Insights into the future of the insight industry: the 10 business truths that we believe to be self-evident.

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In many ways, TrendWatching is more about a challenger approach than simply being a challenger brand to the traditional trend, consumer insight and market research industries. We strive for our products, services, tools and content to have an impact beyond our reach, as we work to empower the world’s community of consumer-facing professionals to create the meaningful trend-driven innovations that lead to sustainable growth.

In light of this it’s useful to contextualise our approach by setting our beliefs against some of the established norms within the insight industry at large.

Of course, the scale and ambition of our mission (empowering a large and diverse community, on a global scale!) means we are and will continue to be very much a work-in-progress, but here are 10 beliefs that lie at the heart of our challenger approach:

Foresight > Insight. In times of exponential change, insights aren’t enough. Actionable foresight is needed to survive — and thrive. We believe that for customers, today’s experiences define tomorrow’s expectations. As a result, the counterintuitive secret to customer-centricity lies in not in customers themselves, but in watching the businesses that they are lavishing love and attention on right now (more on that in What is Trend-Driven Innovation?).

Questions > Answers. We are not trying to be ‘correct’ (in terms of forecasting whether something specific will or will not happen). What matters more is that we help consumer-facing professionals to unlock sustainable growth. Our watching of today’s expectation-raising innovations should encourage you to ask better questions about your future possibilities.

Dynamic > Static. We focus on ‘the innovation’ as our unit of analysis, and use these innovations to spot and track trends within a structured framework. The dynamic and flexible nature of this approach means it positively thrives in conditions of hyper-competition and accelerating change, rather than breaking down under them as traditional approaches to research and insight do.

Creativity > Certainty. The world is moving faster than ever…so far so clichéd ;) However, the implications of this on how organizations should make decisions aren’t well-understood. In more stable times, taking the time to amass data was sensible, as it helped de-risk decision-making. Now, organizations need to be bold and fast. In an environment of perpetual and relentless change, the time for data collection is after decisions have been taken. Successful data-driven organizations are those that use data tovalidate and optimize decisions, not those who try to find the up-front data that will eliminate all their risk.

‘Glocal’ > Local. Context might be local, but expectations are global. Trends cross industries, markets and demographics faster than ever. Successful organizations get their competitive edge by not just spotting and understanding trends, but by adapting and applying trends. Not to mention that the epic ‘flattening’ of the world means that game-changing innovations increasingly hail from all corners of the globe (and are celebrated by people in every market, too).

Capabilities > Content. We seek to empower our audience. Trend-driven innovation transforms the way organizations approach understanding what their customers will want, and in the process inspires successful and meaningful consumer-facing innovations. Both online and in-person, we are committed to attracting, educating and building the global trend community.

Inclusive > Exclusive. Gurus need not apply. Trends are about helping every consumer-facing professional to become a trend watcher. We believe our content increases in value as it spreads (rather than decreasing, as traditional insights do). This is why we continue to share the detailed methodologies and toolkits we use to spot, track & apply trends with our readers, our trend spotting network and our paying clients.

Collaboration > Consumption. Being ‘in-the-know’ isn’t enough. Value lies in information flows, rather than stocks. This means it’s the community and the platform that are infinitely more powerful than the information itself (which is becoming commoditized). We are focused on ensuring our content reaches those that it is most relevant to, and inspires meaningful collaboration, rather than simply being designed for individual consumption.

Consumers > Clients. A significant point of differentiation — if not our USP — is that our business model (with 1,200+ customers, rather than a handful of large relationship-based clients), means we can focus relentlessly on what consumers will want next. And, we’re able to do this free from any constraints or baggage <cough> client/agency report ‘massaging’ <cough> ;)

Future > Past. Perhaps our deepest belief: we’re optimistic, and believe people are fundamentally good, which is why giving people what they really want will create a better world. We’re not talking here about fleeting, manufactured or fake ‘desires’ that too many organizations have (unfortunately) excelled at creating, but the universal desire for authentic, sustainable and meaningful growth, both individual or collective. Despite the failings of the past, we remain believers in the power of — and the imperative for — business to deliver ‘better’ innovation. ‘Better’ in every sense: for the innovator (professionally and for your soul), better for the customer or end-user, and ultimately better for society and our planet. If not, then we’re really f**ked…


TrendWatching’s content and tools give business professionals in 180+ countries the actionable foresight and inspiration to create successful trend-driven innovations.

Join the 250,000+ people who receive our free monthly Trend Briefings at trendwatching.com, learn more about our Premium Service, join us at our 2016 global events, or get your hands on our end-to-end methodology in our new book, Trend-Driven Innovation.

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