When Disney is turning plants into instruments, and the Philippines are using old analogue phones to deliver textbooks, it becomes clear creative ideas arise from anywhere. But that doesn’t guarantee they will.
Unfortunately, there’s no official formula. Although you could easily try to apply one: time + effort + skill x tequila = Cannes Lions. Good luck with that.
More often than not, groundbreaking creative ideas are not easy to coax. In fact you’ve probably found your ideas come to you when you least expect – as you’re just about to go to sleep or while you’re taking a shower. Which is rather annoying. Thanks brain.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to help your inspiration flow. Alcohol might just be one of them. But as the title and lead-in to this article suggest, one great answer is to always be looking at digital trends. Pairing a cool piece of tech or software with a brand or client brief can often lead to a great idea. As long as you remember it’s not just about execution.
In fact, as digital trends take off, so do most creative ideas. For example, in the last 5 years Android phones helped stop deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest, Disney turned plants into playable instruments with Project Botanicus Interacticus, and SMART brought school textbooks to analogue phones in the Philippines. So it’s true, checking in with the latest technology can often help spark something.
Naturally, finding that one thing just as it’s about to boil over is always better than jumping on a bandwagon. And staying in-touch with the latest digital trends can help you see what’s going to be hot, or not. At the same time, looking at an existing trend – or even an old one – in a new way can also prove promising. So before you knock the following, take a moment to think about how you could be different with them. Some of the suggested digital trends below might be obvious, but the ideas they inspire can still be out of this world.
THE MAGNIFICENT 7
With that in mind, we’ve listed out and given reference to ‘7 digital trends that will inspire great creative ideas in 2015’. It’s a mix of old and new, each equally inspiring:
- THE EMOJI EXPLOSION
A lot of people follow Apple. Which explains why their iOS emoji revamp has apparently added a new layer of excitement to the electronic emotion – misplaced racism aside. And creative agencies are beginning to come up with some spectacular creative ideas off the back of this emoji renaissance: order pizza through Twitter and donate with an animal emoji. But this well has not run dry just yet. And if 2014 was the year of the #selfie fuelled idea, our money is on 2015 being the year of #emoji ideas.
- DNA MANIPULATION
If you’ve ever worried about what the government has on you, this digital trend will definitely hit home. DNA. Yes, looking at your deoxyribonucleic acid is the latest digital trend for creatives and advertising agencies – beyond shining a black light in the hotel room during Cannes Lions. But if you think that’s crazy, wait till you hear what one creative used if for – to prevent littering. You read that correctly. Ogilvy Hong Kong collected litter, and then passed the DNA residue through facial mapping software to form a rough digital representation of the culprit. Then they named and shamed them in a print campaign, publicly. So you’ve been warned, watch what you drop.
- WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
We’ve had wearable technology for a while. But with Apple finally entering the fray, 2015 could be the year creative types come up with something cool for this channel. And with the wearable market said to be worth over 12.5 million by 2018, why not. Just imagine high-fiving someone to instantly share contact details, accessing a hotel room with your heartbeat or literally waving down an Uber without even leaving your work desk (you can have those for free, creatives). No one has done anything especially cool in this space since Nike invented fuel points or FitBark the dog wearable: http://www.fitbark.com/
- DRONES 2.0
If there’s one thing CES appeared to showcase more than anything, it was that “drones are getting better faster than anyone expected.” – Ben Popper, @TheVerge. Yes, they’ve been around for a while, but this year they began to conquer the consumer market. And creative types have already come up with some cracking ideas, including the New Zealand Tourism #NZDronie. But just like emojis, there are way more ideas still dormant here. Look at what Lily did just last week: https://www.lily.camera.
- MOBILE WALLET
Arguably the most underused trend on this list, ad agencies are yet to create an award-winning idea (for effectiveness or creativity) with this undervalued channel. Which could mean it’s the one to watch. After all, creative minds don’t like to copy. And with global mobile payment transaction volume already at 431.1 billion, it’s a digital trend that’s ripe for the picking. The key here is to realize that mobile wallets are for more than just payments: loyalty cards, membership cards, store cards, travel cards…etc. It’s all about making the most of mobile moments.
It came. It went. Now it has come back. And considering it has big names like Samsung, Microsoft, Facebook and HTC excited, creative thought leaders should be as well. Just like drones, VR and augmented reality are finally entering the consumer market. We could see new things (pun intended) coming from creative ideas that use this technology in an inventive and innovative way.
- SOME SORT OF RECOGNITION SOFTWARE
Fingerprint scanners are now pretty mainstream. Most major mobile devices have them, as well as some international airports. But what’s next? According to NTT DoCoMo in Japan, it’s iris recognition. Their Arrows NX F-04G lets users unlock and even shop using their eyes. And they aren’t the only ones. Google and Burberry partnered up to let you pucker up, sending a digital kiss using “special kiss-detection software”. Which means it’s only a matter of time before a creative mind working on a Durex campaign hears of this and does something stupid – in a good way. Oh my!
NEW ISN’T NECESSARILY NOVEL
This is by no means an exhaustive list. And there will always be another digital trend. Which is why it’s worth watching them, looking for a new channel or tech idea to spark something creative. Sites like Techcrunch, The Verge, The Next Web, The New Scientist and others are a great place to start.
Because since man first used sticks to spark a small fire, we’ve looked for new and creative uses for things found all around us. That stick is now an emoji, a drone, or even a mobile wallet, and the fire we can create from it has the potential to be bigger than ever.
P.S. Importantly, the creation of fire didn’t spell the end of the stick. It continued to be a relevant source of inspiration for ideas. So while the latest digital trends are cool, remember it can sometimes help to revisit slightly older ones – just like our friends in the Philippines, above.