Founded in 1995, during the heyday of the dot.com boom, Fast Company is a business magazine that focuses on technology, business, and design.
To be honest, I left Fast Company to subscribe to its arch rival Wired. Wired seemed, well cooler.
But life as a way of coming full circle, and my millenial son reintroduced me to Fast Company via their amazing online "magazines," Co.DESIGN, Co.EXIST and Co.CREATE.
Recently, I was blown away by a Co.DESIGN article, (authored by Chris Butler,) "12 Trends That Will Rule Products in 2013," because so many of the trends were so completely relevant to the practice of mental health and employee assistance.
I'll jump in and tell you why:
Trend #3: ANALOG WILL NEVER GO AWAY. I have previously blogged about this concept - specifically that no technology ever dies and millenials love old technology. To broadly extrapolate, no service delivery methodology will every become obsolete. The psychotherapist of the near future may talk to patients on their video wristwatch, but there will always be a demand and a need for in person treatment. The Butler article notes, 2013 "will be the year when mainstream consumers start to embrace “outdated” technologies along with cutting-edge ones. A brand that can seamlessly straddle the divide makes far more sense to them."
Trend #4: WORTH IS DETERMINED BY PHILOSOPHY, NOT PRICE. The article notes, "How do you determine a product’s intrinsic worth? Increasingly, it’s the idea behind the product and the philosophy of the brand that created it. Your values are a competitive advantage. 2013 is when mainstream brands start asking serious questions about their philosophy and values. Knowing what you stand for and conveying that to the world is no longer an intellectual exercise for the touchy-feely fringes. It’s a necessity." I have watched ultra competent providers bill $90, $175 and $300 for the identical service. Think about it.
Trend #6: REPAIR AND REPURPOSE ARE THE NEW KILLER APPS. See #3. It's not about building a new breadbox. It's about adapting the old breadbox to new clients. How are you going to attract the next generation of clients, who may know nothing of Freud, old style medical models, and more?
Trend #7. TECHNOLOGY MOVES TOO FAST TO CARE ABOUT. Butler notes: People used to invest in products just to get their hands on the newest technologies. But it’s become too much, too fast...only a slim population of early adopters counts pixels or processor speeds anymore. The rest of us just want to know what it’s like to use." Translation - having/using technology, be it an app, a website, an online service - that in and of itself is not enough. Your use of technology must be user friendly, and make sense.
Trend #10. HUMAN INTERACTION HAS NEVER BEEN MORE PRECIOUS. Butler writes: "There’s almost no transaction that can’t be automated today... And customers are starting to resist. With many technological obstacles out of the way, we have the luxury of being picky about automation. Sometimes we embrace it... And sometimes, we long for a living, breathing person...2013 reverses the trend toward automated everything, as humanity becomes the crucial differentiator between a beloved brand and a commodity."
You may be resisting the pull of smartphones, social media, and whatever techno trend is coming down the pike. Or you may have jumped on the app bandwagon. Regardless, it's all about knowing your worth. See trend #12:
Trend #12. EVERYONE IS A SPECIALIST. "You’re a specialist, too. Trying to be everything to everyone is a losing proposition. As [clients] embrace their connoisseurship, they seek out brands that match it. The success stories of 2013 are companies unafraid of putting a stake in the ground, to boldly indicate where their expertise and passion lie--and where they don’t."