How Innovation Emerges from Trends

Increasingly, innovations are based on trends. Digitalization and digital transformation will radically change the innovation management of companies in the coming years. New digital business models are emerging on the basis of new technologies such as the block chain, artificial intelligence or edge computing. Business innovation is increasingly technology-driven. The analysis of technological trends, business trends and marketing trends is an essential prerequisite for the development of innovation strategies. In this article, you will learn how to perform a trend analysis quickly and easily. And you will learn how to develop innovations from trends.

What are trends?

The term trends generally refers to a general direction in which technologies, markets and companies are changing. Trends are long-term developments that occur slowly and find their way into the mainstream through different players (research institutions, development laboratories, innovation and digitization departments).

The basis of trends are so-called megatrends, which describe the big picture. Megatrends such as demographic change, increasing awareness of climate change or the worldwide connectivity of machines and devices are general trend indicators. It’s like saying to a hiking group: “Head south.”

For companies, megatrends do not result in direct action plans. Megatrends are therefore subdivided into more concrete sub-trends. For example, once a year the international consulting and technology institute Gartner publishes the most important technology trends for the coming year. For 2020, for example, these include hyperautomation, the democratization of know-how and the practical blockchain. In addition, there are trends for individual departments of companies, such as marketing trends, HR trends or management trends. Finally, there are industry trends and so-called micro-trends.

  • Industry trends describe the effects of trends on specific industries and markets.
  • Microtrends are examples of use cases and technologies. They show how trends are implemented in practice.

Industry trends and microtrends serve as inspiration for the so-called fuzzy front end of innovation stage, where idea generation is essential.

Examples for trends that might lead to innovation

How innovation emerges from trends

Not every trend has a direct impact on your innovation strategy. It strongly depends on where your company stands in the respective area and how innovation-driven your customers are.  In five steps innovation is created from trends.

Step 1: Evaluate trends according to their relevance for the innovation strategy

State-of-the-art innovation software such as In the Innolytics® innovation management software provides the opportunity to discuss and evaluate trends collaboratively with several employees from within a company. You can ask yourself:

  • What effects does the trend have on my company?
  • In which areas could we achieve competitive advantages?
  • Where are we lagging behind and need to catch up?

The comment function allows these questions to be discussed lively. In addition, trends can be evaluated collaboratively.

Step 2: Prioritize trends

With the Innolytics® prioritization tool, you can quickly and easily identify the trends that you consider to be particularly relevant and particularly urgent. Various filter options allow you to identify the most relevant trends on which you need to act in the fastest possible way.

Step 3: Connect trends to your innovation or technology management

The analysis of trends will only lead to substantial results if you connect trend analyses with your innovation process. Evaluate the transferability of microtrends and technology trends. Use the results for your innovation management. In the Innolytics® software, you can use drag and drop to move trends into your innovation process. You can connect ideas with trends. This gives you the opportunity to review the basics of your innovation projects at any time.

Step 4: Define concrete responsibilities

An innovation project needs to have the same degree of commitment as a customer project. Accordingly, responsibilities are assigned in the process, for example for the closer exploration of a certain technology, for the preparation of a feasibility study or for the implementation of a project. In the Innolytics® innovation management software you can easily assign these roles and responsibilities. This gives you an overview of who is working on which projects.

Step 5: Define tasks for your innovation teams

Make a clear task list with milestones for each innovation project. Define what you expect from your teams. The Innolytics® software makes it possible to define tasks and create an innovation roadmap based on the trends you identified. You quickly get an overview of who is working on which projects and by when which status can be expected.

Innovation and trends enable companies to face the future

Successful innovation is based on trends. They are the basis of an innovation strategy or a digital strategy.  They enable companies to plan for the long term. In contrast to competitors who only drive customer-driven innovation, incremental innovation or process improvements. The Innolytics® software supports companies in successfully developing innovations from trends.



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