Invention & Innovation

The Next Big Idea should mean you have reinvented the category

“Clearly, we necessarily shouldn’t be looking only at how we cure illnesses, but how we prevent them. So I think that a lot of the areas coming out of the (biotech and nanotech) technologies will be very, very powerful in helping to change the balance. Looking on the other side of it. I think that friends still will be a very important part of our lives. Therefore, I suppose the ability to communicate with anybody, anywhere, anytime visually, play with them, interact with them is going to be crucial.”

– Derek Woodgate – USA Today, 2004

Innovation is not just about products, but every aspect of the business. In fact, breakthrough ideas and true paradigm shifts are often outside of the direct product arena.

We have developed our own ideation process, which embraces courage over comfort and often results in us redefining the business you are in. Ideation is about creativity, outrageousness, vision, perception and turning the world upside down. It is also about white spaces and voids and all those other seemingly esoteric, abstract qualities – inspiration, impulse and intuition and the power to think the unthinkable. The challenge is then to place the output, like integrated circuitry, into meaningful platforms. Innovation is far beyond brainstorming, think tanks and Stagegate (which we recommend in the post-ideation phase) – it is “Living the Future” today – a name we have given to a vital component of our process. To complement our work, we also use Frontline Panels of forward thinkers to take us to another level.

Innovation can interact with category reinvention. It helps us create a future competitive landscape. This embraces potential new and transformed products, extended and new categories, new marketplaces and intermediaries, the shifting power base amongst competitors, potential consolidations, what ‘ifs’ and how new enterprises or players would approach the market. The landscape is then overlaid with trends, and a “wide-angled lens” vision of the broader, external influences on the category and company. We then develop one or more future contexts for the brand and its products. Risks and opportunities are then evaluated against these scenarios.

Because the implementation of an idea is crucial, we can also create a “Rolling Back the Future” plan. This demonstrates a time line aimed at showing effective ways forward.

“I am most inspired by detailed references to biomorphed and genetically transformed humans and to artificial autonomous agents, because ultimately, say around 2020, I see incredible progress being made in these areas.

“Biotech is becoming a staple of SciFi. In Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon, consciousness is digitized and can be downloaded into a new body. Darwin’s Radio by Greg Bear deals with expansive shifts in evolutionary genetics and new viral epidemics.”

– Derek Woodgate – Wired magazine, June 2003

The Futures Lab, Inc.

391 17th Street NW,
Unit 3011
Atlanta, GA 30363, USA

1-678 595 3302
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