2011 has been, to put it mildly, a challenging year—from revolutions in the Middle East to economic upheaval in the EuroZone to natural disasters in Japan, people around the world have had to rapidly adapt to unexpected situations. It’s not all bad news, though; as some of our most popular articles from the past year show, people and brands are seeking out new opportunities and innovating their way out of problems. The top 11 most-read posts this year were:

  1. Uncovering the Real “Cool Japan”: A four-part series in which we surveyed how modern Japanese design, architecture, fashion, and technology can promote the country’s “brand” abroad.
  2. New Balance Opens Experiential Flagship Store in NYC: We visited the new 5th Avenue flagship to check out how the in-store factory and running track appeal to customers’ desire for authentic, meaningful products and experiences.
  3. Five Great Location-Based Messaging Apps: We reviewed five of the most popular apps that help you connect with the people around you.
  4. Japan Unveils First Spherical Drone: A flying drone that looks like it came straight out of Star Wars comes, naturally, from Japan.
  5. Mexican Culture and New Kitsch: Mexican designers are reinventing traditional images for a modern audience.
  6. Street Art from Egypt: Graffiti takes on a political bent after the revolution in Cairo.
  7. Festival of Ideas Promotes Brazilian Social Innovation: Mandalah, our partners in São Paulohelped organize a competition and event dedicated to finding solutions for social problems in Brazil.
  8. Does “Local” Preclude National Reach?: An analysis of the advantages and pitfalls of being a local brand.
  9. New Frontiers in Music Video: Emerging technologies are making music more visual.
  10. Mexican Drug Dealers Influence Pop Culture: Narcos become a lifestyle brand, inspiring everything from jewelry to music.
  11. “Slut Walk” Changing Attitudes towards Women in India: Young women protest for the right to wear whatever they want without fear of harassment.

Conscious-innovation-launch-eventThanks for joining us as we explore trends in 2011. We’ll be taking a break next week, but we’re looking forward to bringing you more insights and innovation in 2012. From all of us at CScout, have a very happy holidays!