April 1, 2012

Seen Elsewhere: Resources for Trend Scanning, Gaming, Productivity

Creative Commons Photo: Matti Mattila
In one of my volunteer roles, I write a feature in the ASAE Executive Management Section IdeaLink newsletter called Seen Elsewhere.  Every few months I share a few interesting websites, blogs, or publications from sources a bit off the beaten path of most volunteer or staff leaders.  With ASAE's permission, I will be reprinting them here, a few months after their original online publication.  Thanks to Joe Rominiecki, Senior Editor, for helping polish my submissions into a more appealing form.

Summary: A selection of thought-provoking websites from beyond the association management realm that offer new ideas for association executives. In this edition, explore tools for environmental scanning and trend watching, examples of game dynamics being applied by real-world companies and associations, and a handy tool for tracking and maintaining personal productivity.

Staying Aware of Societal Trends and Innovations
It is one thing to remain current with association issues as well as news from the industry or profession your association represents. It's quite another to also scan externally and get a sense of interesting innovations and trends in the world at large. Here are two invaluable resources for doing that:
  • Springwise, an organization spotlighting information gleaned by a network of more than 15,000 "spotters" from around the world. It offers a daily or weekly newsletter as well as a database of ideas, trends, and innovations organized into more than 20 industry categories.
  • Trendwatching "scans the globe for emerging consumer trends, insights, and innovations." It aggregates this information into a visually appealing monthly Trend Briefing that spotlights core themes that may merit your consideration. The January 2012 briefing included information about trends such as Cash-Less, Eco-Cycology, DIY Health, and Screen Culture.
Both sites and their free publications provide excellent information that can be used to augment your own environmental scanning efforts and stimulate conversation about the possible implications and applications of these trends to your own association's efforts.

Getting Your Game On
While some still see gaming as something nerds and geeks do in the dark confines of their basements, discussions of using gaming principles and "gamification" are now commonly occurring in staff meetings and boardrooms. If you're not a native gamer, you rapidly are becoming a member of the minority (see these "Game Player Data" stats from The Entertainment Software Association).

Here are a few excellent sources to help you build your awareness of how gaming and game principles might be applied in association efforts:
Tracking Your Accomplishments
And if you're already feeling disconnected from your new year's resolutions, you might consider tracking your daily accomplishments with this simple web platform that author Dan Pink highly recommends: I Done This.

Just as parents daily ask their kids, "What did you learn at school today?" I Done This emails you every day to ask what you accomplished. Respond to the email and you'll soon have a running log of what you've been doing.

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