Trends for 2015: The Year of Digital Transformation



“The future depends on what you do today.” –Mahatma Gandhi

If you know key trends, you get surprised less, you can anticipate more, and you can use what’s happening in the world around you to thrive in work and life.

2015 is the Year of the Sheep in Chinese astrology.

According to Suzanne White, the Sheep year 2015 will be more mild and gentler to be alive in.

2015 is also …

The Year of Digital Transformation

2015 is the year of digital transformation.  Life meets technology in a big way.

You might say it’s a Digital Life.
Technology is changing our life, and people are using technology to know, do, and be more.  Individuals and businesses are learning how to expand what they are capable of as they explore the Art of the Possible.

The Mega-Trends, Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data, are changing the game for business, work, and life, along with IoT (Internet of Things) the Mega-Trend of Mega-Trends.

Insight becomes a new form of currency, and competitive edge, in a hyper-competitive world, and businesses shift from selling physical things to selling digital things to compete and collaborate in the emerging Digital Economy.

Who isn’t trying to re-imagine business, work and life, in this mash up of the physical + virtual world where there is seemingly infinite compute and capacity at your fingertips?

And with new ways to connect, people are exploring new ways to Work Like a Networkand Work Out Loud.  This Comprehensive Collaboration with employees, customers, and partners is radically changing the game of innovation from the exception, to the rule.

Disruptive Innovation is the name of the game.

10 Key Trends for 2015

To set the stage, imagine a world where technology and computing power are increasingly pervasively available.

As more people and things are connected, there is more data to provide insight.   And that insight, in turn, can be used to innovate and disrupt anything where there are inefficiencies in how information is generated, captured, shared, and exploited.

At the same time, imagine a world where more people are trying to find new ways to create and capture value.   This flips business models on their head, and leads to more business model innovation, as companies find Digital Hot Spots along their value chain (marketing, sales, supply, product development, distribution, and customer support) to simplify, digitize, and automate.

The individuals and companies that rise above the noise are the ones that build better brands, use design as a way to improve user experience, focus on creating unique value, and master storytelling to tell and sell their ideas, and win raving fans.

With that in mind, let’s dive in to the 10 key trends for 2015 …

1. The Age of Instant Gratification.

“I want it now.”

We live in a world of instant gratification.

From Twitter updates to delivering books to your Kindle, it’s all about now.

No matter what you want, somebody around the world is finding a way to get it to you instantly.

Maybe they’ll drop it off with a drone, or maybe show up at your door with a  driver-less car.  Or, maybe you’ll just print it off with a 3-D printer.

Stephen Covey taught us that “all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation.”   People around the world are finding new ways to go from idea to done, and speeding up the creation process.

While some companies are focused on better or cheaper, others are taking faster to a whole new level.

It’s a reminder that it’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow.

2. It’s a Mobile Everything World.

Do anything from anywhere, and everywhere, on the go.   Smart phones are our pocket portals and remote control for the world.   They help us search, shop, and share in an increasingly digital and mobile everything world.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “Aside from the fact that we’re living increasingly digital lives, the smartphone is perhaps the biggest single influence on consumer change. It has shifted from being a communication device to a pocket portal to the world: a way to share, search the streetscape, pay for items, document vacations—and the rise of the Internet of Things means it’s set to become our ‘life remote control,’ used for everything from regulating our home’s heating to watering our plants.”

3. Businesses Look to the Cloud.

Digital business transformation is hot.  New businesses are disrupting their brick-and-mortar counterparts by launching in the Cloud.   And  traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are finding ways to cross the Cloud chasm.

More and more traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are using the Cloud to create new business agility, reach new channels, and  compound what they are capable of, through infinite compute, storage, and connection capabilities.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “Cloud businesses are set to be big in 2015 as more major companies, organizations, brands and consumers outsource their IT to the cloud. For new companies, access to this ready infrastructure will make it easier to launch businesses and jump off from a higher level.”

4. Internet of Things (IoT)

You might have heard the term Internet of Things, or Internet of Everything, or the Internet of Your Things.

The Internet of Things is the idea that everyday physical “things” will be able to talk to each other over the network in a giant mesh.

