Jeremy Gutsche, “chief trend hunter” at TrendHunter.com, woke up the hungover Sunday morning crowd with a lively panel on innovation and trending. Displaying the subversive attitude that one would expect from a trend expert, the charismatic speaker started his lecture by stating, “Cool is not what’s popular. Cool is unique, cutting edge, and viral.”
Gutsche presented case studies and examples in support of his arguments, which were perhaps unconventional, yet made perfect sense. He emphasized the importance of culture in determining what is relevant and appealing.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast. When you make a cultural connection you’re not speaking to someone, you’re speaking with them,” said Gutsche.
As the title indicates, the discussion focused on seizing opportunity. Gutsche displayed a lengthy list of highly successful companies that began in the midst of disaster. He presented a framework for exploiting chaos, thoroughly exploring the processes of trend hunting, adaptive innovation, and infectious marketing. The main point of Gutsche’s presentation – simple, yet profound – was that “crisis equals opportunity.”