Innovation involves research, and you need to be aware of what is happening around your business. In many cases, you can learn a lot from products or services that are already out there. Maybe by doing research, you could find some innovative ideas from other industries which could eventually fit yours.
But finding the right trends or inspiration can be a hassle unless you know where to look! Here at Board of Innovation, we use a selection of resources that provide us with the right industry examples. Because they present us useful innovation intelligence, we highly recommend using following references:
► Scouting ideas & watching trends:
If there is one website which you will note down after reading this, it should be this one. SpringWise is a community of over 20,000 innovation spotters, who are curating the most exciting global innovations. You can browse the website for free, but if you want access to a search function and some exclusive articles or reports, you will have to pay a monthly fee.
Tracxn is our favourite search engine for prominent startups. A lot of innovative startups are not as well known as Uber or Airbnb. Therefore, Google is not always helpful in spotting those little gems. Tracxn, however, is excellent in that regard. Their team of analysts and industry experts are also responsible for their blog, where you can find some interesting industry reports.
I think they did a pretty good job describing themselves. “It’s a place for product-loving enthusiasts to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations.”
MoreInspiration is more focused on hardware and gadgets rather than services. They have posted almost 5,000 products in various categories going from aerospace to leisure. All of these sections have some truly impressive engineering solutions to everyday problems.
Being a mix between MoreInspiration and SpringWise, TrendHunter provides daily product and service ideas as well as trend lists. A great inspiration tool to keep an eye on. The search function doesn’t work that great, but the Top lists can be found quite easily.
Medium is a community of independent writers offering a unique perspective on ideas. A large part of those independent writers are industry experts, who are using Medium as a marketing channel. That’s why if you use medium search and look for “industry” + “Innovation/entrepreneurship/startup” it might yield some unique articles.
TrendWatching is a very obvious name. This website is full of trend reports who are mostly focusing on the digital world. There are some free examples that you can read, such as “5 trends for 2016” to get the gist of it. However, if you want to read most of the reports, you will need to buy a monthly subscription.
Monthly Trends by Google
Have you ever wanted to have the power of Google Search by your side? Great, Google is publishing a variety of interesting content based on its search analysis. Most of the time it’s covering consumer behaviour analysis during some particular events, but you can find content from growth hacking to original trend reports.
Here are some BONUS links for people who are already running innovation projects and are interested in learning what their target audience thinks about it.
► Testing your ideas / projects:
Aytm (broad target audience surveys)
AYTM or Ask Your Target Market helps you create surveys, which are then distributed to your target audience. Interested in what DSLR owners think about your new digital photography solution? AYTM can get you the right market insights.
Usertesting (user interviews)
An even more powerful tool is User Testing. Instead of surveying your customers, you can talk to them! This website gives you access to the target market that you are interested in. You can see your potential clients use your product or service and have an actual conversation with them. This can give you many insights into whether or not you are going in the right direction. Or to validate if the feature you’ve been working on is something to pursue or no-one actually cares about.