As a biomimicry professional, my perspective on change is deeply rooted in biology. I perceive change as an indispensable part of life, or a prerequisite even. Life has to continuously adapt and evolve in order to survive in the disequilibrium of Earth. Change happens at all scales – from tiniest cells to large ecosystems and to the magnificent, expanding universe. Without change, Earth would be a boring place. The primordial soup would still be boiling. There would be no life. Or perhaps there would be no Earth at all because its very existence was made possible by the Big Bang – the change that started everything.
This is the sentiment that always makes me think about what is ahead. A part of my work is to continuously ask and inquire about potential transformations that life in general, and business in particular, can go through. How are macro trends, such as urbanization, population growth and aging, global warming and digitalization changing the way we live and conduct business? What does the world really need and how can business respond to these needs proactively? Being a biomimicry professional means using nature as a model. And using nature as a model teaches us how to appreciate and accept change. Therefore, it comes very natural to me to be in biomimicry and to work with future foresights (or trends) at the same time. The more we understand what the future will bring, the better we will adapt.
Future can be framed in different ways. Futurology or futurism focuses on the long-term future. As discussed by The World Futurist Society, futurists are primarily concerned with “three P’s and a W”, i.e. “possible, probable, and preferable” plus “wildcards”, which are low-probability, high-impact events, should they occur. If futurism is at the one end of the spectrum, fad spotting is at the other. Typically, we encounter fad spotting in newspapers weekend supplements or tabloids – “in/out” sections, “as seen on celebrity” pages, style tips, etc. Such content attempts to identify what is “trendy”, i.e., a phenomenon that has a lifespan of 6-12 months or so. At TRENDDESK, our focus is on 3-5 year horizon. We believe that this is the most crucial time frame for majority of businesses, large or small. Rather than making long-term predictions, we extrapolate current realities based on relevant pointers. We go beyond short-term trends but don’t reach for futurism.
Marketing can benefit from both future foresights and biomimicry. By definition, a brand has to go beyond present aspirations and preferences of consumers. It should try to anticipate what is ahead in the marketplace and take initiative to create it. Aside from a very few outlier examples, brand building does not happen overnight and therefore requires a well-rounded understanding of the medium-term future that the brand will live in. The link between biomimicry and marketing is even more interesting: Nature is an expert in communication and persuasion, which is a big part of marketing. We can learn a lot from other species in creating and building brands. And what excites me personally is creating and building the kind of brands that deserve to exist on this planet at this point in time, when the conditions for the continuation of life as we know them are at stake.
With this posting, I wanted to give you an idea of the topics we will cover in this blog. Stay tuned for new postings from the unique juxtaposition where future trends, biomimicry and marketing meet.