We’re counting down the Top 10 posts of 2011 on “Innovation Evolved”. Originally published October 27, here’s #7 on the countdown.

Dominic Harrison of the Future Foundation presented to ESOMAR 3D. “Between now and the end of the decade, we can expect 1.2 billion people to go online for the first time. It is seen as a force for good, connecting us and empowering us. It also prompts concerns for security of personal data and the effect so much screen time is having on our brains.”

Five trends shaping the digital experience:

  1. The Digital Maximizer – The first trend is the shift from satisficing to maximizing, finding the best available product for the best available price, thanks to engagement with the Internet as well as the challenging global economy. “Never before have shoppers had so much knowledge and been able to survey the market with so much ease.” Maximizers also regularly consult online reviews: 33% across the US, UK, India and China checked such reviews before buying a mobile phone. Mobile phones make maximization possible when retail shopping. Will maximizing evolve into smart automated consumption in sectors by 2015? For instance, BankSimple coming later this year will move funds between savings and credit to help minimize fees and maximize interest. Brits surveyed would like a tool to automatically switch their utility supplier by price. This results in “a more informed, social and mobile shopper.”
  2. The Rise of Smart Boredom – People turn moments of dead time to life with games, Facebook and web surfing when waiting, in the rise of smart boredom. Dominic has seen growth in phone usage during such times. Even passive leisure – TV watching, for instance – is subject to this: 39% of 16-24s in UK have surfed the web while watching a show. NBC Live lets viewers interact while watching a show. In the future, people will expect their spare moments can be used for entertainment, education or even tasks like grocery shopping. “Brands can help maximize all moments of the day.”
  3. The Quantified Self – Another trend is people tracking their health and activity. According to the University of California, every day the average person produces six newspapers worth of personal information compared to 2.5 pages in 1986. Right now, personal health tracking (tracking calories and exercise, for instance) is done by between 15% and 19% of consumers in the U.S., U.K., Australia and South Korea. In the U.K., the Smartbox device passively tracks driving habits and changes insurance rates based on driving patterns. “A shift from companies using data to consumers analyzing their own data requires a new relationship with brands that want access to that data.”
  4. Integrating the Play Ethic – While not new, this tendency towards gaming has been emphasized by mobile technology. Over half of British smartphone owners use games at least once a month, and 38% of 40-54 year olds play games at least once a week. In China, 78% of an urban sample play social games, compared to just 48% in the U.S. The mobile app Scvngr allows people to complete challenges around real-world locations, sponsored by advertisers. In the future, gamification can affect price: “the more people that tweet, the cheaper you eat” was one campaign that might indicate the future. “Makes life more fun and provides more opportunities for contact.”
  5. Digital Etiquette – The perils of social broadcasting are coming home to roost: 42% of U.K. 16-24 year olds agreed they had posted updates they later wished they hadn’t posted, with similar levels in other countries. Digital etiquette will result in more consideration on what they share and whom they share it with. Digital management is not digital disengagement but reflects a smarter control of use of social media. “Provide opportunities for policing digital content and putting our best foot forward.”

Author Notes:

Jeffrey Henning

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Jeffrey Henning, IPC is a professionally certified researcher and has personally conducted over 1,400 survey research projects. Jeffrey is a member of the Insights Association and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers. In 2012, he was the inaugural winner of the MRA’s Impact award, which “recognizes an industry professional, team or organization that has demonstrated tremendous vision, leadership, and innovation, within the past year, that has led to advances in the marketing research profession.” In 2022, the Insights Association named him an IPC Laureate. Before founding Researchscape in 2012, Jeffrey co-founded Perseus Development Corporation in 1993, which introduced the first web-survey software, and Vovici in 2006, which pioneered the enterprise-feedback management category. A 35-year veteran of the research industry, he began his career as an industry analyst for an Inc. 500 research firm.