Our basic instinct of imitation is not always so beneficial

As humans we are programmed, hard-wired, to imitate what other humans are doing, starting with our parents. Even at birth we imitate; we have this built-in mechanism that allows us to imitate both movements and facial expressions we see in other people, especially our parents.

Humans' powerful instinct for imitation dwarfs the aping abilities of other primates. Human's imitation allows for the transfer of information and culture, including behaviors and customs between individuals and down through generations.

Although imitation has strong benefits, as it has allowed us to survive and prosper as the human race, our strong programming to imitate can get in the way of business success.

The issue is quite simple. If you decide to develop a business, let's say some kind of community leisure venue (CLV) such as an FEC or eatertainment venue, and you choose to imitate another existing one, you could well be imitating a model that won't lead to your CLV's success. Unfortunately, the instinct to do so is very strong.

In the not too distant pass, imitating an existing CLV was less risky, as the world and the out-of-home (OOH) entertainment culture and landscape was changing oh so slowly. Even if the model you imitated was several years old, chances are leisure and entertainment culture and competition wouldn't have changed much.

Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, as we now live in a world of rapid and accelerating change. The CLVs you find today are in a sense really yesterday's models, as they were conceived, designed and developed in the past when the culture and landscape of OOH entertainment and leisure was different. What you see today is the result of the world in the past, not the present, and for sure, not the future when the CLV will open and have to successfully operate for years.

Today we live in a fast-changing world with a tidal wave of new competition for consumers' leisure time. There are far too many both out-of-home and screen-based digital experiences chasing too little consumer discretionary leisure time. To compete, CLV developers need to be far more innovative. They need to understand trends, so their CLVs will launch in the world of the future where the entertainment culture and landscape will have evolved to something different than today.

One thing our company invests heavily in is trends research, including trend spotting. We review research across multiple consumer industries including both at-home and out-of-home entertainment, food service, consumer goods, retail, travel and hospitality, to name just a few, in order to understand today's consumers and developing and evolving trends. This allows us to design and produce projects for our clients that not only can be successful when they open, but into the future. Based on the high cost of entertainment venues today, they need to be future proofed to assure a good return on investment.