IndiaNxt 2016 - the 10th annual India megatrends conference & Workshop by Turian Labs witnessed a rich palette of speakers and participants. The discussions were about ‘future of innovation’, ‘future of money’, ‘future of fashion’ and everything in between. Participants were a great mix of  business heads, entrepreneurs, brand strategists, designers and the trend experts.


Manoj Kothari opened the session by explaining "What is a trend?" and how its application is moving into business strategy domains. Trends are events that are happening at the fringes and shaping our future. Trends are essentially the RESPONSES to an emerging situation by individual, community, nation or the entire world i.e. too many choices lead to SIMPLICITY as a preferred future. The lifecycle of a trend follows a bell curve - Once it reaches a peak, it will either die out or will merge into another trend over the next 3-7 years. A snapshot of the discussion that ensued during IndiaNxt 2016 is here below.


A question: Would you invest your money in buying a grand, sea-side house or would you rather spend it on backpacking through Europe for couple of weeks? Today it is the latter that is appealing to people - especially the millennials. One can feel the EXPERIENCE ECONOMY taking over. The luxury is getting redefined as 'own less and experience more’ attitude emerging from China and the USA, as indicated by Genevieve Flaven, Managing Director of Shanghai based trend strategy company Style-Vision. Incidentally Dr. Chips brought in similar insights from the lighting industry. Mood lighting has been around for some time but lighting is no longer an aid to the space, but becoming a ‘space’ in itself due to the programmatic nature of color, expanse, intensity, wavelengths to get the desired effect.  Manoj talked about the opportunities in seizing the ‘micro-moment’ using SERVICE DESIGN as we go through the patchy and complex string transactions everyday.


World needs the services and the products to be a seamless continuum. Industries are cross-collaborating to CURATE just the right experiences. Karthik Nandyal (Head, Reliance Jio Money) supported this notion by saying “Data is the new FLOAT…. Internet in not just to TRANSACT but it is helping build larger conversations between the financial institutions and the consumers.”


Innovation is the new virtue for the millennials. Dr. Premnath who heads the NCL Incubation Center (at National Chemical Laboratory, Pune), highlighted the emerging entrepreneurship attitude in India. Future is already at the doorsteps, with ‘Mars One’ space mission and self-driving ‘Google car’.  Dr. Premnath said, “A science driven innovation can unlock an exponential value when a NICHE problem meets both INSIGHTFUL & CREATIVE solution.” Today one can see the early foot-prints of science driven innovation in anti-bacterial textiles, in-fabric-wearables, ultra-thin materials in electronics and skin-aping artificial materials in healthcare. Sustainability also features in the lifestyle trends and it is no longer limited to living in bamboo cottages any more. New directions for sustainability are going beyond the ‘natural’ to bio-engineered, nano-engineered and ultra-efficient materials that closely mimic the original.


Mindfulness, minimalism, wellness and ‘inner engineering’ is becoming a part of our everyday life as evidenced from the emerging themes in product development, brand strategy and ‘slow-fashion’. Harleen Sabharwal, the trend strategist spoke about how grandma’s recipes and food habits are making a comeback as people search for ways to counter the effects of too much consumption.  Durability, long-term thinking and functional enrichment would drive the consumer preferences in future.  This trend will lead us to focus on the East or the Orient, in greater detail. Japan, Tibet, Indonesia and India will inspire even more Hollywood output in the times to come.


Individuality and personalization is chugging along with anti-consumption. Genevieve pointed out that millennials are not consuming ‘brands’ any more. They would rather buy ‘craft-beer’, ‘organic food’ and ‘Tesla car’ for its ‘cool’ quotient. The stereotypes are breaking all across the industry with non-standard architecture, robust and disruptive aesthetics. The offices spaces are getting redefined by assuming an 'at home' ambiance. And so are the clothes. Athleisure style is there to stay; in fact, it is getting more ‘sporty’. Consumers are not just QUESTIONING but are also comfortably carrying STRONG OPINIONS.


IndiaNxt 2016 ended with a co-creation workshop that enabled participants to construct their own trend maps using Turian Labs’ proprietary process ‘TrendScope’ and applying that to elicit future opportunities. Summarising the outcome of the event, Manoj opines, “Future never looked so disruptive from the IndiaNxt platform, as it did this year. Many business, experiences, skills and interactions are set to change course 2016 onwards. To gear up for this change, we must drop all the cues that emanate from the past and chalk out everything afresh”