Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Creating Trend Units

From Trend Watcher, a new article on how to stay on top of and utilize the knowledge gained from trend watching.

From the post:

"The 3 main challenges
  1. Management and corporate culture (‘They’re just not into trends’)
  2. Resources (Information overload or starvation, lack of time and/or lack of funds)
  3. Understanding and applying trends (How to think Big Picture? What to actually do with your point of view?)
If you're facing one (or maybe all three) of these challenges, you know how hard it can be to remain upbeat about making trend watching an integral part of your daily work. The good news is that none of these challenges are life-threatening. In fact, as stated at the beginning of this document, everything you need to overcome these challenges is available.

Our recommendation? Start your own corporate TREND UNIT."

They recommend an ad hoc group dedicated to discussing trends. How do you spot trends?

"Fine-tuning your trend watcher mindset
  • Look cross-industry, cross-discipline, cross-demographics, cross-class.
  • Think like a (paranoid) CEO, even if you don’t get paid like one. Stop being 'just' a specialist and aim to become a generalist: yes, we all need to be a specialist in something. However, we also need to be generalists, to understand the big picture and how we and our companies and products fit in.
  • Never dismiss anything too quickly. Many of today’s success stories, from the camera phone to the Airbus 380, were dismissed and ridiculed from the day they were imagined, announced or conceived.
  • Ask questions. Why is something happening? Why was it introduced? Why do consumers like it? Or why do they hate it?
  • Try stuff out: the proof of the pudding is always in the eating.
  • Read a random magazine every week (buy one you would normally NEVER read), or a random blog!
  • Taboos, prejudices, dogmatism, negativity: all of this will stop you from picking up new ideas (and becoming a more pleasant person!), understanding many of your customers, and will thus cost you money."
What do you do when you spot trends?

"Applying trend information

Ask yourself if the trend you’re discussing has the potential to:

  1. Vision
    Influence your company's vision
  2. New business concepts
    Come up with a new business concept, an entirely new venture
  3. New products, services, experiences
    Add ‘something’ new for a certain customer segment
  4. Marketing, advertising, PR
    Speak the language of those consumers ‘setting the trend’: we haven’t come across too many trends that were not useful in shaping (part of your) marketing messages.
  5. Internal
    Improve your organizational processes"


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