In the interview below, Ann Mack, director of Trendspotting at JWT, sits down with Brendan Byrnes to discuss the science and skill behind identifying big trends in their early stages. This sort of vision is absolutely vital for long-term investors, and is a cornerstone of our own resident superinvestor David Gardner's system for crushing markets. He seeks out game-changing companies before Wall Street is keen to their potential and helps investors profit as the companies soar. I invite you to learn more about how David discovers his winners today with a personal tour of his flagship service, Supernova. Just click here now for instant access.
Brendan Byrnes: One of the interesting ones was playing as a competitive advantage, which is exactly what it sounds like; actually getting out and playing, kind of like recess.
What are some companies that are implementing this, and how can playing actually be a competitive advantage?
Ann Mack: It seems a little counterintuitive because these days, when any pursuit doesn't have a goal attached to it, it seems a little bit frivolous, but more and more you're seeing people and businesses embrace this idea of play and unstructured time, because it tends to beget innovation, imagination, and creativity, all of which are competitive advantages in today's world.
Some companies that are embracing this are Google, of course, with its famous 20% time that it offers its engineers; out of that 20% time have come products such as Gmail and Google News, so it's ended up benefiting them, to give these engineers time to pursue some passion projects.
You're also seeing companies advocate for doodling, which is interesting. Who said you should doodle at meetings? But doodling and sketching out ideas helps to uncomplicate the complicated. Facebook and Zappos have installed whiteboards and chalkboards wherever you can write, on their premises.
Byrnes: Do you think that ties into one of the other 10 that you found, which was increasing stress? Does that tie into helping get rid of stress? Do you see some trends coalescing there?
Mack: Trends tend to intersect and work in tandem with each other, and those two most definitely do. We are living in this era of super stress, and a lot of our stress these days is driven by the economic circumstances that we find ourselves in. It's still a little uncertain.
Companies aren't ramping up with the workforce, so when you are at work you're doing multiple jobs and working longer hours. This is a way to de-stress a little bit, allow for unstructured time and thinking.