Whether it is ‘always wanting’ a new version of a consumer electronics device, or a software app update or even a food item that’s “new and improved”, consumers are relentless in their pursuit of “New”. The old model of physical consumption – purchase, use, declare obsolete, discard – is being overturned by a new model: one founded on constant improvement, upgrade and iteration. Are you ready for the era of UPGRADIA?

UPGRADIA: Driven by consumers’ thirst for quicker, more seamless access to the new (in ways that are cheaper, more sustainable and more participatory) and facilitated by emerging technologies, the constant stream of upgrades and iterations typical of the digital ecosystem is coming to the world of physical objects.

In the digital space, endless consumer desire for the new is served by a never-ending stream of updates. One example? Twitter’s iOS app saw an upgrade on November 19 2013 (version 5.13), a further tweak on November 21 2013, another upgrade on December 10 2013 (version 6) and another tweak on December 13 2013.

In this light, standard iteration cycles when it comes to physical products increasingly feel super-slow and uninspiring: “Six months, and all they’ve added is a slightly better camera?”.
At the heart of the UPGRADIA trend is the shifting of expectations that have been cultivated online – of constant upgrade, iteration and improvement – into the physical world.