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The Importance of Trends in Business Planning. TAG. October 2, 2008. Somebody wasn’t paying attention. “Everything that can be invented has been invented ” Charles Duell, Commissioner U.S. Patent Office-1899 (Recommended that the US patent office be shut down). Question.

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somebody wasn t paying attention
Somebody wasn’t paying attention

“Everything that can be invented has been invented”

Charles Duell, Commissioner U.S. Patent Office-1899

(Recommended that the US patent office be shut down)


“Why don’t the railroads own the truck lines, bus lines and airlines?”

They are in the same business

Trends in disruptive technologies were evident

Consumer trends were evident


Why has Atlanta based Cox Enterprises/Communications evolved in the following way?

Newspapers in the 1800s

Radio Stations in the 1920s

Broadcast Television Stations in the 1940s

Cable TV Systems in the 1970s

Cable Programming Services (Discovery) in the 1980s

Internet/Mobile Capabilities in the Present

Each segment in the same business

The trends in disruptive technologies were evident

Changing consumers trends were evident


Most businesses

Know what businesses/markets they are in and what market segments they are targeting. Some do not.

Winning Businesses

On an ongoing basis have an understanding of where their core businesses/markets/segments are going

Study and follow trends in spaces tangential to their core markets

Continually are paying attention (Unlike Mr. Duell)


Live in the present

Do not take the time to collect and assess trend data

Avoid/are in denial about what is coming around the corner

See only part of what is coming around the corner

In which category is your business?

what is a trend
What is a trend?

A trend is

A pattern and general accumulation of data points and information that indicates a general progression or a direction that becomes the basis of an estimation and hypothesis of the future

where are your markets going
Where are your markets going?

Understanding trends and opportunity related to trends particularly applies to start up companies.

Investors are attracted to where your market and your company istodaybut they make their bets on where your market and where your company will betomorrow

no single trend drives the future of your business
No Single Trend Drives The Future Of Your Business

Recognize that the future of your business is part of an eco-systemof trends that interact with one another

A synergy, an inter-relationship, a fusion of forces and trends create the future

Key trends that interact with one another


Technology/Disruptive Technology

Customers’ businesses/markets




The environment

Government and Regulatory

Some say in today’s world you must think about the future of everything

Look for the super-connections of trends

the record cd industry
The Record/CD Industry

“Why don’t the record/CD companies own MP3 technology?”

They didn’t follow a few technology trends occurring outside their industry

Home Computer Ownership

Increasing usage of the internet

Increasing broadband connectivity

Generational change vis a vis technology

(Lawyers tripping over protecting copyrights)

The music industry has evolved from being a provider of physical products to a service industry

demographic trend the aging population
Demographic Trend:The Aging Population

Largest consumer market segment of the future will be retired people

Several major influential counties are growing older quickly: USA, Japan, Germany, Italy, Russia, China (due to its scale) will soon see their respective baby boomers reach retirement age

In the USA this will be the largest generation of retirees in history

These retirees will live longer than any other generation in history

Certain forecasts say that in 2025 25% of the US population will be over 100 years of age

where do technology evolution and this demographic trend intersect
Where do Technology Evolution and This Demographic Trend Intersect?

Significant opportunities exist for new products and services targeted at seniors

Home/Hotel design (stoves, microwaves, bathrooms)

Food products

Automotive design

Financial services

Aids to Connectivity

Aid to helping seniors with mobility

In-home/serve monitoring/sensors/services




Are there opportunities here for your business?

ripple impacts of the trend
Ripple Impacts of the Trend

Most active retired generation in history

Many retirees will seek part-time work, new careers and news ways to contribute to society

Boomers will be pre-occupied with maintaining their health and demanding better services from healthcare (But they will be aging-arthritic bones, blurry eyes, mental accuity)…….

Eldercare will become a larger issue than childcare

Assisted living



Family assisted

Key opportunities: keeping older people mobile, nourished, healthy, entertained and connected to society

a broader unintended consequence of the trend
A broader unintended consequence of the trend

Employers will need to replace millions of skilled workers

A global talent war will emerge for skilled workers

In US, Japan, Europe, and Russia there will not be enough young people in the work force to fill these jobs and to support social programs for the elderly

Population trends don’t support this (14MM worker deficit in the US in 2015)

Increased immigration into US will be required to keep up with demand

Hispanics and women will dominate the future US workforce

In 2025 2 of 3 workers in America will be a woman

The Middle East and Africa will have very high percentage of people under 24 years of age (60%)

There are few or no jobs waiting for them in their own countries

The US, Japan, Europe and Russia will be competing for these workers

These three trends will not subside for decades

What does this mean for your business (threat or opportunity)?

further ripple
Further Ripple

Further as boomer retirees age and pass away the largest transfer of wealth in history will occur

$18 trillion in assets will transfer from Boomers and transfer to Generation X

And generation Xers are worse at saving than any earlier generation…….

