Jeremy Gutsche is the founder and CEO of Trend Hunter, a website where people from around the world can share business ideas and trends. It’s basically like a giant innovation focus group. He is also the author of two books, Exploiting Chaos: 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change and Create the Future: Tactics for Disruptive Thinking.
As Jeremy points out in his books, it is still possible to innovate in times of uncertainty, which is encouraging with what we have going on in the world right now. He says, “Chaos creates opportunity always. And what happens is that we get intimidated by the doom and gloom of bad times. But actually, if you look in history, what happens is that we get caught in a groove. Successful people get caught in a groove. Successful people are the ones that miss out and get disrupted because we get caught on a path of repeating past decisions. And chaos changes that. So if you look historically, you will see an astounding list of companies that were founded during periods actually of economic recession. Disney, HP, Apple, Burger King, Fortune Magazine, the list goes on and on, I’ve got about 50 in the book, but these are all companies that were actually started in a period of recession. And of course, this is a difficult time that we’re in with Coronavirus. It is going to spark different opportunities, people are trying new things, like more of these virtual seminars, ideas, we’re starting to rethink about what’s important and why.”
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So during this time are there specific mindsets and skills individuals should be focused on in order to deal with these crazy times? Jeremy says it is important to embrace what is happening around us instead of trying to fight against it. We are all going through the same difficult time so everyone will be more understanding of failures or mistakes, but it won’t work to fight against what we are going through, so just embrace it.
He also says we have to be willing to destroy the old way of doing things. “It’s a simple note that right now the rules of the game have changed. And if you’re willing to just embrace looking into what those new rules could be, combined with your curiosity and insatiability, then you’re really well prepared for the future.”
Jeremy has always focused on trends, for his books and for his website. So how can you go about spotting trends? Jeremy says “The trend is your friend and your best guess at where the future is headed is to better understand trends. And I’d say just increasing your knowledge of how trends work could actually have a pretty big impact. And I’ll give you two example lessons on that. The first lesson would be, that we tend to use the word “trend” to represent a pretty wide range of things. On one end, there’s this super mega trend like the rise of female purchasing power or eco, and those are interesting but they’re just so big and everybody knows them that they’re not necessarily going to change your mind too much. You’re gonna follow them anyways and that’s life. On the other end, we use this word “trend” almost incorrectly to describe what’s trending on Twitter, and the new little product that’s interesting. But actually that’s so little and a flash in the pan that you might not be able to do anything with it. So what you’re actually looking for would be something in the middle which we would probably call cluster or consumer insight, which would be when you can find grouplings of multiple examples that all show you something that’s new and interesting.”
Things you will learn:
Long term implications of something like Covid-19
How to innovate in chaotic times
Why success can be a double edged sword
What skills and mindsets individuals need right now
Real life examples of companies who found a way to thrive in difficult times
How to spot trends
What leaders can do to support people on the front lines of the virus right now