A mixed future of adult and business innovation

The giant (NASDAQ: RIMM) ubiquitous BlackBerry maker for communication and convenience, RIM has seen a number of defined trends up front. These reflect the themes of my own research and are the foundation of MIT Azlab

Motley Flower’s Dan Jazomac’s January 2 article, “4 Key Trends RIM’s Futurist Forces,” reports a lecture by RIM’s Innovation and Technology Futurist, Joseph Dvorak, PhD Manager Dr. Dvorak identifies four trends affecting the future of smart phones:

(1) Old age: In 2000, the medieval age on the planet was 26, by the middle of the century it will be 36 and the number of people over 60 will triple – about two billion people;

(2) Connections: Smart phone, other device and wireless providers already see activity, space and smoke trends on social media and interactions;

(3) Empowered Customers: Customers will use tools that help them monitor and manage their relationships with companies, such as social media, from restaurant preferences to financial services, to ‘Hey, where’s my package?’

(4) Purchase of ‘value’ (e.g., green customer) Purchase of value is not only for children. Where the ‘causes of color’ (my phrase) – buying green, supporting pink and red – are increasingly interested in their social impact and legacy to older babu boomers. That is, ‘What am I contributing and what am I leaving?’

Insight and innovation

These trends alone are attractive and businesses as well as governments need to be aware of their potential impact in the future. However, the future of aging and innovation is a combination of these trends – no one’s extension.

What happens when older customers are ubiquitously connected, empowered and decide to buy value beyond cost and quality? For example, what would it be like to see wireless-enabled health or caregiving services in the pockets of an aging boomer? Will ubiquitous computing power, social media and quality purchases create virtual collaborative networks of service providers of sandwich boomers today and fragile boomers tomorrow? Can you imagine the rise of 24/7 on-demand, green, transport services for social networks that are always ‘visible’, ‘friends’ on your smart phone?

The business opportunity is not just to be aware of these trends, but to combine them, visualize the competitive realities and see these alternative futures as drivers of product and service innovation.

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