Tracking an Industry On the Move
The following post is from Bryanne Leeming MBA ’16, founder of JumpSmart.
JumpSmart creates interactive products that teach kids coding and the engineering process from ages 8-12. Our first product is an electronic, programmable floormat with lights and sensors that children can use to create games, designs, and animations they play on their feet. I’ve been working on this for over a year now, and in that time have been able to fully immerse myself in the growing trend that our product joins: STEM educational products. STEM (or STEAM) is a growing topic of discussion in the news and in the new products released.
When you are passionate about one topic for enough time, the information has a way of finding you. But I wanted to share a few of the ways I track STEM and educational product trends.
- Talk to lots of people: When enough of your friends, classmates, and others know what you’re up to they can start filling you in on articles they may have read or people they have met in your industry.
- Talk to experts: The best information is the stuff you can’t find on Google yet because it’s so new, and you only get that information from talking to experts.
- Go to industry events: This summer I went to a conference called Interaction Design and Children (IDC) that took place at Tufts University, and there I got to see research being done in university labs as well as an amazing panel of educational toy professionals. The event gave me a sense of what the industry was looking for, and led to a useful pivot of my product.
- Pay attention to advertisements: Because of the many online searches I do on the industry and competitive products, it has been interesting to see the related sponsored posts that now appear on Facebook. The companies buying the keywords I search for can help give me a sense of industry news, price changes, and more.
- Set up a few Google alerts: Set up Google Alerts for trends or specific keywords you want to track and you’ll get a daily email of news article headlines on that topic.
- Sign up for industry and competitor email newsletters: This way you’ll have industry news delivered right as it’s happening.
- Read the news: With all your industry-specific research, it’s important to keep an eye on what’s going on in the world as well. That is how I was able to find this article announcing that the NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio, has promised to offer computer science in every school in NYC within the next ten years. This news is a very good indicator that the industry I’m entering will continue to grow and has been very useful in my pitches.
Tracking a growing industry can be very exciting and the new nuggets of information I find keep me motivated and focused on what I’m building. By thinking on our feet and tracking the industry, JumpSmart is better able to disrupt the status quo.