Opportunity Hunting in Chaos. It is a presentation about innovation given by Jeremy Gutsche, Trend Hunter CEO & NYT Bestselling Author.
Chaos creates opportunity but also sparks ongoing change. Often, people don’t notice the extent of the ongoing change.
Furthermore, when hunting opportunity in chaos, it’s very important to develop a series of tactics and tools to help you filter through the noise, in order to see each of those incremental steps and better identify clusters of opportunities.
Indeed, in any markets/companies/organisations, when it comes to identifying opportunities in chaos, there are really 3 different things to be good at :
- Reset your expectations
- Have a tactic or toolkit for hunting new ideas, inspiration.
- Have a system of filtering through those ideas to find a cluster of opportunities.
We are going to step through each of these steps into opportunity hunting.
Additionally, when opportunity hunting and getting those results mentioned above, you need to ask yourself this question: where do you find new ideas?
Here are some example of ideas to help you get inspired:
- Trend safaris: Try to experience other industries and cultures (IKEA)
- Look for subcultures: Look for subcultures of cool or the opposite of mainstream (QUIKSILVER)
- Create a full perceptual map of the industry: look at restaurants, food trucks, anything related to the product cycle of what it is they are creating (PEPSI)
- Randomise your inspiration: go to lectures, webinars you’ve never been to before or would normally be interested in (IDEO)
- People watching: visit competitors and smaller shops to study what customers are doing (NESTLE)
- Pursue curiosities: answer the question ‘wouldn’t it be cool if… ?’ (APPLE/CANVA).
1- Tactics from our clients
The first concept we will dive into will be:
2- Four levels of opportunity hunting
A cluster is a group of items that have the same common factor. For eg, here caffeinated products (drink, crips, chewing gums).
3- Innovation exercise in opportunity hunting: design your own hip hotel.
a) your market (eg Hotels)
b) adjacent markets (eg Hotel services)
c) your target market demographic likes and is doing
In a 2.0 World, the vending machine would give a free drink if you use the hashtag shown on the machine.
d) Group into meaningful clusters
But here is the catch: the human mind is great at recognising patterns…by creating shortcuts… (bad!)
E) Throw your first clusters away
Now, you have these groups and need to pick only one of those new clusters to create a new hotel. And what you’ll find that at round 2, people come up with more interesting and unique hotels and less expensive.
Here is what happens. When you focus on a cluster, you’ll start working on a cluster important to your customers, because it is based on a series of ideas more likely to succeed.
4- Workshop: repeat these tactics for your brand
So, if you are wondering, how did I find these 6 clusters? Well, I use the patterns as follow:
- In-room luxury: re-direction or surprise
- Nostalgia co-branding: cyclicality
- Humanisation of pets: simplicity, focusing on something very important for a specific group of people
- Viral youth targeting: looking for things that are rebellious
- Renting cultural experience: acceleration by taking one small idea and taking it to the next level.
I’ll show you now how this works. In the chaos, big changes are like splashes in water that create ripples of opportunity. The way I think about it is that ideas are like a plethora of little dots. Each dot represents a new idea. But those dots are a little more connected than you think. If you find multiple clusters and start adding up, you’ll find several related clusters, you can identify megatrends.
But if you dial megatrends up, even more, you can find the patterns. And the patterns are going to be the focus of the next 5-10 minutes, that we’ll dive into.
5- Patterns of opportunities
You could use the patterns of opportunities to label the change you see out there.
But you could use the patterns the other way. Instead of diagnosing, looking outward to find opportunities that are out there.
Divergence: ‘Instead of marketing to the masses, be irresistible to a specific group of people’.
Google didn’t want to buy Facebook in 2007 and tried to replicate what Facebook was doing, ie copying their business model. Guess what? It failed badly.
But, if we used ‘Divergence’ as a business model, we could break down what Facebook was doing and find new opportunities. Divergence means people don’t want to be part of the mainstream.
So, Facebook was a site for Friends. So, what is the opposite of that? A site for celebrities, and people you don’t know. That opportunity was filled by Twitter later.
If people are archiving all of their photos, what if I don’t want to have my photos of parties to be archived for the rest of my adult life to be seen by others? Well, something needed to be less permanent, creating an opportunity for Snapchat.
If people are photographing their everyday life, and their food, and ruining the art of photography, something needs to bring that art back. So, twelve people coded up Instagram and sold, interestingly enough, to Facebook for $1 billion, which is a nice check to split between twelve colleagues.
A) Divergence Pattern
If you want to find out divergence in your own market, you take an example of the innovations you are seeing and you’d ask questions like :
Nonetheless, I’m not going to explain all of these megatrends or sub-patterns today, because you can dive into those resources at trendhunter.com (especially trendhunter.com/pro). You’ll see our entire site is broken down like this, so you can learn the methodology.
