When Valve Software had to deal with consumers hacking into the encrypted software of its popular game “Half-Life,” the company took a bold, overt decision to release the code to the community. The result? A rapid-fire exchange of ideas, iterations, and crowdsourcing that led to the creation of “Counter-Strike,” which became one of the most popular online games in the internet’s history. What Valve Software recognized as a subtle yet strategic opportunity years ago has now grown into a full-fledged business imperative: Companies must work with — not against — consumer creativity.

Since Valve Software’s early move, the consumer context has changed — instead of occurring within niche online communities, consumer creativity is now bubbling up everywhere. In fact, hundreds of thousands of global consumer surveys collected through our Consumer Technographics® methodologies reveal that consumers are eager to flex their creativity, compelled to experiment, and desperate for novelty and variety at this moment more than at any other point in the past two decades. Today, 56% of US online adults admit they are always willing to try out new brands, products, and experiences — and while it’s tempting to chalk this up to yet another “Gen Z effect,” know that this urge for experimentation runs high across consumers of all ages:

This is why leaders like you can’t afford to ignore what creative consumers will mean for your business. Our deep multimodal research and analysis identifies three key implications that give rise to new challenges your business will face:

  1. Creative consumers won’t just enjoy trying new things; they will demand it and thrive on novelty.
  2. Rapid consumer experimentation will change the game for how consumers trust brands and products.
  3. Consumers will reward creative brands that iterate continuously.

Fortunately, your unique combination of technology, process, capital, and human ingenuity equip you to leverage your own creativity to solve for consumer creativity. Join me at Forrester’s Technology & Innovation Forum, November 2–3, 2021, to learn how to recognize consumer creativity, dig into the implications of the phenomenon, and understand why your creative response will unlock essential value for your business and its people.