67. The New GI Bill
What did we say about a new diet fad racing into vogue? Carmichael may have to compete with the next-generation of carbophobia: the Glycemic Index (GI). GI measures the effect that carbohydrates have on blood glucose levels. Recent studies on rats show that a diet rich in low GI foods (like nuts and beans as opposed to white bread) produces lower body-fat percentages and more lean body mass. New labeling will become more prominent, and expect to hear meatheads talking GI instead of carbs.
68. Trailer Chic (Now With Plyboo!)
For every brief moment of cachet in the history of the trailer (fun fact: Bing Crosby set up an elite trailer park in Palm Springs), there are 10 hurricanes or tornados that have literally and figuratively obliterated its reputation. Jennifer Siegal is the architect of the new mobile home — and maybe of another period of trailer chic. Based on a steel frame, her homes use plyboo (a bamboo product) and plastic instead of plywood and glass. To avoid providing great Weather Channel footage during the next storm season, the structures can be easily moved and combined. A current prototype sits in California.
69. Forever 21
Forever 21, the fast-growing sportswear chain, will be the public face of the fast fashion trend this year. The company has more than 200 stores in 28 states, mostly in malls, all of them turning over their inventory every week to keep things fresh. It's rolling out a new, flagship store format that looks like it's designed to challenge its competitor H&M head on, and there have even been rumors that Gap is studying the company to learn more about the phenomenon. Forever 21 may need to go shopping for a wedding dress.
70. Institutionalizing Imagination
Sounds like an oxymoron. It probably is. But one of the most intriguing recommendations of the 9/11 Commission is "to find a way of routinizing, even bureaucratizing, the exercise of imagination." In every organization, bureaucratic or not, liberating imagination is at the core of competitive advantage. How to do so? The commission suggests: creating a team that regularly dishes up analysis from the perspective of the enemy, or in business terms, your toughest competitor; developing a set of telltale indicators to better predict an attack, perhaps a rival lining up a key supplier; having a management process to monitor and act on such signals; and ensuring that someone is held accountable for it all.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.