As the founder of TrendWatching.com, Reinier Evers is a trend spotting legend. He's also a Trend Hunter reader who considers the site, “Part of [his] daily trend-fix.”

Reinier, a trend watcher at heart, has been fascinated by the web since he first started surfing in 1994. Today, he publishes TrendWatching.com, Springwise.com and SpringSpotters.com.

1. How and when did you become interested in watching trends?

When we sold our previous company, urbanbite.com, I traveled around the world for a year looking for the Next Big Thing. I came across so many Next Big Things and trends and ideas, that I reckoned I could somehow make a business out of this information and distribute it to people who were equally interested, but just didn't have the time. Hence, trendwatching.com (for trends) and springwise.com (for new business ideas) were born. By giving away a lot of our content, the brand grew quickly, which then meant we had an audience of additional paid services as well. Which still works well for us: most of our content is free, but some services are not: our speaking engagements, and our 2007 Trend Report.

2. Why did you launch TrendWatching.com?

See above. We also felt that this space (this was back in 2002) needed some opening up: no one was doing this online (i.e. publishing free online trend content), and very few companies, even though they could, were working with online networks of spotters. So we went for an all-out online push, with a default global outlook, as our reach would also be global. Open up and the whole world starts contributing and visiting.

3. How do you define a trend, and how do you define cool?

Our definition of a trend is a manifestation of something that has unlocked or newly serviced an existing (and hardly ever changing) consumer need, desire, want, or value.

Cool: anything that is different from the main-stream, desirable, intelligent and well-executed

4. What types of trends interest you the most?

Trends that have to do with changes in how status and value for consumers are perceived.

5. How and where do you discover your trends?

Is it just from your trend watching network, or do you personally search around? Our network, our core team, our researchers, the thousands of online sources, and yes, me scanning for the new is also part of the equation!

6. How do you determine if something is worthy of being posted to your sites?

We look at bigger themes, so anything that is likely so spawn lots of new business ideas,
or new business concepts, is of interest. Disruptive trends are even more worthy, something that breaks with the status quo. If a trends holds the promise of disruption, it is often worthy of coverage

7. Why do you feel it is important to watch trends?

It gives you a point of view, it helps you understand why change is happening. So ultimately, control and inspiration

8. What do you think is the best way for a company to infect the blogosphere?

Well, instead of infecting, or abusing, they should contribute: add something of value. For example: start a real time conversation with your customers online (and this could be a blog or a section on your site: don't get caught up in semantics. The blogosphere is about dialogue, about contributing, about real time news and thoughts, about empowering individuals.

9. What is the key to innovation?

Being curious, being inspired, and being obsessed with figuring out what consumer want or may want, where gaps between expectations and reality exist, and then fill that gap

10. Tell me a bit more about your latest Trend Report.

Our 2007 Trend Report is a 300+ slides and notes Powerpoint, crammed with trends and ideas, aimed at marketers who want to have a starting point for innovation in 2007. It's not free (EUR 399 or USD 499) but it's not going to kill you either. It's for those professionals who enjoy our monthly Briefings, but want even more. (2007 Trend Report)

ABOUT RIENIER EVERS

11. What are your favorite three articles that you've written?

That would to be our HYGIENIA, CUSTOMER-MADE and STATUS SKILLS articles

12. What are your biggest hobbies other than trend watching?

I absolutely love to travel

13. Professionally, what do you want to be doing in 10 years?

We will at one point partner with a larger entity to take trendwatching.com to the next level, we also want to build a portfolio of trend-inspired new businesses, as we see way too many interesting new business concepts pass to just write about them ;-)

Thanks Reinier!