Futuring and Trend Watching

I just got my monthly Trendwatching.com
e-mail and the introduction says a few things that really made me think
about the implications of a Futuring and Innovation center versus a Trend Unit as described in the e-mail.

Trend watching is about more than spotting the next color, fabric or hot
designer. Sure, black may be back, and miniskirts may re-conquer the catwalks in
2008, but the consumer arena is infinitely more complicated than that. Oh, and
trend watching isn’t  about ‘hard-core’ futurism, either. Better leave gazing
into a crystal ball, predicting what’s going to happen 15 to 20 years from now,
to futurists and scenario planning departments. Trend watching is about
observing and understanding what’s already happening, major and minor,
mainstream and fringe.

As an Institutional Futurist
and Trend watcher I feel that there is a great synergy for the two.  It
is my opinion that scenarios should be built upon the possible impacts
of the success or failure of these trends. Furthermore as the trend
cycle accelerates (I think it is) scenario planners must be more
flexible. The challenge is developing a quality scenario while the
parameters of the future are always shifting about. I am currently
working out a scenario for social engagement and connection over the
internet, predicting how it will impact the fund-raising and community
engagement model of the American Cancer Society in the immediate and
long therm future. As new trends (Friendster, Myspace, SMS) arise I am
watching their entire life-cycle from birth to demise and looking at
how the Society can learn and apply those lessons in a sustainable long
term solution.  As an institutional Futurist I  focus on my one client,
and have the luxury of direct contact with many decision makers.  I
like that!  As posted on Community Mobilization

One comment

  1. Well, you’ve really picked yourself a challenging task there, Randy. When you really sit down to do some servious “futuring” the methodological issues pop right out. How long a time frame? How wide a scope (eg, US, global)? How many of mumerous variables to deal with? What real data can you get? How ’bout wildcards? How to put a boundary around what you’re interested in? And in the end it’s often what impact it has on client decision maker’s ability to think about things that count.

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