HBR – Breakthrough ideas for 2007

Harvard Business Review have an interesting article about what they consider to be Breakthrough Ideas for 2007. There’s some interesting ideas in the list, but I find 2 of them more poignant than others:

An emerging hotbed of user-centered innovation

This is one of the most prevalent trends I’m seeing in industry today. Customers aren’t happy to sit back and choose from whatever is available on the shelf of their local. They’re happier to define something that meets their needs, and get it made, sourced or otherwise procured by watever means necessary.

Take Arthur‘s birthday party for example. My wife wasn’t happy to just buy some standard “Happy Birthday” decorations. Instead, she found a service online that would print a giant banner with whatever text she wanted.

The article sums it up in one apt sentence:

Today, customers aren’t just voicing their needs to companies that are willing to listen; they’re inventing and often building what they want.

Living with Continuous Partial Attention

The other trend that the HBR article identifies is the increased “coping mechanism” that results from dealing with too much information. We are becoming much more selective in what we percieve and we are becoming more skillfull at giving partial attention to a number of information streams simultaneously. HBR predicts that in 2007 business will have to learn to deal with this both in their management style and in their marketing messages.

Should be an interesting year! Hopefully I’ll do another catchup on my blog towards the end of the year and see if any of these trends have moved on.

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