Member Post: Foresight fuels product and brand innovation by John Mahaffie

The following is a member post written by John Mahaffie and originally posted on his blog, Foresight Culture. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of the APF. 

You can’t innovate in a vacuum. Foresight opens new space for exploring change and discovering opportunities for innovation.

In product innovation, it’s essential to look beyond the boundaries of the current market for your products. You need to explore at least five or ten years into the future for fresh insights. And you need to test your assumptions about the marketplace and how it’s changing.

In brand innovation, a futures view tests assumptions about emerging change in values, attitudes, lifestyles, and consumption. It helps you fine tune your understanding of how consumers will understand and value a brand.

Without those enhanced views, you risk misunderstanding the patterns of change and missing opportunities. And you raise the risk of product failure or a mis-fire in marketing or brand development.

What you can do

For the most robust innovation efforts, build foresight into your work. Innovation teams should discuss leading-edge change and where it may steer the marketplace. Making future outcomes explicit sharpens the view of emerging needs and opportunities.

A baseline environmental scan of the most critical forces and trends shaping society will fuel a team’s creative thinking and fortify its understanding of the marketplace.

Scenarios help you test product/service ideas against a clearer view of the future.

Those are just two foresight tools among many that will enhance and enrich your innovation processes.

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You probably need a futurist to help, let me know. jbmahaffie@leadingfuturists.biz and 202-271-0444.