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TREND RESEARCH and MANAGEMENT: what is a trend? (PART 2)
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There is nothing magical with trend-scouting and spotting. It is mostly a matter of solid and consistent principles and practices. Here is a short-overview of essential principles and sources for independent trend-scouting endeavors.

This is the fourth part of trend research and management training course that is available at:



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  1. 1. TRENDSCOUTING /// TIPS AND TRICKS /// www.semiosearch.lt/training PART 4 of TREND TRAINING COURSE
  2. 2. /// TIPS AND TRICKS /// /// SOURCES FOR SPOTTING /// PART 1 PART 2 The presentation consists on two practical parts that should help you become a better trend-spotter:
  3. 3. /// TIPS AND TRICKS /// CONTENT: -contextual evaluation -surface and depth -reverse innovation -pattern spotting -cross-examination -visioneering
  5. 5. Trend-scouting is not about witnessing a single isolated change and reporting it as a trend. A trend can be identified once we have worked through a number of different data- points. And that means that we don't stick to the same services or sources for data-input. CONTEXTUAL EVALUATION
  6. 6. Let's say we are investigating educational trends, this is one of the possible ways to go about it: -BRANDS AND MARKETING: is the change reflected in brand communication and offers -AVAILABILITY AND USERS: you decide to look at how the numbers of online courses (overall number or courses, categories, users) have changed during the last 5-10 years -BUSINESS ENTRIES: look at the numbers of new businesses entering the education field -TYPES OF INNOVATIONS: evaluate and classify the available education-related innovations -PRODUCTS: look for any related products, apps or content -THE BIG PLAYERS: look up what the big players or respective market leaders are doing and saying in relation to the trend -SOCIAL: looking at survey material with any references towards how perception of education is changing CONTEXTUAL
  7. 7. By looking through these fields and connecting different data points, you can clarify the scope, impact and the potential of the trend. And yes, evidently it is not a linear process.
  9. 9. Trend-scouting is about uncovering the invisible implicit ties that connect diverse phenomena. That one unifying principle that guides change on different levels we call a trend. TREND AS A UNIFYING PRINCIPLE
  10. 10. BELIEFS AND VALUES BEHAVIORS AND NEEDS MACRO-DIMENSIONS INNOVATIONS The third level is about the changing patterns of consumer behavior and needs that guide that behavior. And on the deepest level we have ideological beliefs about time, things, consumption, organizations and etc. The top level is the easiest to identify and follow - it is all the business and organizational innovations. Macro-dimensions unite all the dimensions that have impact on our everyday life. LAYERS Once we connect these 4 levels, we get closer to understanding how a trend works and how it fits our present and future environments.
  12. 12. Breaking-down innovation into constituent units is one of the essential exercises needed to determined the true meaning and value of innovation. REVERSE INNOVATION Reverse engineering, also called back engineering, is the processes of extracting knowledge or design information from anything man-made and re-producing it or reproducing anything based on the extracted information. Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_engineering reference to reverse engineering
  13. 13. -who is it for? -what features or elements set it apart from the context? -what does it solve for the user? what tasks does it help users to achieve? does it answer any pain points that users might have? in what ways does it create added value to the existing product? These are the essential questions you would be answering before actually starting with a new product concept: QUESTIONS
  15. 15. We have to remember that strong trends occur across categories, industries and sectors and it is important to spot the same configurations in different places. Once you have identified a trend, go through different industries to cross-check whether they are going through a similar phase. SAME CONFIGURATIONS - DIFFERENT PLACES. CROSS-CHECKING ACROSS INDUSTRIES PATTERNS “…is a discernible regularity in the world or in a manmade design. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner” Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern
  16. 16. Let's say that you noticed that subscriptions model is booming in software and app industries. This may be true, but it doesn't give you much to go on with. At the same time, if you look at other areas (e. g. traditional product categories), you will see subscription services evolving through inclusion of curation and personalization value propositions. EXAMPLE
  17. 17. -do the innovations found in different industries focus on the same principle (e.g. time saving, personalized, etc.) -do the identified innovations answer the same consumer need? -are the innovations becoming more widespread due to the influence of the same drivers? Here are a couple of heuristic questions to help you with the spotting:
