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4 Random Innovations to Fuel Your Startup Creativity Whatever your niche, keeping your edge requires staying aware of broader trends.

By Jeff Boss

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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When I was a teenager I knew what I wanted to do. Actually, I knew what I didn't want to do which was wear a suit and tie and work behind a desk. Instead, I wanted to jump out of planes, blow things up and be the best at it. So, I got my hands on every Navy SEAL book published and read every one.

Now, while publishing as a former SEAL connotes a negative image within the community, the benefits of doing so help people like me learn enough to make informed choices. If there hadn't been any books on Navy SEALs when I was growing up then I probably would've ended up behind a desk or, even worse, in the marines (that's joke - but not really).

The point is, what you read informs your awareness about new trends, new innovations and new ideas, and I can't think of anybody who wouldn't benefit from being more aware. While knowledge is powerful, sharing knowledge is the true source of power because it informs you enough to make decisions.

As an entrepreneur, it's imperative to stay up-to-date on new innovations so you can pick apart the good ideas from the incredibly stupid ones. While learning from failure is good, learning from others' failures is better.

Here are four new innovation trends shaping up in 2016:

1. Healthy consumption.

Healthy eating not only serves your health but it also serves your wallet -- in a positive direction. BBDO, a Bangkok ad agency, decided to take a different route toward healthy eating by focusing on how food is served rather than how it's cooked. Absorbplate is a plate with 500 perforations in its base that allows it to drain all the fat and grizzle that taste oh so good but look oh so bad (on the body). On the alcohol front, you can now tell your doctor that drinking helps you stay young—and believe it. Anti-aGin is a gin made with collagen, green tea, nettle and other anti-aging ingredients that I can't pronounce designed to prevent wrinkles and help reduce cellulite and sun damage.

Related: 12 Ways to Eat Healthy No Matter How Busy You Are

2. Personally tailored rest and recovery.

With the "Internet of everything" pervading every walk of life, companies find themselves more globally dispersed than ever before, which means travel and jet lag are on the rise. To mitigate the hindrance of jet lag on productivity, a Finnish company named Valkee launched the HumanCharger, which transmits 12-minute doses of UV-free white light directly through the ears and into the brain using small LED ear plugs. It even offers a free mobile app that tells you the best times to use the device based on departure and arrival time zones.

Related: 6 Ways to Curb Jet Lag and Travel Fatigue

3. Personalization to the nth degree.

It's been said before that the more narrowly focused your niche, the more subject matter expertise you can claim and the more market share you can own. The Webby Awards has taken this to another level with TypeVoice, an interactive website that allows you to generate a personalized font using your own voice. The website asks you to type a word or phrase and then say it aloud, from which a personalized font is created and available for download.

Related: Perform Powerful Personalized Marketing in 4 Easy Steps

4. Wearables and people-lytics.

Studying and tracking employee engagement helps drive business results as services like Workboard, Achievers, and Blueboard will attest, and wearable technology is another means of doing so. One bioanalytics company, Lightwave, has combined wearable technology with the study of people to come up with an innovative way of measuring individual engagement. During a screening of the movie The Revenant, Lightwave offered smart wristbands to the audience which monitored their heart rates and skin temperatures throughout the movie. With this data, Lightwave produced a timeline of audience reactions that helped 20th Century Fox better understand what makes their audiences tick (and buy more tickets).

The importance of industry awareness is vital, as it builds awareness and informs decision making. Awareness provides options, while unawareness limits them.

Jeff Boss

Leadership Team Coach, Author, Speaker

Jeff Boss is the author of two books, team leadership coach and former 13-year Navy SEAL where his top awards included four Bronze Stars with valor and two Purple Hearts. Visit him online at www.jeff-boss.com

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