Friday, May 12, 2006

Trendwatching.com

I've mentioned the newsletter/web site trendwatching.com several times in this blog, but the May 2006 issue deserves special notice for anyone who is thinking about the future of libraries.

This newsletter is written from a world view of consumerism, about how cutting edge companies think about marketing and selling their products today. Many of the references are to products in Asia and Europe, that will make their ways across the oceans in the months or years to come. But if you make the translation from a retail online environment, to an information online environment, you can mine this source for some pretty impressive nuggets. Is it all gold? No. But there's enough there to make it more than worth your investment of time.

This issue is an update of a previous study called "Customer-Made." Their theme is that it's time "to tap into the GLOBAL BRAIN." The report features stories of consumer products and services that have taken consumer input to create a whole new level. Honda sponsors a blog, "2TalkAboutHonda," that lets people who are interested in cars share their ideas not only about Honda autos, but about all things automotive. But it also can be used to create any "2TalkAbout" topics. Why not a "2TalkAboutMyLibrary" blog?

The Lego Factory is a way for people who are enthralled with the little interlocking toys that have lacerated millions of unsuspecting bare feet in the middle of the night share ideas for creating massive, Lego-based structures. And Lego used the most prolific contributors to that blog as a super secret focus group for the next generation of toys. (If you haven't seen this article in February's Wired about the Lego Factory, "Geeks in Toyland," check it out.) Have you ever considered using the library's most exacting and frequent users to be a focus group when you want to make changes? Or do you write them off as the whiners and constant complainers?

And the ultimate in open source: Vores ├śl, or "Our Beer," is the first commercial beer to be brewed and sold under a Creative Commons license. You can download their recipe and create a duplicate or a derivative and do whatever you want with it. Somehow, I can't see the folks in St. Louis or Golden, Colorado, jumping on that idea, but the folks in Copenhagen seem to have gotten it!

Anyway, you get a sense for the kinds of ideas that come out in each issue of trendwatching.com. The subscription is free, and it's a great tool for keeping up and maybe even getting just slightly out ahead of the curve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does this mean OCLC will eat its own dog food and begin engaging its own users in designing products? For example, Fascinatin' FAST... a great concept... why not launch a place where users can talk about it (not just attend a Session at a Conference or Read a Paper)? K.G. Schneider