Your living room will know what temperature you like it at.  Your car will know your driving patterns.   The parts in your car will know when they are ready for replacement.  Elevators will know when they are ready for maintenance.

Individuals and businesses will be able to use this new insight to improve their processes, and to provide new value-added services.

According to Forbe’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, “technology embedded everywhere — IoT will be the focus of digital business products and processes.”

5. Design is everywhere.

The world gets better looking as design becomes a first-class citizen.

In world of overwhelming information and choice, information architecture and design matter.  But more than just a face-lift, or old wine in a new bottle, people are using design-led approach to re-think and re-imagine end-to-end experiences to make them simpler, more intuitive, and more enjoyable.

Design is more than just how you stand out from the crowd.  It’s a way to find and exploit new ways to create and capture value, along the Customer Experience Journey, and a way to re-imagine the Art of the Possible for every day scenarios.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “Call it the ‘Pinterest phenomenon’—consumers with open access to sophisticated lifestyle press and blogs are increasingly expecting intelligent design, even from entry-level products, functional products and mass-market services. On cue, sectors from mass-market food retailers to pharmacies to budget hotels are being reimagined with new looks.”

6. Economy Re-Imagined (“The Circular Economy”)

While compute, capacity, and connection might be increasing in the Digital World, in the physical world, we still have a limited supply of natural resources.

Rather than a “throw away economy”, individuals and businesses are looking for new ways to “reuse, reduce and recycle.”

This is a sharp contrast from the “take, make, and dispose” mindset of the past, and will reshape how products, systems, and ecosystems are thought through end-to-end.

Via The Circular Economy, by JTW Intelligence:

“Among some of the world’s top corporate leaders, there’s a growing understanding that traditional business models—built on the presumption of unlimited and cheap natural resources— must be reworked for 21st century realities. The alternative model that’s taking shape represents a substantial departure from the ‘take, make and dispose’ mindset: The circular economy envisions a smarter, more restorative way to create, use and dispose of products that designs out waste. This framework weaves together emerging practices like collaborative consumption and older ideas like recycling and remanufacturing.”

7. Culture of Health.

Fitness and health are rebranded in hip, sociable ways.

More people are seeing their body as part of an ecosystem that is intimately linked to how they look, how they feel, and how they think, along with their diet and exercise.

Rather than just look good or feel good, people want their body to be a reflection of health and happiness from the inside out.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “As life expectancy increases, health is becoming the watchword for all consumers, from Millennials to Baby Boomers. Consumers are investing heavily in fitness and nutrition, and seeing their bodies as an ecosystem where beauty, diet, mental health and fitness are interlinked. “

8. Money is Reimagined (“The Future of Payments and Currency”)

Money is re-imagined for a mobile world.

People are finding new ways to pay for things, and exploring new types of currencies to keep up with the digital times.

Money is an exchange of value, but marketers are re-imagining and exploring what value means, beyond the current currency system.

In a Digital Economy where insights, attention, and connection rule, how much is that “like” worth?

Via The Future of Payments and Currency, by JTW Intelligence:

“A rise of new ways to pay and new forms of value exchange, along with new players in the payments space. Everyone from messaging apps to retail consortiums to the fast food giants is testing mobile-enabled payment platforms.

But mobile isn’t the only new idea: Others are focused on the opportunities in wearables, biometrics (paying by fingerprint or vein pattern) or simply paying by tweet or text.   In tandem with the emergence of multiple new ways to pay, the concept of what a currency can be is evolving—with digitization, value can easily be stored in anything from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to loyalty points.

Meanwhile, marketers have been more creative in bypassing the currency system, turning everything from social media shares to mobile minutes into forms of value exchange. Some are even creating their own currencies, like Amazon with its Coins.”

9. Digital Personal Assistants are Everywhere.

“Hey Alexa, how much does the Earth weigh?”

“Hey Cortana, what route should I take home?”

“Hey Google Now, remind me to buy milk at 5 P.M.”

“Hey, Siri, who is the fairest of them all?”

Personal assistants get smarter and more pervasive in 2015.