  19. 19. This one is about trends and counter-trends. Trends usually originate because of the existing tensions. It could be a tension between different needs, stakeholder interests and positions or ideological perspectives. This tension can be identified or clarified if you are able to identify a trend that is opposite to the one that you are researching. TREND COUNTER-TREND
  20. 20. TREND COUNTER-TREND If something is moving in opposite direction or is based on a reversed principle, you might be looking at a mainstream and reactive trend dynamics. REACTIVE TREND DYNAMICS MAINSTREAM PERIPHERY
  22. 22. COUNTER-FORCE how would the trend evolve if it met a strong counter- trend? what will happen if the trend reaches its saturation point? POSITIVE SCENARIO what will happen to a trend if the big players move in and start exploiting it? GETTING BIG how would the trend evolve and be applied if it didn't reach mainstream popularity? what changes would resolve it? NEGATIVE SCENARIO what changes in needs, beliefs, changes in macro-dimensions and other trends would render the trend extremely successful or worthless? WILDCARD SCENARIO A trend is not a trend if you don't imagine the future for it. Think of the following points: VISIONEERING
  23. 23. CONTENT: -watching the crowd-funding scene -watching the start-ups -watching the watcher -watching the products -watching the consumers /// SOURCES FOR SPOTTING ///
  25. 25. WATCHING THE CROWD-FUNDING SCENE Crowd-funding sites feature some of the most innovative and interesting products and ideas. They also have some of the best cases of business storytelling around. And sometimes sites like kick-starter might just show a more futuristic version of the future.
  26. 26. WATCHING THE START-UPS Industry specific start-up overviews are an absolute must. Looking at the numbers in such reports can give an idea where the money is flowing and more importantly - what ideas investors believe in. That is a strong indication of an existing product-market fit. Next step is to look at and analyze the start- ups themselves while trying to uncover what value propositions they came up with.
  27. 27. WATCHING THE WATCHERS The first and the easiest thing to do is to start watching everyone who is already watching the trends. And that entails all the biggest agencies producing trend reports and briefings. There are a number of them and it depends whether you are looking for in-depth reviews or just a constant influx of trend and innovation ideas. For the former, check out PSFK, Springwise For the latter, check out TRENDWATCHING, or LSN GLOBAL
  28. 28. WATCHING THE PRODUCTS New products, publications, apps and software - all of this helps to navigate the complex world of trends. All of the mentioned can provide you with understanding of how the challenges or needs are being solved at the present moment. And the best destination for such a task is PRODUCTHUNT. Just pick up a keyword and start your research. Or, alternatively, browse through already compiled thematic products. Check out: producthunt https://www.producthunt.com/
  29. 29. WATCHING THE CONSUMERS Even though consumer sentiments and attitudes isn't something you should rely on too much (just because they do not point out fresh ideas, only reactions to the existing environment), they do point to major shifts and trends that have already reached the early majority. Check out: NIELSEN and TNS consumer reports
  30. 30. WATCHING THE COOL Cool-hunting might lead to relying on fads too much, but coolhunters and coolhunting sites are still a great place to be introduced to a number of diverse ideas. One or two ideas won't solve your trend riddle, but more industry related examples will help you to imagine different possibilities of how the investigated trend might evolve. Check out: coolhunting, coolhunter
  31. 31. WATCHING THE PEOPLE There are two main groups of people to follow: experts and opinion leaders. Yes, let's treat them as two separate groups that we will turn to with different goals in mind. Let's stick with experts for getting a clear understanding of the present state in the industry, but let's not expect them to be unbiased visionaries of the future. For this function we will turn to opinion leaders. The important criteria while selecting which opinion leaders to follow is to make sure that those leaders appeal to poly-social groups, i. e. groups that belong to different social circles. This will insure that the ideas put forward by the opinion leader will be more relevant, less niche or obscured by personal stake or interest in a particular field. By following these criteria, you might even identify the true trend-setters that popularize the trends created by someone else.
  32. 32. WATCHING THE AWARDS And finally - AWARDS. Any kind really. Some of the technology, innovation, digital focused award shows will show an inclination towards future-oriented visions and that is more than good for us, trendscouts.
  33. 33. TRENDSCOUTING /// TIPS AND TRICKS /// www.semiosearch.lt/training PART 4 of TREND TRAINING COURSE
  • AsmaaGuedira

    Nov. 23, 2018
  • catisantiago

    Mar. 6, 2018
  • MathiasMberg

    Jan. 20, 2017

There is nothing magical with trend-scouting and spotting. It is mostly a matter of solid and consistent principles and practices. Here is a short-overview of essential principles and sources for independent trend-scouting endeavors. This is the fourth part of trend research and management training course that is available at: http://semiosearch.lt/training/ .


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