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WHAT WE’RE READING – 2016 BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY TRENDS EDITION

How can you start a new year without looking forward?

Well, none of the major news publications can, apparently. And they’ve all published their trendwatchers for the upcoming year.

Of all the upcoming business and technology trends I read about for 2016, these are the ones that I think will have most impact. Spoiler alert: the future looks bright for entrepreneurs.

Top 10 Business Trends That Will Drive Success In 2016 --Forbes Leadership Blog

Forbe’s article has some interesting points about consumer engagement.

The first point sites a Microsoft Study that says online consumer attention spans are shrinking—from miniscule to non-existent, it seems.

So for eight-second human attention spans, gamification may be the only hope for companies looking to engage audiences.

Will we see game-development departments in corporate offices? Or in top marketing agencies? One thing is for sure: game developers will have more job options.

Also, get this: globally, companies spend, $500 billion on marketing yearly, but only $9 billion on customer service. Fortunately, we can expect that to change, says the article. Because increasingly, data shows improving customer experience is the best way to increase profits.

6 Predictions for the Most Disruptive Tech Trends --Inc.

Inc. Magazine Online sees 2016 as a year of upsets and reversals.

Naturally, it’s hard to talk about disruptive technology without discussing 3-d printing. Inc’s article says that 2016 is the year of the inflection for 3-d printing, when we see entrepreneurs in the spotlight for making boatloads of royalties off of  3-d designs.

The article also talks about marketing within video games as a trend. Could the next Super Mario be powering up on Pepsi?

As awful as that sounds, there may be some cool ways for brands to interact with audiences in a way that is agreeable to them.

5 Data-Driven Business Trends For 2016 --Forbes Entrepreneurship Blog

Big data—how can something as unimpassioned as gobs of numbers, be so exciting?

Yet Forbes’ trendwatcher piece predicts that 2016 will be THE year for algorithms and automation.

You’ve already seen a taste of this in 2015 – did you notice Wal-mart and Amazon pricing fluctuating as you Christmas shopped? That’s the algorithms at work, making BIG bucks for the retailers.

Now you may of heard about a Confederacy of Dunces, but how about a Democracy of Digits? That’s another prediction of Forbes: big data will become more democratic, and available to the “masses.”

Essentially what this means is, in the workplace, we will see more people outside of the C-suites getting access to data. Customer service reps, sales agents, and everyone in between will be making on-the-fly decisions using analytics.

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Overall, it looks like there will be two big winners in 2016: entrepreneurs and consumers. 

I say “entrepreneurs” because those guys always thrive in seas of change. And we consumers are getting more of what we want out of big business: less annoying marketing, better customer service, and—most importantly—more cool products.

So whether you’re on the supply or demand side of 2016 innovation, this year promises to be a wild ride. Strap in!

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Stephen Loy