Discovering what Innovation is made of// Future Illustration

Was genau ist eine Innovation? Wie entstehen Trends und wie können sie in der Praxis eingesetzt werden? In ihrem Buch Road Trip to Innovation stellt Delia Dumitrescu, Trendanalystin bei TrendONE, die wichtigsten Begriffe der Trend- und Zukunftsforschung vor und gibt eine Übersicht der verschiedenen Methoden der Branche. In 4 Teilen möchten wir Ihnen Auszüge aus dem Buch vorstellen.

Teil 3: FUTURE ILLUSTRATION


Back to Hamburg, an early morning with a foggy view of the harbor. The TrendONE Hamburg office is located right on the shore. Nils enters the office and says: “Delia, Nick is going to Zurich, you want to join him?” As I have said before, I am not at all an early morning person; but it took 0.3 seconds for me to declare “yes, when, how, ja!” I wanted to meet Adrian Müller and talk to him about his intriguing research project related to future illustration. This topic was very new to me and I found it unexpectedly relevant.

Future illustration refers to visual elements that help you picture and imagine the future. Since semiotics was my favorite subject back in university, I knew how important images are when it comes to communication. Everything matters; lines, shapes, colors and people’s expressions are all parts of the system that develops a story in our mind. Playing with people’s projections has never been an easy task and showing them pictures of the future doesn’t make things any less complicated. Back when we were children, this was more humorous than serious. I am sure you remember the famous Hanna-Barbera cartoon called The Jetsons. My favorite! It’s curious to see how past generations imagined the future and how their predictions didn’t come true. Where’s my jet plane? Where’s my robot-maid and why don’t I work only three hours a day, three days a week?

It is clear that we are living in a visually driven culture. For example, the association of color with various causes was certainly a huge boom. Take for example the yellow rubber bracelets that supported Armstrong’s fight against cancer. Produced by Nike in 2004 (it seems just like yesterday), 50 million Livestrong yellow bracelets have been sold. Yellow meant you are a ‘Livestronger’. These rubber bracelets now come in a rainbow of colors letting people know you support one cause or another. The idea was easily picked up. “Visual dominance will have consequences – some direct, like the accelerated march of art into the consumer world; some unintended, like the decline in reading”, says John Naisbitt in his book – Mind Set!

Data visualization is essential to information management. Companies choose to portray things, and to color them in order to reveal the data. Think for a second, how would you explain the future of media to somebody? There may be a sequence going on in your mind: first it was the cinema screen, then the TV, then the computer and now the phone. That’s easy enough to understand, but if we add more details, it gets complicated. The media evolution is about going from radio and emails to web 2.0 – and social commerce to 3Dweb – and gesture control to augmented reality – and cloud computing to brainwave control – and voiceless communication. Ok, now you see what I mean? But if we visualize this…

…it suddenly becomes clear. The meaning of each step is comprehensible via the icons alone: lean back, move forward etc. Therefore, illustrations are indispensible when we want to give meaning to complex information. Moreover, when we deal with elements of the future, that are not here yet, the role of visualization becomes magnified. Let’s face it. It is hard to imagine something that you have never seen before, and that’s where future illustration comes into the game. It’s about picturing innovation.

Auszug aus “Road Trip to Innovation”, Kapitel “Ideation”, p.110-111

Auf den folgenden Seiten beschäftigt sich Delia Dumitrescu mit den Konzepten Visual Futures, Trendsketching und Trend Transfer. Wie kann Trendvisualisierung als strategisches Instrument eingesetzt werden? Werfen Sie hier einen Blick in das Buch!


Road Trip to Innovation – How I came to understand Future Thinking ist die Geschichte einer neugierigen Persönlichkeit, die sich auf einen Road Trip begibt, um herauszufinden, was Innovation wirklich bedeutet.

Delia Dumitrescu ist die Autorin des Buches. Mit unserer Unterstützung hat sie in ihrem Projekt viele spannende Interviews mit Unternehmen aus der Zukunfts-, Innovations- und Trendforschung realisiert. Ihre Erkenntnisse über angewandte Theorien und Methoden der Branche fasst sie in einer leicht verständlichen Sprache und anhand vieler farbiger Illustrationen zusammen.

Das Buch ist für 29,90 € bei Amazon erhältlich.