Brands continue to look for breakthrough innovations. It is possible to look to the past for design inspiration as well as human behaviors that can be used in the future.

Here are two examples of how the past became the future.

4590121947_85c801b070_bThe retailer Service Merchandise existed from 1934 to 2002 and developed a system to complete customer orders via computer terminals, and later through phone orders. They even tested drive-thru locations for added speed and convenience. Was this process the fore runner of buy online, pickup in store processes we see today? I am sure that components of it are in fact what many consumers do today. A company before its time, not hardly. But the fact is that they could have been influential in IKEA’s shopping process of showroom and centralized pickup. Can you imagine what influence they would have on the big box store like Home Depot and Best Buy today with their model? An experience that would align with today’s time crushed lifestyle.

tucker-1003Processes aside, design innovators such as Preston Tucker had visions that were before their time. The Tucker 48 boasted many safety innovations that became standard in the future including disc brakes, fuel injection and self-healing tubeless tires. The “Tucker Torpedo” was also futuristic in its design as well including a central headlamp that followed turns and magnesium wheels.


Continuing to demonstrate his vision for the future, Tucker with a group of Brazilian investors later designed the Carioca. Many aspects of the design have been discovered in the Chrysler’s Prowler fifty year later.

As history continues to repeat itself, it’s how we embrace these opportunities that makes them important for brands. There are many other visionary examples of ideas before their time. It’s a matter of being able to look at history and implementing into today’s experiences to make it relevant. It’s this ability that provides the vision for brands to engage with consumers.