Fred Wilson has a great piece on the success of Pokemon Go, observing that none of the concepts are really 'new'.
Saving myself the anguish of digging up the 2008 game spec & mock-ups we made for a AR treasure hunt/landmine avoidance game. #PokemonGO
— Liad Shababo (@L1AD) July 11, 2016
There's something deeply profound about this that gets right to the core of trend watching, namely that:
Most trends are quite 'obvious'.
We've been talking about augmented reality, the blurring of the online & offline worlds and geolocation-based, interactive, multiplayer virtual games for ever (e.g. 2008's OFF=ON, 2014's DIGITAL BREADCRUMBING, 2015's STATUS TESTS and many more)
That doesn't make us brilliant (if only!), indeed any trend watcher worth reading will have been flagging that the combination of technology and human needs were creating fertile ground for an app/game/innovation similar to Pokemon Go.
But, as Fred Wilson notes: it always takes someone to 'nail it'. It's just how, who, when, why? Those remain the biggest questions in trends...
My take (which I outlined in more detail a few months ago here), is that:
Trend watching isn't about predicting the future. We are not trying to be 'correct'...what matters more is that we help you – the reader – to be correct...useful answers about the future come from asking the right questions today.
Our watching of today’s expectation-raising innovations encourages you to ask the right questions. And in the end, those questions will help you correctly answer the ultimate of business questions: “what will my customers want tomorrow?”
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