Where do the opportunities lay in this intersection?

Will Generation Xers become the next wave of angel investors?

Great business in 2020-2030: mortician/crematorium

Boomers will be dying by the millions

bric brazil russia india china
BRIC(Brazil, Russia, India, China)

20th Century: Century of America

21st Century: Century of BRIC

In the future these four countries have the potential to dominate the world (they have and will have 40% of the population of the earth

Explosive demand for new products and services

Inexpensive, quality production

Dynamically growing consumer markets

China and India (Chindia) have 1/3 of the current world population and will dominate world GDP over at least the next 40 years

(A high percentage of these populations is under 35)

India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2030

Chindia graduates 500,000 engineering students per year (the USA graduates 60,000/year)

China has 5X more business schools and 10X more engineering schools than the US and Europe combined

Cars in total world 2007: 795MM

Cars in China 2030: 1.1BB

the age of anxiety and uncertainty
The Age of Anxiety and Uncertainty


Natural disasters/Global Warming

War/Geo-political instability

The credit crisis (and its ripple effect)

Identity Theft (is growing exponentially

Mistrust of security on the internet

Many people are confused, stressed and searching for something to believe in.

Ironically, due the related uncertainty driven by the above, consumers need to escape and are increasinglyturning to religion and spirituality and this has become a trend

Opportunities exist related to security in its broadest definition

The trade-off of individual rights and security will become an increasing issue

personal control
Personal Control

Remote Control


The internet

WiFi (mobility)

Self service revolution has begun

Touch screens

Kiosks (services/products)

ATMs, Retail, Airports, Healthcare

Trend: addressing essential convenience with speed

What’s next?

the environment
The environment

Air pollution

Destruction of rain forests

Global warming

Accumulation of chemical pollutants in soil and water

Diminishment of fresh water tables

Sources will not meet demand

Species extinction

Over-fishing of oceans

The calamity has created opportunity

dawn of conscious capitalism and the values driven consumer
Dawn of Conscious Capitalism and the Values-Driven Consumer

Trends of “Organic” and “Environment Friendly”

Trend of “Clean and Green”/”Sustainable-Renewable’

Energy sources (Solar, Wind, Ethanol, etc)

Hybrid/Electric vehicles

Natural Foods

Green Buildings

Organic Products

Zero-energy homes


Energy friendly appliances

Alternative medicines

Socially responsible/”Green” investing

(E-Bay: “World of Good” products with social/environmental impact

the internet
The internet

The killer-app for the internet is people

Enabling access to other people

Numerous business models exist

Few are successful….

But web 2.0 is the future of advertising

Highly targeted relationship marketing

Leveraging the extraordinary flexibility of digital technology

SEO is key

By 2020 the internet will be wireless and pervasive, with access anytime, anywhere and it will be free to everyone

By 2020 the telephone and TV will be fully integrated into the internet

By 2020 three billion people will be using the internet for purposes of commerce

The business model of charging for internet access is temporary


Moore’s law will continue for at least the next 10 years

(Transistor density will double every 18 months while price remains at parity)

Power of home computers will dramatically grow

Opportunities exist related to small, inexpensive, low power, low maintenance, disposable computers

Future computers will have become wearable devices

Web 2.0 will be increasingly applied on the commercial side


Ever-increasing linkage of international/global supply chains linking





Capture orders at one end of the world, fulfill orders on the other, and find production somewhere else…….on demand

They will be automated and internet enabled

New processes and technology will emerge that will enable the global, fast, inexpensive and on-demand production and distribution of goods

Collaborative virtual workspaces will emerge

By 2020 every manufactured product will be on the internet


The most profound and exciting new technology wave

Nano-based products could change everything

Nanometer is a measurement of one-billionth of a meter

The manipulation of matter at the atomic scale, producing new drugs, fuels, materials, and machines

Design of materials from the molecular level to be exactly what we want

The manipulation of matter on all levels

Increasing applications driven by nanotechnology will touch beyond its implication for science


Precious Minerals






Billions being spent on R&D

biotech neurotech

The unlocking of DNA, life sciences, and the impact of genomics on health care, life extension, and medicine.

Specialized DNA


Gene restoration therapy

Genomic disease prevention

Create safer foods and drugs/customized to the person’s genetics

Bio-engineered organs

Longevity medicines

Optimized immuno defenses/Anti aging drugs

Stem cell technology

Organ engineering

Stem-cell therapy for bio-restoration of memory and personality

Nano-bio devices that heal, prevent illness, and restore capabilities

New forms of implants (microelectronic medical implements)

Medical Devices

Intersects with demographic trends

The beginning of the android era


Healthcare costs are expected to rise 8% per year into the future, and is expected to double

By 2020 the USA will be short 200,000 doctor and 800,000 nurses

On a continuing basis the US will compete with Europe and Asia for medical talent

Healthy lifestyles must be part of the future

Where are the business opportunities?

