Non-Obvious | Rohit Bhargava

Summary of: Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas and Predict the Future
By: Rohit Bhargava


Welcome to the world of Non-Obvious thinking! In this engaging summary of Rohit Bhargava’s insightful book, you can anticipate a deep dive into the art of trend curation. Discover how to push your predictive abilities beyond the confines of the obvious and learn to spot the subtle factors that will shape the future. By adopting the hidden mindset known as the haystack method, you’ll understand how to gather, aggregate and elevate your observations of the world around you, leading to non-obvious insights that inform the next big thing.

Spotting Non-Obvious Trends

Everyone wants to predict the next big thing in business. However, predicting trends based on what appears obvious is futile. The key to staying a step ahead is to look for non-obvious trends. To spot these trends, you need to become a trend curator. Similar to a museum curator, a trend curator collects lots of information about what people are doing in various fields and brings out their meaning. Non-obvious trends are buried under a lot of information, and it takes a keen eye to spot them. For instance, a trend curator may notice that social media, advanced technology, and personalized adverts are pushing people toward having a stronger desire to be the center of attention, leading to potential future developments.

Finding Trends with the Haystack Method

The Haystack Method is a four-step process for identifying non-obvious trends. The first step is gathering information from various fields. The second step is aggregating these ideas and asking why they are relevant. The third step is elevating by identifying underlying themes that connect the ideas. The final step is proving, where you analyze your conception of the trend to determine if it meets specific criteria. If so, you have found a trend. If not, you start the process again. When giving the trend a name, mash up two different concepts for a simple and memorable name.

The Essential Qualities of a Trend Curator

Trend curation is no easy feat, but to become the best, a few critical traits are required. A successful curator is naturally curious, constantly asking questions about why certain things are happening and what people are doing. This curiosity enables them to distill meaning from copious amounts of information, spotting trends in the process. Fickleness, considered a negative trait, is, in fact, an advantage. It allows curators to pivot back and forth between trends and ideas without becoming fixated on any one of them. This creates an expansive pool of ideas to sort through, leading to better curation. Finally, a keen sense of observation is essential. Curators must train themselves to spot the minutiae that others typically miss. Imagining a child continuously asking questions can help attain this attribute by encouraging curators to notice even the tiniest details. By embodying these critical qualities, anyone can become an effective trend curator.

The Traits of Successful Trend Curators

Curiosity, fickleness, and observance are not enough to become a trend curator. Thoughtfulness and elegance are also essential traits. Thoughtfulness means reviewing all collected material and reflecting on it instead of making decisions based on initial reactions. By curating thoughtfully, one gains deeper understanding and more insights. Elegance allows describing a concept in a way that’s simple and clear yet beautiful to the audience. It balances between lengthy and concise expressions. Creating vivid images through visual metaphors and similes helps ensure people understand and remember the message.

Intersectional Thinking: A Tool for Trend Identification

Effective trend curation involves not only identifying trends but also leveraging them for business growth. Intersectional thinking plays a vital role here, allowing businesses to explore similarities between trends and their points of intersection. Intersectional thinking is best illustrated by the success of the new drink, RumChata, which brought together the growing trends of authentic products, Latin American Culture, and creative food. Workshops are also an excellent tool for identifying trends and leveraging them. They allow groups to collaborate and generate ideas on how to take advantage of trends. To make workshops more productive, businesses should adopt a “Yes, And” approach that builds on ideas and choose the best leader for the workshop, someone who can facilitate discussions effectively. To succeed in a fast-changing business environment, it’s essential to combine trend identification with intersectional thinking, effective workshops, and the right leadership.

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