Friday, April 25, 2008

Trendhunting: 5 Key Takeaways from Jeremy Gutsche's Keynote

Normally I like to take voluminous notes and synthesize exactly what was said during conference sessions that I am attending so I can share them with others, however with Jeremy Gutsche's, founder of, keynote this morning I found myself too captivated by what he was saying and the way he conducted his presentation to do so. That's not to say that there wasn't a lot to be gained/learned, rather I found myself jotting random notes instead. Here are a few key takeaways that I think everyone could benefit from...
  1. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. If you aren't factoring in the environment and cultural aspects of what you are trying to do, your chances for success are pretty unlikely. You need to understand your customer, so for associations it's about understanding your members. Spend time really getting to know (observing) your members in their environment. The solutions that you come up with will be all that much more relevant and impactful.
  2. Wei-ji: crisis is an opportunity. A declaration of crisis is an opportunity to cut red tape, meet your customers in their zone and accelerate innovation. When you feel like you have nothing to lose, you generally find much more to gain. Jeremy shared a really great quote on this topic: "win like you are used to it, lose like you enjoy it". It's definitely a paradigm shift, but it is also essential for success in our current busines environment that is driven by speed to market, and risk taking.
  3. From the Stanford nothing is precious. Abandon all attachment to what is and constantly strive for what could be. Senior people (leaders, etc.) need to be crazy and take risks. An aside...we need to abandon the idea that risks are always negative. Risks can also produce very positive effects as well.
  4. There is no point in trying to innovate if you think you already know the answer. Innovation will definitely vary from organization to organization...however regardless of who you are or what processes you have in place to make it more effective the structure cannot, nor shouldn't, be too rigid.
  5. Relentlessly obsess about your story. Make it simple, direct and supercharged. What is the real value proposition and how can you make it appeal to your customers/members. Especially in today's media/web 2.0 driven economy the medium is the message. Make it viral and spend the time really trying to hone in on your message and differentiation strategy.

I consider myself someone who is definitely ahead of the curve on hot resources and the best sites and resources on the web, but admittedly was completely unaware of Jeremy Gutsche and his site However, coming out of the session today, I have a new site and resource that I will be adding to my daily reading list and plug both him and his site. If you consider yourself an innovator or interested in/concerned with how future trends may impact your organization, I'd recommend checking the site out. And for those of you who prefer consuming your trends via email, I'd recommend signing up for their Trendcandy Newsletter, a weekly compilation of viral innovations, blossoming micro trends and pop culture.

As a personal aside, I have to say that Fusion Productions / DigitalNow has yet again managed to bring together some phenomenal keynote speakers that really add value to the overall conference by providing an overall context that helps frame the other sessions and the conference buzz as well.

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At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Jeremy Gutsche said...

Thanks for the nice review!

For those looking for more information, I've enclosed some links:

Trend Hunter Magazine – Over 15,000 Micro-Trends

Trend Candy FREE Weekly Email Newsletter

Unlocking Cool Presentation

2008 Trend Report: Clusters of Inspiration

Top Sites - on the Net for Trend Spotting


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