We All Can Be Trendspotters
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30 November 2012Zilvinas Bareisis
As the festive season approaches, this is the time of the year when Celent analysts reflect on what kept us busy through the year and what the future might hold for the next 12 months in our respective coverage areas. We usually publish the results of this thinking and analysis in various trends reports - from Top Trends in Banking to Top Trends in Payments to IT Spending. And we seem to strike a chord with our clients - these reports always tend to rank highly in our "most downloaded" lists. I had the pleasure of attending a very interesting event in London yesterday afternoon. Intelligent Environments, a digital banking software company, was launching Interact, its new platform for "connecting money to people." It was great to learn more about the new solution and to discuss with the company where digital banking and payments are heading. No one disputes anymore that digital channels have become critical for retail banks. However, one statistic stood out and was probably unexpected to many people in the room - according to the latest research by IE and YouGov, 51% of UK consumers now see digital channels as the primary driver of their bank loyalty, even ahead of customer service. Another highlight of the day was the guest keynote speaker, Magnus Lindkvist, who was introduced as "Trendspotter & Futurist." Unlike some of the other futurists who predict that soon we will be walking with chips in our heads, Magnus wasn't making any predictions at all. Instead, he talked about how difficult it is to spot some of the trends and what companies can do if they want to not just compete (i.e. offer slightly better/ cheaper products/ services), but to genuinely create something new and innovative. The answer is experimentation (although increasingly difficult to do in risk-averse and compliance-driven environments), failure recycling (e.g. not all dot com ideas were bad), and (perhaps the hardest one of all), patience & persistence. Magnus is an incredibly engaging speaker and it was an hour filled with wonderful examples and memorable quotes, such as "technology needs to become boring to change the world" and "we are the last generation to believe connectivity is special." No one can predict the future, but all of us can tune our antennas better to increase our chances of catching that next big trend. Have you spotted a new trend in banking or payments? Let us know - we would love to hear from you!