The Problem: As computerized trading, ETFs, derivatives and more complex financial instruments make asset markets more interconnected, it is becoming more and more common for multiple, previously uncorrelated asset classes to move in lock step during major market movements. As a result, major shocks to investor confidence ripple through the entire stock market rather than being localized. This has made it difficult for previously successful portfolio strategies to continue to work.
The Concept: Since correlations between price movements in asset classes are so high, perhaps a more successful strategy would be to track market sentiment and devise investment techniques that rely strictly on the psychology of the market. While Macro Investing (investing based on geopolitical, psychological and economic news) has been a common strategy for quite some time, the idea here is that macro investing may be becoming a much more valid and successful means of tracking market movements (and will continue to improve in the future) whereas other forms of investing may be losing out due to the factors described above.
Similar Ideas: Macro Investing
The Problem: As a society we are reading fewer books, in fact, we are reading less in general. As more of our time is spent absorbing small packets of information, it has been argued that we are becoming less inclined to devote continuous attention to longer form content. However, even in a world where people read fewer, shorter texts information still needs to be transferred, perhaps more than ever before.
The Concept: Writers and publishers should begin to see their role as content creators rather than book producers. As content creators, they should package their ideas in multiple ways for different audiences. Instead of one 300 page book, a content package might contain the book, a series of infographics, the “cliff notes” version of the text (laid out in blog-sized snippets) and a short video explaining the major concepts.
The package might also contain a mobile phone application or an audiobook depending on the material. Consumers would be able to select the channel that they would prefer to receive information, so that someone with a “short” attention span might take the blog posts and infographics while someone who wants deeper insights might take the full text. This is not simply publishing across multiple channels (transmedia publishing), it’s publishing for different cognitive styles.
Similar Ideas: Transmedia Requires Need Breed Of Writers, Publishers
The Problem: Everyone is an “expert” and everyone has an opinion. In an era where we rely more and more on talking heads and pundits to provide us with news and opinions, it is difficult to know what biases drive their musings. Personal and professional biases can have significant impact on the perspective an expert uses when coming to a conclusion, and simply accepting (or rejecting) an experts opinion at face value can lead to bad decision making.
The Concept: A wiki-like site should be developed that brings together known professional and personal biases of public figures. These biases may include membership in organizations, donation patterns, specific public statements, or current/previous employment which would color their perceptions. Ideally, public figures would be allowed to make their biases known in a public forum in the same way journalists writing a story do. This would not only increase the level of trust we have in these figures, but would also allow us to make better decisions and fact-check previously held beliefs.
The Problem: We have a limited number of hours in the day, yet we have a nearly unlimited amount of information to process thanks to digital technologies. From blog posts, to hyper-targeted advertising, to Youtube to text messages, more and more of our attention is being taken up by the passive acquisition of data. When you include the influence that the “smart phone” culture of constant emails and constant connectivity has introduced into business you have to ask yourself when we will hit the natural limit of our attention spans.
The Concept: We need to determine whether or not we have arrived at or near “peak attention,” the point where we simply do not have enough time in the day the deal with the demands of the information that is being pushed at us. What affect will peak attention have on businesses whose main product is information, and how will peak attention affect the way we sort, filter and synthesize knowledge from information? Does “peak attention” even exist, or are we more adaptable than we think we are to new demands on our cognitive faculties? What can we do to improve our tolerance for information? A study could be designed to answer these questions.
Similar Ideas: Information Overload