Class Dismissed! Our end-of-term report from Hogeschool van Amsterdam

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At the end of March, TrendWatching took off it’s teacher’s hat at the end of a month-long project with Hogeschool van Amsterdam where, for the second year running, we led the students on a journey to trend-driven innovation.

Drawing methodology from our brand new book, Trend-Driven Innovation, and experience on how best to keep students' all-too-easily-lost attention, the four weeks were a mix of lectures, practical how-to sessions and project-based work.

Working with 8 groups enrolled on the Minor Global Trend Watching course, the students were already well versed in the basics of trends – both macro and micro. But what better way to learn than from a company using this knowledge on a daily basis – and I quickly saw that by sharing how it works in practice, rather than just theory, students saw the potential profit of everything they’re learning.

Seeing the students all the way through our trend research process, from spotting innovations to identifying trends, the students finished the project by unpacking and applying a trend using the Consumer Trend Canvas. With the luxury of an imaginary brand budget that knew no boundaries (and no senior management to get their idea past ;), the students set about creating hypothetical innovation for local brands including KPN and ING Bank.

Inspired by the INSIDER TRADING trend, one group took G-Star Raw as a ‘client’ and created a proposal for an internal mentorship program for new and old employees. And the winning team applied VIRTUAL ACTUALIZATION to Philips to create a VR headset to give patients a walk-through before any upcoming hospital visits, to calm their nerves and help overcome any fear they have.

Taking students through the full TrendWatching methodology, it was as much a learning process for me as it was the students. From my experience of presenting to both industry professionals and students, speaking to students about our trend methodology is where it (and me) are put to the test.

Whether it’s because they are through and curious or just need something to pull them through their hangover, the casual questions that students raise always challenge and push me. I’m not saying industry professionals don’t prod and probe methodologies (or suffer from the same pre-presentation hangovers :), but a level of authority is given. Students in a classroom setting, on the other hand, adopt a no-holds-barred approach.

And, for a company like TrendWatching - who pride ourselves on being open with our theories and never claim to be ‘correct’ - talking back to the teacher is encouraged and relished. It's a match made in heaven! It helps us test new ideas, polish our presenting skills and, most importantly, help educate the next group of future marketers, trend watchers and industry professionals.

TrendWatching work with numerous universities from across the globe to provide materials for students, guest lectures and facilitate longer project. Email Victoria (victoria@trendwatching.com) to see how we could work with you.

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