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?  Maybe.  But, are you smarter than your Digital Personal Assistant?

Rather than try to be smarter, more creative, and more capable than your Digital Personal Assistant, a better approach is to pair up and become smarter, more creative, and more capable with your Digital Personal Assistant.

Imagine what Digital Personal Assistants will learn about you, your world, and your needs.  Imagine how they can help you out beyond the basics.   Machine learning combined with Big Data and insight combined with a mesh of things in a giant network can really lead to some amazing possibilities.

As JTW Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “Systems that learn over time to predict and intuit human desires are being integrated into consumer devices. With the advent of intelligent personal assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Now, we’re moving toward a future in which mobile devices harness AI and the rich data contained in a phone—calendar, search history, payment history and social media activity—to anticipate their owners’ needs.”

10. Renegades and Rebels Rule the World

There’s never been a better time to be a rebel with a cause.

Linchpins and rebels are winning hearts and changing minds as they disrupt and create new markets.

If “that’s the way it’s always been done”, then chances are there is somebody out there who is ready, willing and able to change the paradigm, and find a better way to make things happen, whether it’s education, entertainment, or even enlightenment.

Via Ford 2015 Trend Report

“Society has always loved risk takers, but the marketplace has never been more receptive to them than it is today. Consider Henry Ford, who had to fight tooth and nail against skepticism of his vision, summed up by one prominent businessman who reportedly said, ‘The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.’ Today’s rebels have not just the ear of consumers—but also the platforms needed to gain support, like Kickstarter and Pozible. More and more, consumers are turning away from ‘conventional wisdom’ players and instead giving their attention—and their dollars—to companies and leaders that take risks and break the mold.”

Trends for 2015 A-Z

There are so many interesting trends to be aware of, that it was tough to put them into a useful list.  I figured the best bet was to bubble up 10 key trends for 2015, but then supplement the list with a quick waltz through additional trends, A-Z style.

You can always dig into each trends and find a lot more around the Web, but the idea here is to give you a pretty quick map of some of the cutting edge ideas, and the changing landscape.

Even just raising awareness might help you spark some new ideas or connect a few dots in ways you can’t even predict.   Serendipity can be a powerful thing.

3-D Printing Gets Real.

According to Forbe’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, 3-D Printing “gets cheaper and its market grows.” 

The World’s First 3-D Printed Car was showcased at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show: “The car’s frame, exterior body and interior features were printed, while the mechanical parts of the Strati like the battery, motors, wiring, suspension and tires were not printed.”

You might have seen more ideas and businesses popping up around 3-D Printing.  It’s happening.  And, it’s real.  The race is on, and Amazon is in on it (Amazon filed a patent for Mobile 3-D Printing delivery trucks.)

24/7: Unlimited Hours.

Thanks to the Web, customers can virtually show up at your doorstep anytime, from anywhere.

Some companies are getting creative when it comes to serving customers 24×7, and how they “follow the Sun.”

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “As the world becomes more global, more businesses become global operations and Internet connectivity proliferates, we’re waving goodbye to working-hours conventions, expecting to shop 24/7—but also being expected to work 24/7.”

Adoption, Habits, and Currencies of Change.

As puts it in their 10 Trends for 2015 report, “In search of wellness, strength, new skills, knowledge and more, consumers will embrace device-fueled rewards that incentivize improving behaviors.“

Analytics Everywhere (“Advanced, Pervasive, Invisible Analytics”)

According to Forbe’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, “Every app will be an analytics app and we’ll need big questions and big answers.”

With Big Data becomes big responsibility.   Aside from privacy concerns, the big work will be making Big Data more meaningful.   With exponential data from people and things, there will be plenty of room for innovation in how we can make data more meaningful, more insightful, and more relevant.

Age of the Tactile Internet.

Imagine being able to deliver physical experiences over the Web.  For example, imagine if medical with diagnosis and treatment could be delivered remotely, well beyond anything that’s been done before.

According to JWT Intelligence, “Haptic technology, robots and the Internet of Things will lead to the age of the Tactile Internet.”

