Here's an interesting website www.thisnext.com. ThisNext is a shopcasting network where you can recommend, share and discover products. Every product on ThisNext is picked by the ThisNext community. You can organize your picks into product playlists that they call shopcasts.
Here's their value proposition in their own words...
ThisNext believes that better buying means better living. Great products can help us do, be and experience the things that make us happy. Our goal is to help people discover great and deeply gratifying products.
In my opinion, these folks are playing to a couple of consumer trends and needs that might just help them succeed...
1) The power of word-of-mouth
2) Everyone's desire to be heard (and a little famous)
3) Some people's desire to have the latest cool thing before everyone else knows about it
I'm writing about the site, because I think it has both relevance and usefulness to innovators. First, as a place to look at tastes, trends and what's considered 'hot', it's potentially another source to scan on a regular basis. In a direct way, it only has real relevance for consumer-oriented companies, but in indirect ways I believe that even B2B companies might be well served to be more exposed to these types of popular culture phenomenon. Remember, so much of innovation is about re-applying existing ideas in new ways. And one of the best ways to accomplish this is by looking for ideas, approaches and strategies outside of your own domain.
The second reason that I think this site may be useful is in 'testing' new ideas. While I'll bet this is truly an early adopter group right now, it's user base might expand a bit and provide a proving ground for books, products and services attempting an 'in-market experiment' to gain valuable feedback.
So, I've tried it out myself, and you'll see in the lower section of the right column of this blog a new ThisNext banner. In it, I've assembled a few of the 'weirdest' products that I could find on the site and related sites. Hope you enjoy it!