This is a breakdown of US household consumption from Bain (click to enlarge). It's part of their Great Eight Trillion Dollar Growth Trends for 2020 and the chart is probably helpful to review and file for presentations and such. Within the Great Eight trends, there is one that ties directly to marketing, #7: "Everything the Same But Nicer." The chart is from that section. And since it's the sole trillion dollar trend focused on marketing, it's worth a study...
The red boxes signify the "hard innovations" or, basically, tech stuff driven by science and R&D departments (e.g. tablets, Twitter). While these will be important, Bain really focuses on the other grey boxes citing them as the second largest driver of global GDP over the next 8 years behind the growth of the Asian economy. Which is incredible. The grey boxes are where "soft innovation" opportunities exist; the things that are marketing or process driven and promote additional consumption. They require a focused effort on insight finding and creative development.
Within organizations it's worth creating an internal team tasked with just that: finding the right insight to increase product or service quality and drive increased consumption. It's possible with anything, regardless of the industry. Take the coffee category for instance where over the last ten years soft innovations (such as premium retailers, Via single serves and Keurig K-Cups) raised global economic value 80% versus only 21% growth in "quantity" consumed.
So there should be a team dedicated to that. What premium options can we create? 3M is doing cool stuff worth reading about.
But there should be another team, too.
Recently I attended a fascinating presentation by Tim Leake who uttered the phrase "useful is the new cool." Which I quickly wrote down. "Useful is the new cool." This is about 'making the active choice' and designing systems to become more helpful to customer's lives.
I think this is just as important as introducing stellar "soft innovations." I can't apply a trillion dollar figure to it like the folks at Bain, but it feels that important. There should be a team dedicated to this too.
I suppose it could be tempting to assign both under one team. But finding these answers require very different brainstorming, testing, team skill and creativity. Establishing two teams within an organization, one focused on each, would probably be the best way to structure things.