Rockstar

Our 2 Minute Guide to Trend Spotting and Innovation

By: Jeremy Gutsche - Published: • References: trendhunter
If you're an entrepreneur at heart, product innovator or artist, you may be asking yourself how to use Trend Hunter for inspiration. Here's a brief guide to how you can use Trend Hunter (and your other research sources) to inspire something cool.

How To Use Trend Hunter - Our 2 Minute Guide to Trend Spotting and Innovation
Trend spotting (a.k.a. trend watching) is the science of identifying emerging shifts in our social behavior and aspirations. Trends are driven by a range of factors, including pop culture, media, news, innovation, and the arts. Trend spotting is used by industry professionals to develop products, enhance idea generation, and inform marketing, media, design and strategic planning. By developing a systematic approach to trend spotting, individuals and organizations can better develop disruptive products and creations that dance the beat of cool.

I will be diving much deeper into the link between trend spotting and the innovation process in my upcoming book. The book overviews how to create a culture of innovation and infect your products with cool. It represents the cummulative knowledge of my research in innovation and strategy, and is currently a perpetual work in progress. Stay tuned for more details, or contact me if you want to know the status.

Here's a starting point, which eludes to the purpose of Trend Hunter:

STEP 1: Reset Your Expectations
For groundbreaking innovation, you cannot rely on your existing bias and you cannot accept someone else's macro-trends. You need to hunt for your OWN trends based on a wide variety of sources, including your customers. By developing refreshed and relevant insights, you can better unlock your innovation potential.

STEP 2: Observe Your Customers
Whether you are product designer, entrepreneur or an artist, the observation of your existing and prospective customers can be the most powerful driver of innovation. If you dig beneath the surface, you will more clearly identify your value proposition and opportunities for enhancement. Develop a list of key themes and use these to guide your research.

STEP 3: Cool Hunting / Trend Hunting
Gather your existing observations and broaden your scope by hunting for cool in a wide range of categories. Cool Hunting and Trend Hunting isn't the search for what's popular. It is the search for what's NOT popular – yet. In fact, cool hunters and industry professionals typically refer to cool as the NEXT big thing. Once something becomes mainstream, its novelty and appeal is lost. As a result, you must seek inspiration from the fringe. This means exposing yourself to the extremes of luxury, bizarre and excess. By construct, this means that each of these micro-trends will have a lower probability of becoming mainstream. However, the purpose is not to find the micro-trend you will copy, it is to build a composite of trends for inspiration.

STEP 4: Clustering
By grouping your observations into clusters that make sense you can identify powerful insights for use in the innovation process. The human mind has an amazing capacity to cluster groups and identify macro trends. Be careful though, because we also create mental short cuts in order to reduce our processing intensity. As a result, we can fall into the habit of identifying trends and groups that we already knew existed. To break from these traps, we must consciously force ourselves to look at our data in different ways to unlock powerful new insights and inspire creativity. Collect your favorite trends in a medium that makes sense (excel, post-it notes, etc), and create natural groups. Then scramble them up and force yourself to find new patterns.

STEP 5: Develop a Point of View
Through careful analysis of your insights, develop a point of view. In other words, ask yourself, “where do I see opportunity?” By articulating this opportunity, you can guide your work (or your team's work) through the brainstorming process. This leads to fast prototyping and consumer testing.

STEP 6 AND BEYOND: Innovate
Be creative, rock the world and drop us a note when you become enormously successful!

------
If you are curious for more, check out our presentation about unlocking cool:
Stats for How to Use Trend Hunter Trending: Older & Buzzing
Traction: 9,475 clicks in 396 w
Interest: 4 minutes
Concept: How To Use Trend Hunter
Related: 81 examples / 62 photos
Segment: Neutral, 12-55
Comparison Set: 30 similar articles, including: eponymous portraiture projects, glamorous motel editorials, and windowless wall abodes.