How to see what others miss and predict the future.
Rohit Bhargava, founder and chief trend curator of the non-obvious company, has taken the best of his annual Trend Report and written a Wall Street Journal bestselling book, title above. He takes us behind the scenes at his signature Haystack Method for identifying trends. According to Bhargava you don’t have to be a futurist or innovator to learn to think like one. His key to understanding how to grow your business or propelling your career into the next decade lies in better understanding the present. The future belongs to non-obvious thinkers.
“This skill is often described as creativity, and we live in a world that celebrates it. But finding the solution to a particularly tricky problem or discovering a world changing idea takes more than creativity –a fact discovered on a fateful day nearly two decades ago while sitting across the table from man waiting to be inspired by anyone but me. We’re sitting in a conference room on the top floor of an office building overlooking Darling Harbor in Sydney. As we present our epic game changing campaign idea, the first presentation seems to go well. Unfortunately, as our pitch wrapped up our client asked the one questions we were not expecting, “What else you got?.” I slowly realized that the only person who could remember those abandoned ideas was the junior member of the team who had taken notes in the meetings. Summoning my courage, I broke the silence and spoke up.
I did not pull a million-dollar idea out of my head. In fact, the truth is I don’t remember what I said. But, I do remember how I felt. It was my first taste of being on the other side, and I was hooked. I wanted that feeling again. I became an idea curator by accident. Editing a blog, I constantly ran out of ideas so I started seeking ideas everywhere. I scribbled possible blog topics on scraps of paper. I save quotes from books and ripped pages out of magazines. My collection of potential topics grew. I started saving them is a simple yellow folder with Ideas scrawled not the tab. It worked, and I now had plenty of inspiration for what to write about. During this time I wrote more than a thousand articles, built a readership of hundreds of thousands people, and won several awards.
Near the end of 2010, I was reading an article about trends for the coming year. Almost all of them were lazy, uninformed or self-serving declarations of the obvious. Trends like the iPhone 4 and that people would express themselves more on social media weren’t trends, they were profoundly obvious observations of the world. Frustrated to do better, I published may own list of 15 trends and called it the Non-Obvious Trend Report. It went viral, hundreds of thousands of people read and shared it. Now ten years later my library of non-obvious trends has grown to more than hundred predictions. The books have been translated into eight languages and earned nine international book awards.”
This Non Obvious Mega Trends book has two important parts (editor) -(A) five key mindsets required for being a non-obvious thinker and (B) ten power mega-trends that will shape the coming decade and. We offer taste of both below:
(A) The mindsets: As professor Carol Dweck of Stanford researched, people either have growth mindset or a fixed mindset. People with the fixed mindset believe their skill and abilities are set. Those with growth mindsets believe success is the result of learning, hard work and determination. Engaging in non-obvious thinking starts with adopting a growth mindset. The five mindsets of non-obvious thinkers are;
- BE OBSERVANT – See what others miss.
- BE CURIOUS – Always ask why.
- BE FICKLE – Learn to move on.
- BE THOUGHTFUL – Take time to think.
- BE ELEGANT – Craft beautiful ideas.
(B) The non-obvious megatrends:
- AMPLIFIED IDENTITY – People carefully cultivate how they are perceived both online & offline.
- INSTANT KNOWLEDGE – Consuming bite-sized knowledge risks forgetting mastery & wisdom.
- REVIVALISM – People seek simpler experiences with sense of nostalgia and trustworthy times.
- HUMAN MODE – People place greater value on authentic, “unperfect” human experiences.
- ATTENTION WEALTH – Attention is our most valuable resource so seek trust in communication.
- PURPOSEFUL PROFIT – As consumers demand ethical practices, companies are responding.
- DATA ABUNDANCE – Caution comes from ubiquity of data -useful, ownership, & who profits.
- PROTECTIVE TECH – Increasing reliance on predictive tech brings privacy trade-offs.
- FLUX COMMERCE – Rapid change brings continual disruption of channels and innovation.
This book is terrific for entrepreneurship. Bhargava starts with mindsets because only those who train themselves to think entrepreneurially can recognize and then seize opportunities as they arise. He also give his own experiences the led to his curator expertise -15 years in leadership roles at two renowned ad agencies, bestselling author of six books, keynote speaker in 32 countries around the world. Rohit is a popular adjunct professor of marketing and storytelling at Georgetown University.
Written by the editor with generous use of book quotes.