Instead, i’m going to keep rolling on and walk you through each of the patterns.
B) Acceleration Pattern
Acceleration is the concept of ‘taking a little idea or customer experience and make it bigger, better, smarter, and more exciting‘.
I’ll give you an example. There’s a guy, who hated marathons. He thought marathons were stupid. You know why? Because people work really, then run and are not happy with the results, because, guess what, it’s a race. If you asked people who did marathons, how they did. People will almost always answer sheepishly: ‚I wish I did better, it wasn’t exactly perfect but I got it done. And if you asked people ‚why did you do the marathon?‘. They will answer ‚ I wanted to have it completed.
So, there is that sense of accomplishment feeling, and by accelerating it, you could make something more interesting. That’s when you created the concept of tough mudder, an experience where there is no clock or timer. And as you run, navigate the course, you’ll go through mud bogs… and you’ll do it all with your friends. So, it’s kind of cool because you do it as a team. You do it together, take pictures and everyone changes their telephone backgrounds to be that picture of their life accomplishment tough mudder. And in the future, if you ask the question; ‚how did you do in that race ?’, you’ll answer ‘I did awesomely. Take a look at this picture!‘
The company went from 0 to $70 million in two years, teaching us we need to re-think what people actually want.
To find acceleration patterns in your industry, you’ve got to ask:
C) Cyclicality Pattern
This brings me to the next pattern ‚cyclicality’ with the simple notion that ‘everything old is new again’.
Consistently in time, we see a great example of designs, and culture from the past re-embed themselves in the modern-day. You know that people love certain things to come back. Cyclicality continues in almost every industry in a variety of ways.
To get the cyclical opportunity, you first ask :
D) Convergence Pattern
This brings me to the next pattern of ‚convergence‘ and the notion of ‚your next idea exists in some combination of things you already know‘.
Take a guy in prison who couldn’t help but think how different his life could be if he’d simply joined his dad and his brother in the family bakeshop. He studied all the little tiny trends that seemed to impact the world of baking. Then, he made the ingredients organic, and local, which gets to another segment, the restaurant. There, he put solar panels on the roof, which gets the eco crowd. He brought fair wages and more importantly got an element of social good by hiring ex-convicts. Finally, shock branding was pretty big at the time with the advertising slogan ‚Dave’s killer bread, it’s killer good, say no to bread on drugs‘.
The bakeshop went from a tiny shop to a $250 million bread empire in just a matter of years.
To get to a convergence opportunity, you need to ask yourself :
E) Reduction Pattern
Now, let’s move to the ‚reduction’ pattern, which is the concept of ‘it’s not about getting a big idea, it’s about a little idea you can make big’.
Think about all the apps that have a single function, yet are so successful because they do that function very well.
Let me tell you a story of a guy whose future wife broke up with the engagement. He was left with a ring and initially didn’t quite know what to do. So, even though he was very late to the game, he started an online jewelry auction called ‚I do and now I don’t‘, so that the broken people can exchange their jewels. Now, he wanted to help people get over that little fear of how to make that transaction safe. Between the buyer and seller, he added an authenticator, to make sure the jewel is real.
With the concept of reduction, you are trying to be irresistible to a specific group of people.
To find your reduction opportunity, you’d scan your ideas and opportunities and ask yourself :
F) Redirection Pattern
Then, we will move on to the last of the six patterns we will view today, which is ‚redirection‘, that element of surprise. It is about ‚Reinventing and re-positioning the possibility of what could be’.
Here are a few examples of taking weaknesses into opportunities:
Re-direction opportunities can be found by looking at :
Summarising all this, let’s review the tactics for your brand in your opportunity-hunting strategy:
The new ideas based on the cluster refer to your newly found customer insights.
6- 4 Levels of Breakthrough
Finally, let me walk you through a bonus part based on my experience of opportunity hunting.
A defining choice: you will get presented with something at some point in your career that you could do. It’s within your grasp. It’s often so close to your comfort zone, so similar to things that you have tried, that you dismiss it. If you want to not dismiss it, you must explicitly identify your comfort zone with your team. You then need to push your limits, and make a bold choice.
A dismissable trend: it happens when you are an expert. It’s a trend in your industry where your expertise makes you think you know better. It explains why so many iconic innovators have missed out on huge opportunities that were within their reach. If you don’t want to miss a trend, be humble, ask questions, recognise the blinding power of your own expertise.
A work-shoppable idea: it’s something that comes to you, it’s probably not a bad idea, but you need to workshop through it with your team. If you want to identify a work-shoppable idea, challenge what seems possible, deep-dive your curiosities, and pursue your next customers (not the ones you already have).
All of this brings me to the final idea, the hidden gem.
All in all, I’ll summarise by saying, you are going to create your future. You have so much potential within your grasp. Put push harder, act sooner, and never give up, because you are capable of more than you think.