Although trendspotter Faith Popcorn’s best-selling The Popcorn Report came out in 1991 (and is out of print), the ten top trends she alerted us to seem remarkably fresh. Here’s what she told us would move that decade:
Cashing Out: Looking for satisfaction, more of us will opt out of corporate life for a simpler way of living.
Cocooning: In an increasingly unpredictable world, our homes will become important sanctuaries.
Down-Aging: Nostalgic for their childhood, baby boomers make retro pursuits and products popular.
Egonomics: The sterile computer era breeds the desire to make a personal statement.
Fantasy Adventure: Modern age whets our desire for the roads not taken.
99 Lives: Too fast a pace, too little time causes societal schizophrenia.
S.O.S. (Save Our Society): The country rediscovers a social conscience of ethics and compassion.
Small Indulgences: Stressed-out consumers want to indulge in affordable luxuries.
Staying Alive: Awareness that good health extends longevity.
The Vigilante Consumer: The consumer uses protest and politics to keep the marketplace inline.
Popcorn spends a fair amount of the book pointing out the opportunities that come with each of these trends. My favorite exercise in The Popcorn Report is the Universal Screen Test. This is a simple way of taking an idea and holding it up against the major trends. Is the idea of being Joyfully Jobless, for instance, riding the horse in the direction the horse is going? Let’s look.
Cashing Out: Absolutely. The movement away from working for large corporations and doing work that is satisfying is the wave of the future.
Cocooning: Right on-trend again. Creating a homebased business gives us more time in our own cocoons.
Down-Aging: There are many aspect to this trend including a sense of playfulness. Down-agers want a sense of fun about their work and will ignore ideas about retirement age. On trend here, too.
Egonomics: What could be a more personal statement than creating work that’s an extension of who you are? Pass again.
Fantasy Adventure: Our new desire to test the unknown in ways that are safe but exciting makes stepping out on our own a perfect way to live our dreams. On trend.
99 Lives: Regaining control of our time and lives leads us to self-bossing as a partial solution. We’re going for balance here. Pace will be less frantic. A+ on this one.
S.O.S.: What better way to put your values, passions and social concerns into action? Yes, to this trend.
Small Indulgences: Every successful entrepreneur learns the value of rewarding their progress in small ways. This trend also suggests many product ideas.
Staying Alive: Knowing what we do about job-related, stress-induced illnesses, how could any health conscious person not work for themselves? Major on-trend.
The Vigilante Consumer: Changing the way things are done sometimes involves doing it yourself. Some Vigilantes will discover their most effective weapon is being an honest businessperson.
According to my calculations, being Joyfully Jobless scores a perfect 10. How do your ideas fit into the trends Popcorn predicted?
$100 Hour: Popcorn also points out that our franchised, repetitive marketplace will spawn a backlash with more folks looking for unique, even custom made products. How might you create one-of-a-kind experiences for your clients?
Explore More: John Woods certainly passes the Universal Screen Test. If you don’t know him, add his Leaving Microsoft to Change the World to your reading list.
The seeds of great discoveries are constantly floating around us, but they only take root in minds well prepared to receive them. ~ Joseph Henry