Last week I addressed a group of CEO’s and entrepreneurs in a key note called “the CEO Agenda”. One of the recommendations I gave them was to always stay abreast of new trends happening in the world as new trends are the waves on which you can build strategies.
One of them questioned me: “How can I do that ? I’m overloaded by work and I’m not a specialist of trend analysis”. He’s right. If you don’t save some time for watching trends, then you implicitly decide to live in the present instead of the future. And today, the present is already the past !
So, here are 5 ideas to pick up about staying on tune.
- Follow trends watching websites
There are a number of these out there on the internet. Trendwatching.com and faithpopcorn.com are famous ones for consumer behaviors, but you can find a number about economics, technology, industry, etc. Choose one or two of them and follow them each week. It’s better than shopping ideas around the internet with no precise goal. I also recommend to log in to TED regularly http://www.ted.com. Book one hour of your time every 2 weeks and follow a TED talk. It’s brilliant.
- Read futurologists
John Naisbitt http://www.naisbitt.com was one of the first futurologists who wrote books about what he called “megatrends”. You need to hunt for this litterature or find reports edited by consulting firms. See examples like http://www.kpmg.com/Global/en/…/future…/future-state-2030-v3.pdf or http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/cpo/213016007
It’s enough to read one book each year or one report every three months about the future. It will give you a sense of the long term. It will help you detect waves on which to build your future strategies.
- Get interested in contemporary art
Contemporary art is a barometer of emerging trends. Postmodernism, a characteristic of today society, started as a broad movement that developed in the late-20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture… (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism). Choose an art that moves you (graphic art or music or else) and look for its newest expressions. Try to spot the most advanced artists, those who appear to be out of norms, and study their output. It will unsconsciously train your mind to avant-garde and make yourself more open to new ideas.
- Visit the most trendy cities
Future happens in some places in the world. Silicon Valley for hightech and entrepreneurship, Boston, USA fo education, Milan, Italy for fashion, Singapore for media and communication industries, London for everything ! You can also travel to Seoul, Tokyo, Paris or Frankfurt. If you don’t have the chance or budget to travel these cities, get into them on line. Look at all new things happening in New York for example ! Be persistent ! Try to become a specialist ! What’s happening there at this moment will happen soon everywhere in the world.
- Watch generations under you
One of the reasons I’m always in line with what’s new is that I’m always with younger people. It’s fabulous when you don’t consider new things as weird but as a subject of interest. When my children were teens, I was interested in their music. When meeting young students, I learn new words, new tools, new behaviors. So, don’t stay in your generation ghetto ! If you’re generation X, meet generation Y. If you’re generation Y, go for Z ! Toots Thielemans, a world famous jazz musician recently died at 90+ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toots_Thielemans). He was quoted to say: “Does it make any sense to always play the same music as 50 years ago ? People are not expecting that from me. My ears are turned on to the future. I’m not living in the past“.
All in all, it’s about curiosity. Trends are emerging everywhere every time in front of us. We live in the theater where the actors of future times are playing. Just have this routine to be always curious about everything new. Forget about your immediate work, people who are usually around you. Don’t work too much on details. And think !
Be inspired !