Mischa Dohlern and Gerhard Fettweis write: “Sufficiently responsive, reliable network connectivity will enable it to deliver physical, tactile experiences remotely. … It will be able to interconnect with the traditional wired Internet, the mobile Internet and the Internet of Things— thereby forming an Internet of entirely new dimensions and capabilities.”

Aging / Live Forever.

Technology, information, and insight can help us make leaps in longevity.

Just like how Silicon Valley and the tech giants have helped re-imagine and take cars to the next level, they can do the same for aging.

As Google CEO Larry Page puts it: Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, ‘moonshot’ thinking around health care and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.”

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “It marks the latest direction in Silicon Valley’s rhetoric of solving world problems.”

Biometric Capture

Biometrics is a way to uniquely identify a person by evaluating human body characteristics such as DNA, eye retinas and irises, facial patterns, fingerprints, hand measurements, and voice pattern.

According to the Trend Reports’ 2015 Trend’s Report, we can expect to see more of the following:

  • Motion-detecting cameras
  • Brain-wave cameras
  • Behavior auditing technology
  • Wearable devices

Brand Stands.

As companies claim their positions in the world, the best brands will take a stand on various issues that their community cares about.   The best brands will voice their opinions and wear their values on their sleeves.

The values that these brands stand for and reflect will act like a lightening rod and will attract raving fans from around the world.

As puts it in their 10 Trends for 2015 report, “Winning brands will start contentious, painful and necessary conversations.”

Branded Government.

2015 will be the year that progressive brands will help government make meaningful changes.

Via puts it in their 10 Trends for 2015 report:

73% of Millennials don’t believe governments can solve today’s issues alone, and 83% want businesses to get more involvedThat’s why in 2015, forward-thinking brands will step up to the challenge of real, meaningful change in the civic arena. And not just with ‘standard’ Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, but by identifying governmental shortcomings and – either through partnerships or by working directly with the community – effecting real and lasting positive change.”

Business Model Innovation.

As the Internet of Things begins to take off, business models get flipped on their head. Some businesses will go from selling their things to selling their insights and information.

In The Business Model Navigator, authors Oliver Gassmann, Karolin Frankenberger, and Michaela Csik teach us that business model innovation occurs when you change at least two of the four dimensions of a business model.  The four dimension are WHO-WHAT-HOW-WHY.  In other words, the four dimensions are the customer segment (WHO), the value prop (WHAT), the value chain (HOW), or why you profit (WHY).

Candid and Real Become the Ideal

It’s a breath of fresh air when you get to see what celebrities and influencers look like without all the make up.

And fans approve.

Via The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2015, by JWT Intelligence:

“Beyoncé’s recent “homemade” music video responds to a telling twist in our visual culture. The global pop sensation released her single ‘7/11’ with a YouTube video that could easily have been produced by a fan, from a hotel room in Las Vegas.

While elements of wardrobe and choreography were, of course, carefully orchestrated, Beyoncé appears makeup-free, in scenes played out in the bathroom, a messy bedroom and on a balcony, using a mounted camera.

As more entertainment becomes grassroots and more celebrities and influencers are initially seen on YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram, so too our visual language is changing to one where the candid and the real become the ideal. Already celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson and Gwyneth Paltrow are communicating via social media with seemingly un-retouched images.”

Carryless Movement.

People don’t want to carry stuff.

Between apps, smarter phones, and new ways to pay, people can carry less.

Via Ford 2015 Trend Report:

“Out with the purse and the messenger bag—today, people don’t want to carry stuff, and increasingly, they don’t need to. Bitcoin, Apple Pay and Google Wallet are displacing the need for physical wallets and money clips. The rise of subscription-based shopping services means we can avoid the store.

Wearable gadgets and smartphone apps have dismantled the need for physical keys. With these technologies, consumers are able to pare necessities down to their essence— less baggage, more nimbleness. Across the globe, the advent of these technologies brings a transformation in the mechanics of how we pay, how and where we are marketed to, and who we trust with our most valuable information.”

Celebrity Business Partners.

Celebrities are pairing up with businesses and vice-versa, to make a social media splash.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “As more celebrities launch their own lifestyle brands (see Gwyneth Paltrow and Blake Lively, among others), they’re finding direct ways to monetize their influence. Collaborating with brands in a business partnership also means the double halo effect of joint social media buzz and promotion.”

