I recently attended a session by a futurist who was trying to help set the context for our association to begin its strategic planning process. He shared information from a session he did with a home products organization who was envisioning the next room of the future. He asked us to think about what room we thought will become commonplace in homes that is not there now.

At first glance, it was hard to get my arms around this question. But when I thought about it in comparison to what homes looked like when I was a child, the contrast became more evident. There were no three-car garages (most often, not even two). There were no “great rooms” with vaulted ceilings. The den is a new development, as is the recreation room, “man cave”, home theaters and a separate laundry room. Patios and outdoor bars are new too.

But the two rooms this organization felt were rooms of the future: wellness rooms and pet bedrooms. The first one made sense to most of us, and many laughed at the notion of a pet bedroom — until we started thinking about it. Our futurist said that pets are a multi-billion dollar industry and more of our pets are being considered “fur people” by their owners. Then I calculated that if I piled the crate, feeding bowls, toys, leashes, dog food and medicines all together into the pet bedroom, it would free up a lot of other space in my house! Maybe it’s not such a crazy idea after all. 

Think of the supplemental industries that pet bedrooms would spawn. Pet bedding and accessories. Special flooring. Deodorizing cleaning supplies. Monitors. Decorations. Low-to-the-ground furniture. Full-length windows to provide a view. Aesthetically pleasing doggie doors. An extra television or radio to provide stimulation when the owners are away. Dutch doors would make a resurgence so the owners could decide when their pet came and went out of the room. I can see the dollar signs now.

But getting back to the point of the exercise, do you notice how one idea triggered the next? And the next, etc. I’ll bet you now have ideas of your own of what the future could look like if pet bedrooms became prevalent. We took our existing knowledge of bedrooms and our understanding of pets and put them together to come up with a list of new applications.

What two things can you put together to create something new? Look out your window and pick two to give your imagination some exercise today.

— beth triplett

Futurist Andy Hines at www.andyhinesight.com

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