Self diagnosis?


Energy issues will become increasingly central to consumers, governments, and businesses as we begin to deplete existing energy sources and place increased demand on existing energy infrastructures

BRIC countries and the Middle East will put enormous pressure on global energy supplies and pricing

Enormous tension between Russia and the West will emerge over energy issues

Sustainable/Renewable energy sources will emerge but fuels will not totally replace emerge fossil fuels

Solar, Wind, Ethanol, Biodeisel

Many opportunities will emerge

Hydrogen is the fuel that will drove the middle and latter parts of the 21st Century

Most plentiful gas in the universe

Highest energy content per unit weight of any known fuel

It is everywhere

media communications entertainment 1

Technology will continue to transform media and entertainment

Moore’s law of devices: every year the devices that create, communicate and play digital media get smaller

And they will further enhance mobility/portability (3G)

Broadband connectivity will evolve to where high quality digital video will be sent in real time or faster than real time to consumer devices

Media is/are converging into one continuous interactive digital stream of information and entertainment

Memory density will continue to increase such that consumers will have millions of audio and video products

Digital camera/editing/switching technology will continue to evolve at consumer prices and will lead to a herefore unseen explosion in creative amateur videos (user-generated video) that will be distributed via broadband

Technology that enhances the consumer entertainment experience in autos, airplanes and boats will emerge

There is a trend toward virtual reality (escapist trend that is driving people to increased church attendance) (2nd life)

Technologies will emerge to address this

media communications entertainment 2

Media is increasingly becoming personal and participatory

The blogosphere is 60X larger than it was three years ago and is doubling in size every six months

Trend toward social/sharing sites will continue to grow (need is to find successful business models)

You Tube, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, etc.

New web communities are and will be emerging daily

New ways will emerge that will connect people, information, and financial transactions in real time

By 2020 all e-mail will be multimedia, audio and video streaming enabled


Integral part of young people’s lives

Open source for gaming will emerge

Multi-point gaming will surge (extension of community)

Gambling on the web is a trend

Traditional television will increasingly need to compete for viewership with web sites offering video

Media brands will blur (what is a network?/what is station?)(they have lost relevance)

People watch shows/programs, not channels or networks

Ex-Real time info networks (CNN, FNN, MSNBC, CNBC, TWC (web scalability)

factors that will define the future
Factors that will define the Future

Speed and an increasing rate of change

Same day delivery of everything ( news, emails/instant messaging, banking, entertainment, self service touch screens, etc)

Slow is dangerous

Everything will be more complex

Surprise will be daily feature of life (the uncertainty trend)

E.G. the mercurial economy

Everything is/will be in a state of flux

E.G the mercurial economy

Small companies can react more quickly than big companies to changing trends, especially fast moving trends

get started get smarter sources of trend data
Get Started/Get SmarterSources of Trend Data

Important to obtain credible data/info from accurate sources

The web. Type in “Trends in X”/”Future Trends of X”

Magazines about your space and related areas

Peer-reviewed industry journals (E.G AMA)

Avoid biased reports from activist organizations

Official reports


Government Agencies (National Science Foundation)


White Papers

Industry analyst reports

Industry forecasts…”By X date X will take place”

Industry “thought-leaders”

Industry-specific seminars/conferences

Books about trends and the future

Be aware/keep your ears and eyes open

Track it/catalog it


Start with analysis of your own industry

Study adjacent industries/industries related to your space

Go back 5 years and forward 5-20 years

Assess if the trends are going up or down

Is your business targeting a future up market or a future down market?

Assess at what stage in the trends you/competitors are operating-today

Accept the trend data with emotional detachment

Pay Attention to current and future competition

Plan scenarios

Make time to think and to talk about it

May be the best time you’ll spend: understanding the current and future status of your markets

-study one trend each month/have the team work together/lunch/cocktails

Trend spotting should be part of your business strategy

Investors are interested in where your business is going/markets are going

no single trend drives the future of your business1
No Single Trend Drives the Future of Your Business

Recognize that the future of your business is part of an eco-system of trends that interact with one another

A synergy, an inter-relationship, a fusion of forces and trends, create the future

Key Trends that interact with one another:


Technology/Disruptive Technology

Customers’ businesses markets




The Environment


Look for the super-connections of trends


The Extreme Future -James Canton-Dutton

Future Inc -Eric Garland-Amacom

Next/Now -Salzman and Matathia-Palgrave

Megatrends 2010 –Patricia Aburdene-Hampton Roads

Micro Trends -Mark Penn-Twelve (Hachette)