Explore the world's #1 largest database of ideas and innovations, with over 400,000 inspiring examples.
Uncover major shifts and emerging opportunities with our exclusive PRO research.
Trend Reports
Discover why 750 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Join over 200,000 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Join 20,000,000+ people getting better and faster with our New York Times Bestselling methods, best innovation books & keynote videos.
Get special access to premium content, topic tracking and customizable tools through our AI-powered Dashboard.
Learn how the Trend Hunter harnesses the power of artificial intelligence.
Enhance your innovation potential with a deeper understanding of your unique innovation archetype and how your organization benchmarks.
Accelerate innovation and ignite disruptive thinking with our award-winning programs and research.
Keynotes, Workshops & Webinars
Empower your team with the insights and frameworks they need to innovate better and faster.
Custom Research
Get fast, customized trend reports, presentations and deep dives 20x faster than traditional research.
Get started today with a free consultation, our self-serve tools, or a dedicated program.
Jeremy Gutsche
Ignite your event or virtual event with our CEO, a NY Times Bestselling Author and one of the top innovation keynote speakers.
Our Team of Speakers & Virtual Presenters
Inspire your group with our most popular speakers on innovation, trends, change and futurism.
Get in touch to learn more, ask a question or submit a tip.
About Us
Learn more about Trend Hunter and how we accelerate innovation.
Get answers to common questions about Trend Hunter.
Stay on the cutting-edge with the help of the Trend Hunter community.
Meet the team trusted by hundreds of leading businesses worldwide.
Find opportunities to accelerate your career with the #1 Trend Firm.
Catch up on noteworthy Trend Hunter news and media mentions.
Build a portfolio and put your trend-spotting abilities to the test.
Supercharge your marketing by partnering with Trend Hunter.
Visit your public portfolio and browse your past articles.
Add a Trend
Write up an article and showcase your trend-spotting skills.
My Trends
Edit your articles and see how they stack up on the leaderboards.
Edit your profile, connect your social media accounts, and more.
Add a trend, customize your dashboard, or track topics.
Future Festival
World Summit
Join the world's top innovators at our FREE Virtual event.
eLearning (NEW)
Prepare for the year's ahead with 100+ lessons, tactics, tools and frameworks with our full learning database.
Free Webinars
During COVID-19, learn to innovate through chaos, navigate the new normal and maintain work culture from home.
Innovation Events
Explore our 2020 tour dates and find the best city to inspire your team.
Custom Events
Host a custom innovation conference in your city that will inform and inspire.
Custom Training
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team with custom training packages.
Search our database of over 390,000 cutting edge ideas.

Openness in the Pursuit of New Ideas

Product Design Manager at 3M, Mark Baldwin

— March 28, 2017 — Business
Mark Baldwin works as the Product Design Manager at 3M, and spoke to Trend Hunter about the importance of being open-minded when approaching creative work.

How does your team generate great ideas?

We do a lot of consumer research, and it can vary depending on the size of the project, sometimes we’ll do ethnographic research with consumers to uncover unmet needs. We’ll do primary research, qualitative research with consumers. We also mine a lot of data from trend research companies not unlike Trend Hunter. We’ll do internal brainstorming sessions within design typically, but it’s more of a cross-functional team. It depends on the scope of the project and the work, and what we might already know versus what we have to discover.

What are some barriers to innovation and how do you get around them?

Sometimes existing processes or existing ways of doing things can limit innovation at times. Some limits are self-imposed, with either how far we want to push the envelope versus how innovative we want to be.

I’m part of a small team right now where we’re really trying to innovate and push the envelope, so we’re really just trying to approach things differently. We’re engaging some outside help in terms of facilitators or people who are good at making us think outside the box. A lot of it’s mental, we’re just trying not to be mentally limited. Let’s just not worry about any manufacturing process limitations. So it’s a combination of forcing yourself to be mentally open to things and also, sometimes getting some external help to push the envelope.

How do you identify trends?

I always like to get back to pencil and paper, to sketch and draw and get things down physically. It helps me to work through ideas. At the beginning of a process I would say I always like to scan areas for ideas that are not necessarily directly related to the problem I’m trying to solve. A lot of times you can get inspiration from either adjacent industries or completely different ones, you can make a connection back to what you’re actually trying to solve in a completely different way. It opens up new ways of thinking.

What can you do to create a culture of innovation?

I think in any organization the leadership has to be an advocate of different kinds of thinking and openness to exploring things without having to worry about being penalized for pursuing something that may or may not work out. I think failure is an important part of innovation. If you fail fast, you can learn a lot. I think the idea of fast prototyping is very helpful. Try something, build it, if it fails you get a new idea and build upon that.