NEXT16: David Mattin on the five trends to change your business

David Mattin of Trendwatching brings us five huge trends that are changing society - and which should change your business.

Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and terrible crimes against grammar and syntax. Post will be updated over the next 48 hours.

These are the trends that will empower you to answer the question: what will my consumers want next?

We’ve had an interesting year. Microsoft created a racist chatbot. Google’s Deep Mind beat a champion at Go. There’s Trump, there’s Brexit. And, of course, there was Pokémon Go.

We’ve seen a huge amount of evolution in the last 12 months. Trends emerge in a particular way:

  • External change – which changes dramatically
  • Human nature – which changes very little over time

Trends happen when an external change opens up a new way to serve a basic human need. For example, go back to the early social platforms, they were using the internet to meet the human need of connection. Once those innovations become expected, they spread. The one touch service of Uber has spread into all sorts of industries. Uber created the expectation, which then spread. That’s a trend.

So, who am I competing with as an innovator? Anyone creating new customer expectations.

1. Virtual Experience Economy

Pokémon Go: Yes, it happened – but what did it mean? The first answer is… status. It’s a powerful answer. The search to mark yourself out as someone special – it’s a key motivator of all human behaviour. Status has moved from possessions to experiences – that’s old news. Now we’re starting to see the internet of experiences. Kevin Kelly suggested we’re moving from information being the basic unit of the internet to experiences holding the same role.

Virtual experiences will become a currency in their own right, just like physical ones have been. Pokémon Go became a massive chance for shared experience and status display. There were meet ups and Pokeedates and creativity around the event – and that’s “look at me, look at how creative you are.” And one guy won – he got all the Pokémon you can catch.

So, how can you innovate in this? The Void is a Ghostbusters virtual experience in Times Square, NYC. Super fun, but an amazing experience in an amazing place. It’s a status notch up from visiting Times Square. No Man’s Sky is a game where you can have virtual experiences no-one else will have had. Yes, the game was a bit of a flop, but there is no doubt that it is rewiring what people expect of video games. Fear might become a new status currency – can we expect to see virtual experiences that are so terrifying they become a status symbol? Yes. The Walk simulates a walk on a rope between the World Trade Centre twin towers, recreating the famous Philippe Petit walk.

And then there’s creativity – tools to create virtual worlds for people. And they’re beginning to emerge.

2. Motivated Mindlessness

Who I am as a person is a huge status indicator. But AI is smarter than us. So what consumers want is for brands to put AI to work to make their life better. They’ll look for tools to help them improve themselves. VI is an AI personal trainer that lives around your neck. It gives you realtime coaching as you run. Google Goals is a calendar features that schedules intelligently sessions to work on your goals. AVA uses image recognition to give you advice about your diet. Boltt is creating an ecosystem of wearable devices that supercharge your personal development.

How do you use this to help your customers improve themselves?

3. Incognito Individuals

The world seems to get more fractious – look at Trump, and #blacklivesmatter and the refugee crisis and Brexit. We’ve seen that happening online. Black users find it harder to get AirBnB bookings than whites. “Unprofessional hair” searches bring back more images of black women than white women. But also people are using the internet to free themselves from the values of society and live the way they want to: post-demographic consumerism. This tension is leading consumers to adopt platforms that allow the anonymity to express themselves as they want. makes interviews anonymous – and gender-blind. Simple – but really powerful. Blind lets colleagues talk anonymously.

Anonymous networks have failed, But AI is changing that. Candid is using AI to weed out bullying and trolling. Antipersona allows you to see Twitter through the eyes of any other user.

Can you set your users free through new forms of anonymity?

4. Proud Personalities

The other side of the coin is being visible – proudly inhabiting your demographic. NoirBnB is a response to the AirBnB issue. Inclov is an app for disable dating. Gendr is for people who are gender nonconforming. And Talkshow allows public texting conversations.

5. Renewed Humanity

There’s a lot of scary technology out there. ING scanned every Remebrant and used AI to paint a new one. Autonomous cars will replace drivers. Robots replace humans. You chance? To renew humans rather than replace them.

For example: Public speaking VR – which helps you get used to public speaking.