Capitalizing on the “Next New”

by Ruth Klein on October 8, 2010

Google the words “finding the next new thing,” and you’ll get 71.7 million hits. It’s not just about innovation; finding the “next new” allows businesses of any size to capitalize on a new technology, artist, photographer, Web designer, program or system before it reaches the status of expensive. Thus, the “next new” can be a budget saver long before becoming a budget buster.

In this struggling economy, finding and capitalizing on the “next new” innovation or way of doing business can keep you ahead of the competition.

The rule of thumb that dozens of recent studies and reports point out is that in the excitement to find the “next new” at a discount, businesses overlook this question: “Does the ‘next new’ fulfill an existing need?” The IT sectors that first made a national sport out of finding the “next new” also buy up the talent or technology the need that solves existing problems.

For example, the ills of urban sprawl at a time of rising transportation costs led to the Urban Land Institute reporting that those who know how to build, serve or define pedestrian-friendly suburban villages will benefit from this next new thing. Hundreds of articles promote “going green” as the next new thing that already is taking shape. Environmentally friendly products, consultants and services are in higher demand. Capitalizing on this new trend is how you will give your business the edge.

Define your need, and then proceed to look for the “next new” with your rule of thumb being whether that person, thing or event can solve your existing problem.

Here are a few smart tips:

  • Think Outside the Box. There are thousands and thousands of Web sites promoting “the next new.” For example, Dianne Morello, an analyst at Gartner, Inc., the global information technology research and advisory company, suggested at one recent symposium that businesses consider looking for human resources at “Teach for America,” which has a reputation for innovative approaches by idealistic participants.
  • New Doesn’t Always Equal Young. When the fast-growing Manhattan trends company DailyCandy went shopping for the next new pool of talent, they shopped the venerable New York Times to reel in the new talent of two of the paper’s veteran executives.
  • Look Far and Wide. The Internet has made geography almost obsolete when it comes to finding the “next new” talent who can easily transmit his or her talent and solutions. India has evolved from a place to shop for support staff to the place to shop for the “next new” technology solutions. Search the Internet, job boards and also consult your peers to find the name of a person who solved a similar problem, and determine if that person can solve your specific problem.
  • Look Right in Front of You. Yale economics professor Jonathan S. Feinstein, author of the book, “The Nature of Creative Development,” says providing employees time to pursue creative interests often spawns “the next new” within your own firm. Encourage them to take the time to pursue creative interests, and then make the time to pay attention to how those external interests can result in “the next new” for your company’s needs.
  • Proclaim your “next new” expertise. Use your Web site, e-newsletters and blogs to proclaim your expertise at finding the “next new.” Create a regular “The Next New” feature on your Web site, and post what you have discovered, along with your comments on evolving trends. This is a smart way to leverage your insights into new products and marketing tools that also will strengthen your personal brand by establishing your expertise.

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