A Rustling of Hot Topics - 2014 Search for Growth Survey - Preliminary Findings

Dec 17, 2013

Rumours about the next big thing fly in the air with the frequency of the falling leaves in London at this time of year. After a particularly windy weekend, whilst walking to work on Monday morning, I had to kick my way through a ton of chlorophyll deprived biomass. As I did this I started thinking about Spring and the hot topics that might blossom in 2014. I also wondered if we would get lots of feedback from the ‘search for growth’ customer survey?

So no sooner than my windswept face had the chance to feel the warmth of the office I excitedly went into our customer research programme and logged on to see the results - I was delighted to see that the demand for the survey was high, you had left lots of information and more data to crunch than leaves on my driveway:

  • 1,805 completes (with a week to go)
  • 15,000 hot topic selections
  • 1,650 open text recommendations for hot topics not included in the survey

The survey is due to close on Friday, but for those of you that were so generous with your time I wanted to give you a taster of some of the results here first. Here goes...

The demographics were very interesting, with clear and even spreads across the global regions and career functions where we work with clients:

  • North America currently has the most respondents (40.9%)
  • Western Europe (23.7%)
  • South East Asia (10.3%)

Marketers were the job function with the most survey completes (19%), and then R+D (17%) followed by CEO (16%). Brazil was mentioned in the open text a lot, so clearly businesses are getting excited about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil!

There's a huge amount of analysis that we will need to do to make sense of the entire survey results, but for now here’s the breakdown of the current hot topics by vertical market selected with the greatest frequency. Frost & Sullivan’s research team will get a more detailed report to you in the New Year, but for now please do rustle your way through this most interesting information. If you would like to leave comments please do, we can use this community to discuss your interpretations of the meaning of these early survey results - there's a lot of potential convergence factors between these markets, something to think about.


There were many sub segments for Automotive and the most hot topic selections were made in; Business strategy, innovation & mobility where the most popular topic was OEM platform strategies. This was followed by Electric vehicles where hybrid v PHEV v BEV v fuel cells was the flavour of the day. Third most popular was connectivity and telematics with the title of most interest being technical development in automotive software platforms and operating systems.

Information and Communication Technology

Again there were many sub segments for this vertical and the most popular areas were mobile and wireless, IT applications and cloud computing with the hot topics being 4g networks & long-term evolution, customer experience management and SaaS leading the way respectively.


The 3 key areas for healthcare were life sciences, advanced medical technology and connected health. Cancer was most frequent in life sciences, with distribution models and supply chain for med tech and big data and analytics for connected health. Interestingly the key words medical – insurance – reimbursement – impact – management and diagnostics - emerged out of your raw text from a word cloud that I generated. I guess you don't need to be a brain surgeon to know why they are top of mind at the moment.

Energy & Environment and Technical Insights

Smart grid comes up time and time again in this space, followed by smart buildings and then waste to energy & value recovery. We did an interesting interview on Bloomberg on some of these items recently if you are interested http://tinyurl.com/ltz7kun

86% of all survey respondents stated clear interest in R+D (which was also the most frequent selection for the type of research that you want us to do) – at the end of the survey you gave us your feedback on R+D and Tech needs. Clean and green environmental tech cluster and sustainable energy were clear leaders – everyone clearly has this on their agenda for the future. The top titles here were emerging clean and green tech – IP portfolio assessment (clear winner so far) and energy efficiency in industry.

Chemicals, Materials and Food Ingredients

Active ingredients in personal care got the most mouse clicks in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics with construction chemicals and food processing being of most interest in construction and utilities and food respectively. The key words from the word clouds were telling for this area also – packaging - projections – processes – Brazil – applications – coatings - water.

Aerospace, Defense and Security

The changes in the defense competitive landscape had people in this sector most interested whereas cyber security was clearly number 1 in the security space. Business aviation was the top topic for commercial aviation. As a chemist in a past life, I was very interested by the open text in this area – materials – fibre – weight – composites – were most frequent; this is huge in automotive and I have not seen it in the aerospace industry before, but thinking about it it’s obvious. Materials manufacturers, can you make your innovations fly?

Industrial Process Automation and Sensors

The clear leader here was the internet of things and the factory of the future. Wireless sensors networks, to make the former happen, were also in demand.

The survey took on average 15.55 mins to complete so thanks to all of you for your precious time at this most busy period of the year. Between now and the end of January we will collect up these hot topics, bag them up and recycle them into some interesting insights. This information will help to influence Frost & Sullivan’s research output by hot topic, geographic region and research type in 2014. If you had any specific requests we will be in touch with you also. If you have any further needs for information please do not hesitate to contact me at noel.anderson@frost.com as I will be glad to help. And good luck in the draw, I will let the winners know on Monday 23rd December. Happy holidays! Cheers, Noel.

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