What comes to mind when you hear the word “SPROUT”? A plant? New life? A vegetable half the population doesn’t like maybe; but the key to creating products that will make millions because they cater to future societal trends? If you got that right then you can stop reading now.
The SPROUT workshop teaches companies to predict how humans will be acting in a few years time. It gives them the keys to unlocking what we will be looking to use and buy, and to what technologies will be integrated into our daily lives. The companies in question can then go on to create product-service systems (PSS), a combination of products, services, communications and distribution, to accommodate, or even direct, these future changes.
In other words, SPROUT workshops get companies ahead of the game.
PCA Design Management professor, Maurizio River Serena, together with trends specialist Laureano Mon, conducted a SPROUT workshop in Brazil last year at the 4ED Design School in Porto Alegre. They walked a group of entrepreneurs through SPROUT methodologies, teaching them how to implement them into their businesses. Cerveja Coruja, an artisanal brewery from the south of Brazil taking part in the workshop, was asked to create a new PSS for their future clientele. In order to achieve this, they investigated how societal changes and new technologies and innovations would create new desires in their customers. They then had to create a product that would respond to these future desires.
“It was really cool to be a part of this experiment here in Brazil. Many new things have come out from it, like other visions and other interpretations of the business. It’s given us new alternatives and a lot of drive so that we can continue to grow. We’re ready for another SPROUT soon!” Micael Eckert, one of the founders and directors at Coruja.
So how does the SPROUT workshop work?
Over the course of two to three days, businesses are taken from theory to practice via the creation of a future scenario. The scenarios are based on trends noticed in progressive societies. The participants then come up with PSS ideas for these predicted scenarios using the methodology they have just learnt. The aim of the workshop is for businesses to be given the tools to produce an innovative Product Service System that has meaning; a product that allows its users to create an emotional attachment to it.
To sum it all up, entrepreneurs predict future trends and create products that not only accomodate these trends, but that incite their users to grow sentimentally attached to them. Simple.
Maurizio and Laureano will be running the SPROUT workshop in London this week as well as in June in the Italian Dolomites.