Magazine article Management Today

Crash Course in ... Spotting the Next Big Thing

Magazine article Management Today

Crash Course in ... Spotting the Next Big Thing

Article excerpt

The world is changing fast but your firm seems constantly to react after the event. New year, new decade: an opportune moment to find ways of spotting trends before they happen and to move ahead of the curve?

Understand what trends are ... 'A trend is a change in consumer attitudes or behaviours,' says William Higham, author of The Next Big Thing and founder of consultancy www.next-big-thing.net. 'The reason you want to predict trends is so your products, services, and the channels and attitudes you use in communication, all tie in with these changes.' Micro-trends are short-term changes; mega-trends are long-term ones.

What are you looking for? 'First step is to define what drivers are relevant to your business - what behaviours in the world are crucial to your business doing well,' says Magnus Lindkvist, founder of Stockholm-based Pattern Recognition (www.patternrecognition.se). 'When these have been identified, start experimenting with tracking trends you think might be affecting your business - there are often surprising connections between widely differing areas.'

Watch the big picture. 'Macro trends tend to dictate our environment, often in a broad, sweeping way,' says Reinier Evers of consultancy Trendwatching (www.trendwatching.com). 'Big technological, political, environmental, economic and societal changes will trump consumer trends, which in turn trump industry trends.'

Seek far and wide. Don't just look inside your own industry. …

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