Robert Moran of the Brunswick Group presented at the Greenbook Insights Innovation Exchange in Philadelphia today. He argued that research needs to “solve for acceleration — the acceleration in the rate of change in business, society and consumer demands.” To do this, research must pursue new paths, which Robert summarizes as the fast-fashion path and the futurist community.
Robert said “the metabolic rate of capitalism is quickening.” Here is evidence from the perspective of consumers…
|Invention||Date Invented||Years to Reach 25% of U.S. Population|
|color TV||1951||18 years|
|mobile phone||1983||13 years|
|World Wide Web||1991||7 years|
…and then the ability of suppliers to react:
|Year||Lifespan of corporation on S&P 500|
As part of this rapid change, Robert identified “10 D’s that will change your business”:
- Disruptive technologies
- Disruptive innovation meme
What does the problem of accelerating discontinuous change mean for the role of market research?
- The fast fashion path – RIME (Rapid In Market Experimentation) – “Do. Think. Speed to market. Rapid iteration. Products as real-time experiments, analysis of the sales data.”
- The futurist community – Anticipation – “Think. Do. Anticipate futures. Analysis of STEEP factors: Social, Technological, Economical, Environmental, Political.”
In the fast fashion path, the model of “think” then “do” is turned on its head. Do, then think. Execute, then evaluate. As outlined in The Lean Startup, run rapid market experiments, and keep iterating, and keep iterating. Motto: new, better, faster, obsolete. This approach turns the research paradigm on its head, pushing product into the market, running it as an experiment, and learning. Retail stores that follow this pattern include Zara and Charming Charlie, which offers fast, inexpensive and fashionable clothing in a tight feedback loop.
The futurist community often collaborates to envision the future. For instance, The Futurist magazine includes forecasts, trends, and ideas about the future. What are the big changes on the horizon? In Race against the Machine, the authors extrapolate from the socio-technological age progression and see the Information Age passing into the Robotic Biotech Age. The social composition of society will change, and a new social structure will include people who lack the cognitive ability to work. There will be technological unemployment: what happens if you simultaneously have algorithms dislocate white collar workers and robots dislocate blue collar workers?
For more, check out Robert’s post on his blog, Future Of Insight, IIeX Philly: Fast Fashion or Futurists? (A Preview).