Work It!: 2013’s Top 10 Areas For Innovation

January 17, 2013  |  
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I’m so excited to launch the newest business column on Madame Noire: “Work It!” Every month we’ll dive into emerging trends, the future of work, and the innovative ways businesswomen are updating how they do business. The nature of work is changing at a rapid pace. Follow “Work It” to get a head start on what the future holds and shake up business as usual to take on this new era.

To establish the “Work It” circle of trust, I’m giving up one my most guarded, secret business weapons: JWTIntelligence. The think tank of one the world’s best-known marketing communications brands, JWTIntelligence’s gift for predicting trends would make Dionne’s psychic friends gag with envy. JWT has released 100 things to watch in 2013. We’re counting down the top ten trends you should be thinking about.


#10 – Partner Health & Happiness

In 2013, a happier person equals a healthier person, and vice versa. Health will increasingly be viewed from a holistic approach with happiness as a key component. Working in healthcare or fitness? Look for ways to show your customers you understand the link between their mental well-being and their physical health.


#9 – Find Privacy In Public

Rihanna’s not the only one overexposed. Everyone is guilty of over-sharing in the age of social media. The backlash is finally here. People are starting to look for ways to create private spaces in their lives. Ask yourself, how can you give your customers a greater sense of privacy?


#8 – Embrace the Power of Your Peers

Peer pressure is a good thing, if you’re using it for your benefit. Businesses will increasingly leverage how closely linked we are to friends and family. An easy way to apply this trend is to take advantage of Facebook’s social plug-ins.  Visitors to your site will be able to see how their friends are using your services and easily share your information with their timeline.

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

#7 – Recognize Everything as a Retail Opportunity

Shopping is no longer limited to physical or online stores. Retailers will be looking for unique ways to bring their goods to the public. Launching a new product? Think of places your target customer frequents where they would be pleasantly surprised to see your goods on sale. Use mobile technology like QR codes to make online shopping possible in the physical world.


#6 Get Ready for Sensory Overload

Technology has made us all professional multi-taskers. We’re used to switching back and forth between two or more screens and having an unhealthy number of tabs open in our browser. Give your customers more ways to engage their senses. How can you use sound to enhance your website and presentations? What smells and tastes appeal to customers passing by your store?


#5 – Identify Mobile-ly

Smartphones have taken the cell phone to the next level. This year, they will continue to evolve, becoming our wallets, keys, health consultants and more. Think about which of your client interactions can be made more convenient using mobile technology.


PRNewsFoto/NCR Corporation

#4 – Predict and Personalize

Between auto-complete and social search engines, we’re becoming more accustomed to technology and businesses knowing what we like before we tell them. The dropping costs of data analysis means brands will increasingly be able to predict customer behavior, needs or wants. Think of ways you can tailor your business to the needs of frequent customers. It can be as simple of starting a spreadsheet or database of what their preferences are.

AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi

#3 – Embrace Smart Objects

Phones aren’t the only smart toys in 2013. Everyday objects are evolving into tech-infused devices that can interact with its users. Keep an eye out for new technologies that you can bring into your workspace. Looking for ways to take your product to the next level? Brainstorm how to integrate Bluetooth and GPS technology.


#2 – De-Stress

Life has always been stressful, but 2013 is forecasted to take it to another level. Sorry. On the bright side, governments, employers, and brands will make preventing and reducing stress a bigger priority.  Think of ways to help customers and employees juggle their responsibilities and manage their stressors. Set aside a serene space they can go when they feel overwhelmed.


#1 – Outplay the Competition

Play will continue to be a big trend in business as more brands realize that unstructured play brings balance to the organized, tech-based activities that dominate workers’ time. According to MIT Sloan Management Review, purposeful play can inject vitality and creativity into organizations. Instead of the usual brainstorm, think of fun games that will help your team generate ideas.

C. Cleveland is a freelance writer and content strategist in New York City, perfecting living the fierce life at The Red Read. She is at your service on Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).


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