Chemical Revolt.

According to Trend Reports’ 2015 Trend’s Report, people are pushing back on awkward and un-pronounceable chemical ingredients.  Instead, consumers are opting for do it yourself creams, soaps, moisturizers and make up.   They want more personalization and they want to know the ingredients.

Cloud/Client Architecture.

When your data and apps are in the Cloud, you can use your favorite apps from any device.

According to Forbe’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, a key trends we’ll see is that users want to “use apps simultaneously across multiple devices.”

The vision that Ray Ozzie talked about a while back is coming to life.   You might know that vision by the phrase three screens and a cloud, and it goes like this:

“So, moving forward, again I believe that the world some number of years from now in terms of how we consume IT is really shifting from a machine-centric viewpoint to what we refer to as three screens and a cloud:  the phone, the PC, and the TV ultimately, and how we deliver value to them.”

Computing Everywhere.

Computers are showing up just about everywhere to perform new jobs, and to generate and share new information.

According to Forbe’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, expect to see more “wearables and connected screens in the workplace and in the public.”

Consumerism Defies Demographics. (“Post-Demographic Consumerism”)

With the proliferation of choices and specialization, Consumers don’t fit into clean buckets anymore.

As puts it in their 10 Trends for 2015 report, “People – of all ages and in many markets – are constructing their own identities more freely than ever. As a result, consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status and more.”

Context-Rich Systems.

According to Forbe’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, “Systems become alert and responsive thanks to embedded intelligence and analytics.”

In the book, Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy, authors Robert Scoble and Shel Israel teach us that “social media is but one of five converging forces that promise to change virtually every aspect of our lives. You know these other forces already: mobile, data, sensors and location-based technology. Combined with social media they form a new generation of personalized technology that knows us better than our closest friends.”

Escape Artist.

As taking a break gets harder in an always on, connected world, people take learning how to escape the reality of their day to day to a new level.

Via Ford 2015 Trend Report:

“While escapism has always been a human instinct, the context of our world has changed—and so too have the means by which we escape. It used to be that we could escape simply by reading a book or watching a film or going for a walk. While those options still exist, they are at the whim of 24/7 connectivity—and our own growing boredom and shortened attention spans—making it harder to truly escape. Now there’s an emerging ‘Great scapism’—a heightened formality around escapism, from scheduling ‘mindfulness’ classes or going on sabbaticals to take a break from the world, or doing ever more daring, outrageous things to will ourselves into another world.”

Everyday Robotics. (“Robolove”)

Robotics goes mainstream.

Jibo will be the world’s first family robot (see Coming in 2015: “World’s First Family Robot”)

As puts it in their 10 Trends for 2015 report, “Smart business will be planning not just how robots might decrease their costs, but how they can also increase customer satisfaction, too. Use robots to initiate better customer service: more reliable, faster, richer, more personal, more convenient, etc.”

Experiential Public Spaces.

The streets are alive with digital displays, interactive experiences, and more.

Via The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2015, by JWT Intelligence:

“Increasingly, the streetscape is becoming a rich palette not only for interactive retail and location-sensitive games but experiences too. Clever brands such as Lucy use wonder and experience—and offer a public service—to integrate themselves into consumers’ everyday activities.”

Fair Splitting.

As puts it in their 10 Trends for 2015 report, “Let mobile-payments facilitate new ways to share and split costs, and add new value for consumers in the process.”

Family Re-Imagined. (“Meet the New Family”)

It’s no longer a broken home.  Now it’s the new family.

Just like how home is where the heart is, family is whatever you blend, reconstitute, or choose to be your family.

Via Meet the New Family, by JTW Intelligence:

“The traditional nuclear family–a husband and wife, plus kids–is no longer the norm. Build your family your way: Changing gender dynamics, same sex families, kids optional, pets as family, solo living, multigenerational families, silver families, and friends as families.”

