Creating consumer engagement, especially through digital channels, is fundamentally about the art and science of detection.  Brands and organizations that detect and service emerging and/or unmet needs and market opportunities win more than their fair share.

Detection, not connection will always be the killer human app.  Connecting to something inherently follows the act of detecting it.  This process is what fuels visionaries of all shapes and sizes to see, to detect what others miss. Steve Jobs underlying emotional intelligence and curiosity and intellect gave him the cosmic detection tools to see big trends and bigger inflection points of change.

So the real question is how do business mortals- corporate or entrepreneurs-  “detect what’s next and detect not deflect?” Here’s SEVEN keys to detecting the dots:

  1. Don’t let data get in the way. Data can point the way just like it can bury the path altogether.  Being data smart and smart about data need to go together.
  2. Let social media point the way.  The tools are crisper and more nimble to monitor and synthesize insightful sentiment and trends; while, canceling out what doesn’t matter.
  3. Tap your social network. You’ll save time and hassle asking your community for honest feedback about what you see as “trending.” Think about this: A BIG one day trend is usually followed by a bigger one!
  4. Be open to new. To new platforms, technologies, adjacent industries and skill sets that may even mutate your own. New can be scary, but not as much as being old.
  5. Always be on the look out.  Detection is an active sport. The more you, your team are “activists” the more dots you’ll see, detect and connect.
  6. Be courageous and resilient.  It is true we step in a lot of poop looking for fresh, game-changing opportunities. Feel free to say/think what I whisper to myself when approaching an ify situation “Bring It ON.”  (BTW: Mantra’s never get old and are known to work 9 out of 10 times!)
  7. Be emotionally all in. I call it using “Fact Based Passion” to be a zealot and a realist in real time.  People who use data to ground them and passion to free them, are often early to great and insightful finds. And, yes EMPATHY is a hugely important tool in detecting the dots!
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