Trendblend2008Today was a bit of a Ross Dawson fest for me. Not only did I listen to the podcast that he recorded with Stan Relihan, I also found this cool Shanghai Tube-inspired map of trend predictions for 2008 (download the PDF here).

While I don’t necessarily agree with the mainline destinations on the map, they do provide great food for thought. However, I do like the way that different trend lines intersect (eg where politics and demographics meet at a level crossing on the outskirts of a town called Anxiety), and the use of a recognisable map structure to convey a complex information architecture and messaging is brilliant.

The podcast, on the other hand, contained some gems. Ross talks about the way that social media is the future of organisations — positing that enterprises now manage conversation flow in, through and out of the organisation in ways that traditional media companies do. This means that similar disciplines and approaches need to be put in place to harness, transform and unleash this information/knowledge as a way of delivering competitive advantage (my explanation).

I also found Ross’ definition of Web 2.0 refreshingly simple. He says, Web 2.0 "… transforms mass participation into something valuable". From a brand and advertising point of view, this has some obvious implications:

  • What is valuable to your brand
  • What kind of situation/event would prompt your audience/consumers to participate
  • How will you measure this

With these three questions in mind, make sure you ask your agency/marketing team how participative media/web 2.0 is going to transform your business this year. Run these answers across the Trend Blend map and you may well have the seeds of a digital strategy sitting in the palm of your hand. It is already shaping up to be an interesting year.