Our forecasting model––the FuturePrint––helps us analyze consumer behavior, microeconomic trends, government policies, market forces and emerging research within the context of the continually evolving tech and digital media ecosystem in order to understand how the future is taking shape in the present. We start at the fringe and look for patterns and attributes that help us to identify a set of possible trends on the horizon.
What Is A Trend, Exactly?
Mapping the future for your organization begins with identifying early signposts as you look out on the horizon. In order to chart the best way forward, you must understand emerging trends: what they are, what they aren’t, and how they operate. At any moment, there are hundreds of small shifts in digital media and technology––developments on the fringes of science and society––that will impact our lives in the future. A trend is a new manifestation of sustained change within an industry sector, society, or human behavior. A trend is more than the latest shiny object. Fundamentally, a trend leverages our basic human needs and desires in a meaningful way, and it aligns human nature with breakthrough technologies and inventions.
All trends share a set of conspicuous, universal features:
• A trend is driven by a basic human need, one that is catalyzed by new technology.
• A trend is timely, but it persists.
• A trend evolves as it emerges.
• A trend can materialize as a series of unconnectable dots which begin out on the fringe and move to the mainstream.
Identifying something as a trend means connecting the dots, or relating changes in the present to what’s coming in the future. To map what the future holds, seek out the early adopters, the hackers, the developers with seemingly impossible ideas. It’s within these circles that meaningful changes begin. As the trend evolves, the work of these disparate groups begins to overlap, until it converges in a single point––before perhaps evolving once again.