This month’s Curiosity Stop innovations are all falling nicely into the trends we predicted in Think Forward, a report published at the start of this year [imagine evil person laughing here]. Take Snapchat's Robo-advisor, your next financial adviser. The ephemeral social media platform is looking to transform into a robo-adviser, by using algorithms to manage customers’ money. Chat apps are already a fully fledged financial platform in the East, so we saw this one coming - although Snapchat is still well ahead of the game here in the Western world. It’s time to reappraise social as a cat meme dumping ground, and get onboard with the new economics of Social Currency.

Another trend on our minds is Voyeurism 2.0, which illustrates our desire to peer over the digital garden fence. Follower is a prime example of this. It’s an online service which works by assigning you a stranger who must surreptitiously follow you, providing a photo of their ‘stalkee’ as proof. Despite the disconcerting premise, Follower doesn’t seem to have a dark side. Just a no-hassle, unseen stalker. This example may be extreme (okay, very extreme), but the digital voyeurism trend is becoming mainstream.

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Some of our innovations still don’t fit neatly into these established trends. This month we feature telecom group Claro’s project Signs of progress, a powerful example of a brand providing a useful service that acts as its own marketing. In rural Central America, many housewives struggle to create a business out of their skills. However, while they may not have much money, these women all have satellite dishes. Claro worked with local artists to paint over its own logo on the satellite dishes, instead using the space to creatively advertise each household’s offering - from strawberries to hairstyling.

Will marketing-as-a-service turn into a mainstream trend for brands? Who knows, but we always keep a keen eye on these outliers. They’re where the future’s at, after all.