Here is a quote by Lynn Jamieson and Roona Simpson on the new family:

“The emergent diversity in family life includes partnerships without marriage, parenting without co-residence and various forms of ‘blended,’ ‘reconstituted’ and ‘chosen’ family. The life course is relabeled a ‘choice biography,’ a personalized project involving strategic life planning, adaption to changing circumstances and reflexivity.”


As puts it in their 10 Trends for 2015 report, it’s “the end of the line for waiting in line.”

Companies are finding ways to use technology to help people avoid long lines and fast-lane their way to the front.

Feminism rebooted.

Feminists breathe new life into defining, establishing, and achieving equal rights for women.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “Feminism is being rebooted for the digital era, across all generations, with a newly collaborative, open and empowered spirit. Feminist rhetoric is also occupying the center of popular discourse.”

Flaunting Failure.

Embrace failure as a way of life and as a way to learn and improve.

Via Ford 2015 Trend Report:

“The stigma of failure is eroding—indeed, it has become something to flaunt:

I failed, therefore I learned from my mistake and I am stronger for it. In an age of constant change, the only real failure is the failure to try, improve and evolve. Today’s consumers embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and increasingly recognize— and accept—that their own lives and the products they use are constantly in beta mode.”

Gaming for Improvement

Game your way through personal development.

According to The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2015, by JWT Intelligence, we can expect to see more “gaming for learning, self-actualizing, and experience.”

Infrastructure as Code

As more of the physical world goes virtual, you can create more configurable options through code and software.

Continuous delivery and DevOps have elevated our thinking about infrastructure. The implications of thinking about infrastructure as code and the need for new tools are still evolving.”    See Thoughtworks Technology Radar, May 2013

Instant Skills.

More companies are finding ways to serve up the world’s talent on demand.

As puts it in their 10 Trends for 2015 report, “Services that allow professional-quality output – minus the learning or time barriers.”

Internet of Sharing Things.

Airbnb, Ghostruck, Renything, Uber, Zilok and more are business models based on short-term use.

As puts it in their 10 Trends for 2015 report, “Allow a whole new world of asset sharing: spontaneous, useful, fun, profitable and more.”

Long / Near Game.

Companies are learning to combine balancing their long-term view with short-term results.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “Companies and brands, particularly the behemoths, are taking a dualistic approach to future-proofing by looking at both the long- and short-term games. They’re introducing innovation units to remain nimble, agile and in touch with change.”

Mass Boutique.

The market matures and swings from generalization to specialization.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “Consumers are increasingly seeking niche, independent brands with artisan credentials and slick branding.”

Marketing Gets Personal (“A Segment of One”)

Expect more brands all about you (“Me” Brands).

Brands are not just for celebrities and big companies. Every day people are building their brands online.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “Consumers, particularly Millennials, are increasingly starting to think of themselves as brands, curating their online image and monetizing it through social media clout, micro-retail platforms and YouTube. They’re also using new platforms to become micro-entrepreneurs.”

Mindfulness in Business.

People are putting their minds into their work.

They are using meditation and mindfulness to improve their focus and flow, while improving their engagement on the job.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “Meditation and mindfulness are getting mass appreciation for benefits not just in well-being but also in work success—and being embraced by young urban audiences from Silicon Valley to Manhattan. Arianna Huffington’s Thrive further established the links between meditation and effectiveness at work.”

Multisenstory Marketing & Virtual Reality.

Expect more touch, taste, and smell, along with your virtual interactive experiences.

According to Trend Reports’ 2015 Trend’s Report, we can expect to see more multisensory marketing and virtual reality.

Rental Way of Life (“No Strings Attached” and “Routine Rental”)

Sharing and renting parts of our everyday life.

Via TrendHunter:

“While rental services often sway toward more high-end services, a growth in more compact and sustainable living has consumers seeking out more basic rental options.Offering the temporary use of kitchen appliances and children’s toys, unique rental options provide individuals with the convenience of basic goods without any long-term commitment.”

Via Ford 2015 Trend Report:

“Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Or at least borrow, share or rent the cow? These days, that adage is prevalent in the consumer mindset as renting and borrowing displace the need or desire to buy. While many people think collaborative consumption and the share economy are driven by altruism, they are also driven by personal benefits like freedom from responsibility and maintenance.”

