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Watching for Trends

Watching for Trends

​The first students are graduating as certified trendwatchers. With this the profession gains more respect, but there is still a lot unclear about this craft. That goes for the public as well as people who work in the forecasting business themselves. There are as many definitions as there are trendwactchers. The fact that Wikipedia does not return a result on the term, says it all. So to define what trend watching is, we first have to define what a trend is. A trend is an upward or downward shift. In this respect it can be seen as a deviation of what is normal, something that emerges. All trends have the same pattern. First, some frontrunners adopt an idea an innovation, a product or a way of living. That gets copied until the anomaly becomes normal or common place. In that sense, a trend can be seen as the cultural equivalent of a gene. The model below shows this process. The Y-axis shows the level of adoption. The more people imitate something, the more common it becomes and thus changes from a trend to a part of normality (for parts of society or the world at large). The X-axis shows the time it takes for a trend to develop. Both variables ’time’ and ’level of adoption’ can be used to further define a trend.