Establish your ‘virtual research command center’
Stop bitching about information overload and instead celebrate the incredible wealth of trend resources at your fingertips, many of them free or dirt cheap! Surely there’s never been a more exciting time for eager trend watchers to be in business, soaking up the insights, the spottings, the reports, the live dispatches from the global consumer arena 😉
Here’s our checklist of where to spot changes in consumer behaviour, new trendsetting products or just super-smart thinking on where our societies are headed at large.
Papers, websites, mags, blogs, books, news, newsletters1
TV, movies, radio
Seminars, fairs, trade shows
Customers, clients, colleagues, friends, family
Eavesdropping, chat rooms, conversations
In-house Trend Group
Dedicated spotters network
Other trend firms, thinkers (philosophers, architects, sociologists, management gurus)
Advertising at large
Street life, travel3
Friends, colleagues, family
Ready made trend reports
Consultants, researchers, experts
Shops, museums, hotels, airports
Customized trend tours4
1. In the near future, probably Q2 of 2008, we’ll add a full blown ‘resource center’ to these pages, with titles and links to every magazine and blog we regularly track. For now, some quick thoughts on blogs (which we are most often asked about): to find blogs on any topic, industry or trend, just use blog search engines like Technorati and Google Blog Search. To really start weaving, get Google Reader, Bloglines or any other RSS aggregator and amass feeds from every source you want to track.
2. Other ways to let information come to you are Google Alerts and Technorati Mini. Enter search phrases like ‘consumer trends’ or ‘world’s first’ or a specific trend name. A ready-to-use flow of trend goodness will come your way.
3. As consumers around the world pro-actively post, stream if not lead parts of their lives online, you (and your trend team) can now vicariously live amongst them, at home, at work, out on the streets. From reading minute-by-minute online diaries or watching live webcam feeds, to diving into tens of millions of tagged pictures uploaded by Flickr-fueled members of GENERATION C in Sweden, Singapore, Sri Lanka and dozens of other countries. More on that in our Virtual Anthropology briefing.
4. Here are some facilitators of trend tours: Bespoke Tokyo (Tokyo), Jean Snow (Tokyo), Mirror Mirror (NYC, London, Paris), Cscout (NYC, London, Tokyo, Beijing; video report by CNN on Cscout Tokyo trend tour), Cscout NYC Executive Trend Tour, W.ingResearch (Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong).
One more recommendation: not only will you find dozens of trends in our database, we have also collected more than 200 articles about our trends, as featured in publications like the Guardian and Time Magazine. The articles are a great source for gleaning additional insights and examples found by trend-savvy journalists.