What’s Trending? Sources to watch for intriguing ideas

This time of year — typically filled with summaries, reviews, and looks into the rear view mirror of months just passed — can also be an excellent trigger for forecasts and trends. Of course, everything changes quickly. If we’re smart, we constantly look ahead and seek out sources for new information and intriguing ideas.

Here are three trend sources to check out in 2012 and beyond:

  • Drew McLellan recommends JWT’s annual year-end forecast. Drew’s recent blog post, “2012 Trends Worth Watching,” points out that the folks at JWT were right on the money in both 2010 and 2011. Drew’s post includes the executive summary of JWT’s Slideshare presentation for 2012 and a Q&A with Ann Mack, JWT’s Director of Trendspotting.
  • If you’re not subscribed to FastCompany, whether in hard-copy magazine form or its online/e-letter version, you’re missing an excellent source for ideas and trends on a wealth of topics related, however peripherally, to the business realities of today and tomorrow. FastCompany spreads its nets wide, capturing nascent trends in everything from the impact of good design on customer experience to the effects of sustainability thinking on the business bottom line. Looking back can also be a look ahead, as demonstrated in a recent blog post from FC’s Co.Design component — “5 Lessons From The Best Interaction Designs of 2011” — where lots of video clips help remind: 1) Don’t look for breakthroughs; 2) Embrace the mundane; 3) Don’t buy into the hype; 4) Look past the screen; and 5) Video is the only shortcut.
  • In our hyper-connected world, trends are global as much as local. Or, at least, transplanting an idea from one part of the planet to other locations seems relatively easy, although it often takes on quirks and characteristics of the new natives. Trendwatching.com, the self-proclaimed “independent and opinionated” future-focused folks based in London, are on top of (or trumpeting) the next new things, some with invented monikers they hope will turn into social catch-phrases. And they do it all year long. The monthly Trend Briefings e-letter is yours in exchange for your e-mail address; journalists, Fortune 500 companies, and multinationals often subscribe to the more in-depth and frequent postings and analyses. Just a few of Trendwatching’s Crucial Consumer Trends for 2012 include: 1) Red Carpet; 2) DIY Health; 3) Cash-Less; 4) Bottom of the Urban Pyramid; 5) Screen Culture; 6) Recommerce; 7) More-Ism.

So… Are you paying attention? What trends are you monitoring? How you do use trends when communicating about your products and services?

Where do you get your trend and forecast information? How do you use trends to generate interesting ideas, messages, activities, and products for your business?

©2011 Jill J. Jensen / Clarity from Chaos

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