June 1, 2018

Trend Spotting

Trend Spotting

Have you heard about “plogging”?

Plogging – a combo of the Swedish words plocka upp and jogga – is basically jogging with a trash bag and picking up litter along the way. People are doing it to clean up parks and other public spaces and keep trash from fouling up our beaches. The really dedicated ploggers work in some squats and lunges, too (maybe it’ll become the next gym trend).

Plogging started with organized runners’ groups in Sweden but now it’s gone global. A group in Nebraska has already dedicated the month of June to plogging, and the Keep America Beautiful campaign is working on spreading awareness of the trend, too. Look up “plogging” on Instagram, and you’ll see that posters are having a field day with it.

I live in New York City, so I’m hoping the trend really catches on here. Can you imagine how great it would look if everyone traipsing through the streets started plogging? I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of plastic bags blowing around the sidewalks like urban tumbleweeds.

And there’s a bonus: plogging burns 100 more calories per hour than regular jogging. Who needs to do the crab walk in fitness bootcamp when you can bend and stretch – and help clean up the environment – during your “plog?”

A word to the wise: Make sure you carry a pair of work gloves if you decide to plog – or a “claw” if you’re walking. There’s a lot of broken glass out there, not to mention other unmentionables that line the city streets.

There’s another new trend taking hold where citizens are taking municipal services into their own hands. Tired of hitting potholes, residents of New Orleans have been Googling instructions on fixing street craters and actually blocking off the roads and filling them themselves, in an act of civic-minded vigilantism. The New Orleans city government isn’t so happy about it, but the locals are tired of waiting.

In Chicago, an artist named Jim Bachor has covered almost 50 potholes with colorful mosaic tiles, sunk into concrete. He’s even planning to self-publish a book showing his handiwork and to lead bike tours of the filled potholes. And in New York City (where else?), a Maserati owner who blew a tire filled the culprit pothole with a potted plant to warn away other drivers. His video went viral.

Behind these stories is a lesson for all of us. We’re all surrounded by unsolved problems. It’s tempting to complain about them but by rolling up our sleeves fixing what’s broken or tunneling around obstacles, everyone can make a difference.

The same holds true in business. Any time a challenge is dogging you or your clients, it can be a chance to come up with a great solution. The mark of a truly innovative company is spotting these opportunities for the goldmine they are – and acting on them right away.