Tag Archives: mindjet

Quick guide on how to use Evernote to stay on top of emerging trends

evernoteWhat is the process I use to keep up and /or uncover emerging trends and what tools do I use? Previously, I’ve written about how to create an insights bank using Evernote. Here I’ll expand on that initial idea, with a quick guide on how you can stay on top of emerging trends, as well as building your own sense making capability, to make sure you don’t get caught off guard.

Why do successful companies fail? Because they miss the future. But, companies don’t fail because they choose the wrong course, they fail because they can’t imagine a better one.

How does trend spotting fit into an organization’s future?

Innovators either create trends that change the world, or take advantage of emerging ones. Trend spotting is a very important innovation skill, and one that the vast majority of companies outsource to trend hunting firm; sometimes with no benefit.

This is a valid strategy, but a I’d recommend you don’t bet on it because most organizations have access to the same information those trend hunting firms are selling. More strategic for you is to develop your own capability for detecting and taking action on trends.

Detecting trends is a similar exercise to how you look for tension points to uncover opportunities for innovation; you attentively look for what at some point could become a huge problem.

What tools do I need to be an innovator?

What tools do I need to be an innovator?

This is going to surprise you, but you already have all the tools you need to be an innovator: your senses.

Simply put, opportunities are all around us. When we take the time to notice them, they can stimulate more creative thoughts within each of us. Contrary to popular belief, creative genius can be developed. But just like everything that is important, it takes work.

Studies have identified 5 core skills of successful innovators, these complementary skills form the Innovator’s DNA:

  • Associating. The ability to connect and combine ideas to form new ideas.
  • Questioning. The ability to probe and ask provocative questions that challenge the status-quo.
  • Observing. The ability to observe the world around you—including customers, products, services, technologies, and companies—and the observations help you gain insights into and ideas for new ways of doing things.
  • Networking. The ability to diversify your network to learn from others, not just hang out with people who are just like you.
  • Experimenting. The ability to try new experience and put ideas into action.

I would add visualization to that list too because you have to be able to communicate your ideas in the form of a sketch, drawing or anything that looks like a prototype. You don’t have to be an artist to be able to sketch ideas, you just have to be able to take what you see in your head and draw it with stick figures on a piece of paper.

This last point is very important because modern innovation methodologies require that anyone be able to understand context via observation and questions, identify insights, synthesize those insights into ideas in the form of a prototype.

For more specific tools that will help enhance the above abilities, here are a few that I use:

  • Mindmaps. I’m a self-c0nfessed mindmapper, and I’m still astounded at how little mindmaps are used. If you really want to develop your ability to be creative, to look at both the big picture and small, to think strategically; mindmaps will do you good. There are many mindmapping providers, I use Mindjet. But honestly all you need is a blank piece of paper, a pen or pencil, and you’re all set. If anything doing it in a piece of paper is more effective because it makes you put more effort into it. You can then use your smartphone’s camera to scan it, convert it into a photo, and share it with colleagues.
  • Journal / Recording tool. Beyond having something where you can write down thoughts and ideas, you want to have a “question bank” and an “idea bank“. Both will do wonders for your creativity and strategic thinking. Specifically, I use Evernote as my second brain because I can clip images, send photos that I take with my phone to my Evernote, record conversations and take notes.
  • Information consumption tool like Pulse / Zite / Flipboard / Feedly. You need a tool to consume information of news, blogs, articles, tweets, instagram shots, etc. A tablet with said applications makes it a powerhouse.
  • Twitter Lists. One feature that is still very much hidden from the Twitter experience is Lists. Which is sad because people are missing out on how to use Twitter’s  full capabilities. The ability to create lists to segment specific themes and people from Twitter’s main feed is very powerful because you it can help you separate the noise from what is valuable. On top of that, by segmenting you’ll be able to have a clearer picture of what is really going on in the world!
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The world needs more awesomeness

A few weeks ago Umair Haque said . In an effort to do that he’s :

The goal is to produce a stronger, collaboratively written manifesto on awesomeness, rich with real-world example, discussion, and commentary.


Here then are my thoughts:


Awesome for me is something that let’s me do or experience something that I’ve never done before. This can also be called innovation, but then again we always had phones until the iPhone came along.

Bottom line ’Awesome is a dramatic improvement over what was before.’


Products and services that make my life more awesome are:

  • An iPod let’s me carry thousands of songs in my pocket.
  • An Alienware Computer let’s me play games at the highest performance.
  • A PS3 let’s me play the best console video games at a high performance
  • A Kindle let’s me have books to read at any time I want.
  • A Moleskine notebook let’s me write down notes in a very simple way.
  • makes me smarter and more productive because it let’s me remember more things anywhere I am.
  • let’s keep up with news in a very intuitive and simple way.
  • Mind Manager let’s me create mind maps in a simple and efficient way where I feel confident I can come up with better ideas. 
  • In-n-Out let’s me eat an old fashioned burger the way it should be.
  • let’s me buy pretty much anything I want through the internet and get it 3 days later in a perfect state.
  • let’s me browse the internet wickedly fast (but I still prefer ).
  • let’s me share anything to anywhere in the web directly from my browser.
  • Jordan basketball shoes let me play basketball without having to worry about performance and safety.
  • Nike sports wear gives me the psychological edge in sports.
  • Logitech let’s me have beautiful, efficiently modern tech devices to use with my computer.
  • A Heineken makes me feel like I belong to special group of beer drinkers.
  • A Zebra F-701 pen is a good looking pen with great feel and it’s cheap.

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In conclusion:


Awesome enables me.

Awesome empowers me.

Awesome activates me.

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What are your thoughts on awesome? What products or services do you consider awesome?