It seems that I do all of my best thinking on the go: driving down a long stretch of highway, running along Chicago’s lakeshore path, or staring out of an airplane window. If a project requires serious brainstorming, I know that my most advantageous ideas will begin to flow once my mind settles into a steady direction of movement—not always necessarily when I’m parked at a desk between the weekday hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

As explored in Mintel’s newest consumer trend, Entrepreneurial Spirit, people, companies and brands around the world are embracing not only flexible ways of brainstorming, but flexible ways of living, earning and learning as well.

Ideas and innovation can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time. Recently, at PSFK’s conference in New York City, I learned more about the business partnership that leverages the scalability of GE combined with the speed and agility of Quirky, a crowdsourcing invention platform. Thus far, the project has created several  connected home products that link to Wink, a software program that enables consumers to control all of these new products via a single app.

The partnership’s newest result is Aros, a smart and sleek window air conditioning unit that was hatched from the mind of one individual—a man named Garthen Leslie from Columbia, MD—and honed from technical details to marketing taglines by the broader Quirky/GE community.

This community of inventors is composed of everyday people, many whose contributions to Wink innovations were made from the comfort of their personal laptops. Doreen Lorenzo (President, Quirky) and Linda Boff (Executive Director, Global Brand Marketing, GE) spoke of their belief that the best ideas “come from the living room, not the board room.”

To that end, crafty people everywhere are finding innumerable locales outside of their living rooms and board rooms in which ideating, working and learning can happen productively.

Some other intriguing ways in which people are branching out in this realm:

• Uber and Google Ventures have partnered to launch UberPITCH, a service that gives entrepreneurs seven minutes to pitch their idea while in an Uber car with an investor.
• Free online educator Khan Academy has gained the support of Comcast in a new partnership that will promote free educational materials and Comcast’s broadband service simultaneously. The partnership will allow all consumers – especially those without Internet access—to view Khan’s educational videos.
• A shared business space in Moscow called Cabinet Lounge allows businesspeople to rent an office or meeting room as needed.
• Etsy, an online retailer of handmade arts and crafts and vintage items, has launched a program called Craft Entrepreneurship, which helps people with craft skills generate income. The program consists of six modules taught by an experienced Etsy seller over the course of two to six weeks, first available in New York City and Chicago. Students will learn about using the site and specific strategies that can help them find success.

All of the above approaches are reflective of a shift in consumers’ priorities, where the focus is now on:

• Creation rather than consumption
• Idea rather than career
• Working smarter rather than harder
• Flexible rather than traditional education

The “Entrepreneurial Spirit” is becoming truly unbridled. To leverage the trend and resonate with consumers, consider how your brand can encourage and foster this spirit.

For more information about consumer trends and Mintel’s trends expertise, click here.

Stacy Glasgow is a consumer trends consultant at Mintel. She specializes in Inspire trends that will propel businesses forward and comes from a diverse background that includes CPG, agency, and marketing experience.

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