Responsive Retail.

Retailers are connecting to consumers and taking advantage of contextual information to provide more relevant offers and interactions.

According to Trend Reports’ 2015 Trend’s Report, here are some of the things we’ll see:

  • beacons
  • location-based marketing
  • digital shopping
  • interactive displays

Retooling for an Aging Population.

As the workforce gets older, companies adapt.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, Companies are quickly retooling for a rapidly aging workforce. Recognizing that older workers have different needs, skills and challenges, employers are changing their educational curricula or adding new features to their factory floors.”

Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection.

According to Forbe’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, “Advanced risk assessment and mitigation will come into play.”

You may have already seen this in action with your insurance company.  For example, State Farm launched a Drive Safe and Save program.  As they put it, your discount is in your control.   Using their “smart In-Drive technology” you get more control over your car insurance, because your insurance discount is risk adjusted based on your driving habits.

Serendipity by Design.

Serendipity happens.

But you can also design for it.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “There’s a tension between the convenience and opportunity offered by predictive retail and advertising, and the rising recognition of the importance of randomness, chance and surprise. Innovators and technologists will increasingly focus on incorporating chance discovery to complement prediction and automation.”

Smart Fabrics, Prosthetics, Performance Enhancers, and Exoskeletons.

Internet-of-Things isn’t just for devices.

Imagine smart shirts.

More and more companies will explore and innovate by combining computing with fabrics.

Via The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2015, by JWT Intelligence:

“’These will outsmart wearables,’ says Sophie Hackford, director of Wired Consulting. While consumer-facing wearable technology has focused largely on bracelets that monitor health and fitness, a wave of innovation is occurring in fabrication itself. Ralph Lauren, one of the early major brands to explore this, introduced a Polo Tech smart shirt in 2014 that monitors heart rate and breathing and delivers the data to a smartphone in real time.  Elsewhere, fabrics are being developed that can be grown, can correct the air around us, can promote well-being and can also control our movements.”

Smart Machines.

It took a while for phones to become smart phones.

But what if machines can become smarter machines faster by combining the Internet-of-Things, machine learning, and data insights, compounded by a mesh of people and devices.

According to Forbe’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, “Analytics and context pave the way for smart machines that learn for themselves and act accordingly.”

Social Exclusivity.

Via Trend Reports’ 2015 Trend’s Report:

Private picture posting

Snap Chat

Sharing withou permanence

Storytelling, Visual Communication, and Human Speak.

Stories bring people, ideas, and products to life.

Pictures are worth a 1,000 words and videos may be worth even more.

Via Top Rank Blog’s 21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2015:

“In the age of infobesity and increasing digital noise, visual storytelling will continue to emerge as a strategy for not only standing out, but also for nurturing and growing vibrant and engaged communities. The ability to craft visual stories that inspire emotion and spark the movement will help companies get noticed and amplify their message throughout those communities.

2015 will be the year of HUMAN for digital marketers. Gone are the days of corporate-speak messaging and dull, boring campaigns. Instead, we’ll begin to see more marketers incorporate human-speak into their messaging – videos, pictures, humor, and human!”

Web-Scale IT.

More IT leaders will think like Web-based companies and use the Cloud to deliver more scalable services in more agile ways.

According to Forbe’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, “More and more companies will begin thinking like Amazon, Google and Facebook. As cloud-optimized and software-defined methods become mainstream, we’ll see a move towards web-scale IT, starting with DevOps.”

Year of the Sequel.

2015 is the year of the sequel.

Lionsgate brings us Insurgent, the second Divergent, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, the final film of the Hunger Game series. Twentieth Century Fox brings us another Taken, with Taken 3, and a reboot of the Fantastic Four. Walt Disney Studios brings us a new edition of Cinderella.

As JWT Intelligence puts it in their Trends for 2015 report, “As movie theater attendance slides, studios are returning to old favorites, reimagined classics and sequels to attract audiences.”

I hope this gives you a quick, balcony view of the lay of the land, and gets your creative or entrepreneurial juices flowing.

Knowledge is power, but only if you use it.

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