aware of these trends to actively use them for your business. The easiest way to do this is to draw a trend map. Aspects of this trend map are taken from Politics, Economics, Society, Technology, Environment and Law (PESTEL), alongside Culture, Lifestyle, Consumption, Wellbeing, Ethics and Values.
Some of the general macro consumer trends Anne Lise Kjaer has identified are as follows:
- The importance of story
- To create a “curated experience”
- Participation and empowerment
- To deliver the “real thing”
If there is the trend for these four aspects in the future even more than you can already see it happening today – what does that mean for your project? Or your company? What does it mean for the way you manage your customer relationships?
Your future business strategies have to be based on both macro trends as well as micro trends closer to your sector. Invest in the research of what you can sense happening in the market today, physically draw a trend atlas of where you are in this picture and draw conclusions towards what the picture you see means for you. Develop narratives of the future and what your place in it will be. Use the trend you find, do not work against them.