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Introducing the tenth edition of Non-Obvious, the final book in a decade-long series about trends shaping our world and a guide on how to see what no one else sees, from trend curator Rohit Bhargava.
Wondering if these trends are still relevant after COVID-19?
Read the Frequently Asked Questions Section >>
ABOUT THE NON-OBVIOUS INSIGHTS NEWSLETTER
Are you tired of seeing the same stories shared in your social media feed day after day? Do you want to shift your perspective with unusual stories that you probably missed?
This email spotlights the most interesting stories of the week along with a thoughtful (and short!) point of view on why they matter.
Read past editions of this email:
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WANT TO GET DIRECT ADVICE FROM ROHIT?
Hi, I'm Rohit Bhargava and I spent nearly 15 years working in strategy, creative and new business roles at Leo Burnett (Australia) and Ogilvy (Global). Over that time I have worked on more than 100 marketing campaigns in all sorts of industry categories, from oral care to IT services to breakfast cereal.
Since leaving the agency world, I have started two small businesses, spoken to brands large and small in more than 32 countries around the world and built a popular course teaching persuasion, marketing and storytelling to Masters level communications students at Georgetown University.
Since global travel and business was disrupted from COVID-19, I have been teaching leaders and teams how to think in more innovative ways and reimagine their marketing. Read some of my insights in this article from TIME magazine article on marketing in a pandemic or in this blog post about 10 signs the future is already here.
Are you ready to do that?
In this open ended virtual session, we can talk about how to shift your business in the COVID-19 era, what your priorities should be, how to promote and market your business in a sensitive time, how to inspire your workforce or any other topic that you would like.
We can even do an exclusive live virtual meeting where you invite your team to join. The topic for our call can be ANYTHING you like - it's up to you!
ABOUT THE TREND SERIES
ABOUT THE PROCESS
Want to see what trend curation looks like in action? This short timelapse video shows Rohit using his signature "Haystack Method," to aggregate past trend predictions into bigger ideas. The process, which is outlined in Non-Obvious Megatrends, is designed to help anyone become a "speed understander" instead of a speed reader. It debatably works better when drinking coffee from a Minions mug ... at least according to Rohit.
AN AUTHOR Q&A WITH ROHIT (UPDATED SINCE COVID-19)
Why should I buy this book?
This book will help you get smarter and more ready for the coming decade. In addition to the ten megatrends that you need to know, the method of trend curation you'll learn in Non-Obvious Megatrends will help you think differently, be more creative, and see what no one else sees. The future belongs to non-obvious thinkers, and this book will help you become one!
What's the big idea of this book?
There are two big ideas. The first is that the world needs more open-minded people who think for themselves. I want to help people see the world independently instead of getting easily manipulated by those who seek to profit from warping their world view. The second is that by understanding the behavioral "megatrends" shaping our culture today, you will be able to grow your business, propel your career and generally make a bigger impact in the world no matter what you do.
How is this book different from other books that claim to predict the future?
Too many trend predictions are based on laziness, wishful thinking or just plain obvious. This book was inspired by ten years of research and more than 100 past trend predictions. All these curated stories and real-world examples ensure that this book helps you understand the accelerating present, and what it means for you.
Why are you an authority on trends when you often share that you don't think of yourself as a futurist?
I have spent my career advising hundreds of global brands in just about every industry you can imagine, and I speak at more than 40 events a year (mostly virtual these days!). This diversity of industry and experience is a key factor in how these trends are focused. While I don't see myself as a futurist because I focus on the near term, I do often describe myself as a trend curator - because I believe you can predict the future through understanding the present.
In the book you share diverse stories from Hong Kong’s last birdcage maker to entrepreneurial indigo farmers from northern Tennessee. How do you find these unique examples are the trends still relevant now after COVID-19?
I am an avid collector of stories. I tear articles out of unusual magazines and read hundreds of stories every week in order to write my weekly newsletter. The global pandemic has changed business, and accelerated some of the trend predictions while muting others. These days, I talk about both and share new insights based on my latest observations of the world and how it's shifting.
Have you ever been wrong on a trend or prediction?
Of course. While making 100+ predictions, there have been some misses. Unlike many other trend forecasts, though, I build a lot of transparency into my predictions. There’s an appendix in the book that features a recap of every past trend along with an updated analysis on how that trend fared over time. A letter grade is assigned to every trend based on its longevity.
OK, you need to share the backstory. What's with the Post-It notes?
I dress that way every weekend! 😊 No, actually it’s from a fun photo shoot that an editorial team did to accompany an article about my process. The idea was to show how I sort through all the “information noise” in order to find meaning and identify interesting ideas. If you think that was fun, you should see the time-lapse video that we posted on social media about getting all those notes to stick.
You write about using trends for “fun and profit.” What do you mean, and can you tell us more specifically about the profit part of that?
First, I believe that understanding what direction the world is moving can make you more interesting as a person, and that is the fun part. On the profit side, when you can see the shifts happening in culture and behavior, you can pivot your business or career to take advantage ... especially in a moment of extreme disruption like the one we are all living through right now.
You've been doing this for ten years, but you say this is the last edition. Why are you stopping?
This is a question I get a lot. Much as Jerry Seinfeld said when asked the same question about ending his show, I want to end this project gracefully while it is at its peak. Writing this annual book has been the longest project of my career. Now I want to move on to other projects and specifically invest my time and resources to making Non-Obvious a much bigger and more powerful idea and brand ... a journey we started this year with the announcement of our ambitious new Non-Obvious Guide Series.
I want Rohit to help my organization directly in a virtual session. How can I organize that?
Rohit does frequent virtual sessions and runs day long trend, innovation and disruption virtual workshops + virtual offsites for senior leaders. In case you're interested in any of those, you can contact Rohit and his team here. All event inquiries will receive a response within 24 hours (and usually within a few hours during the working day)!
THOSE VIDEOS ROHIT MENTIONED ...