PSFK SF Recap: Trends – Should You Care?

PSFK SF Recap: Trends – Should You Care?
Gaming & Play
Lauren Isaacson
  • 23 july 2008

PSFK Conference SF began with a thought-provoking presentation from Ed Cotton (BSSP, Influx Insights), speaking on why trends and inspiration matter – and how you can judge and use them. Some key points:

– Trends are themes and attitudes that can be tracked over time. Not fads.

– The artist is like a sponge, picking up stuff from everywhere. How do you compete for their attention? How can you help the artist?

– 9 inspiration themes – Envy, Improvisation, Combinations, Looking backwards, Frustration, Timing, White space, Out of context, Insight driven

– Envy: creatives are envious of other creative people. (i.e., the Beatles were envious of – and thus inspired by – the Beach Boys.)

– Improvisation: you have limited resources and you take what’s around you and do something with it. Let’s play games with trends. (i.e. Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies.)

– Looking Backwards – we shouldn’t be slaves to the new. Frank Gehry was inspired by the 1920s movie Metropolis.

– Frustration: Steve Jobs was frustrated with our cell phones => iPhone.

– Timing: the secret of success lies between “feels right” and outside confirmation. If you wait for the research to tell you you’re right, you’ll miss the boat.

– White Space: Method saw white space in cleaning, resulting in the creation of non-toxic, well designed cleaning products.

– Out of context: taking the subversive mainstream. Pixar has a college in their building. Take your creatives to places where the trends are, places where they’ll be inspired.

– Insight driven: IDEO noticed that kids hold toothbrushes differently. So instead of towing the line and making kids brushes smaller, they made them fun and easy to hold

– Go long term, track your own core themes, take people outside, be persuasive, always ask why?, and even though big clients are risk adverse and it’s hard to get them to sign on to emerging trends vs. established -have a point of view.

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