How different will watching trends be in 2030? The answer, of course, lies with the Class of 2016 ;)

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Victoria Foster, the head of TrendWatching's insight network, took up the position of Guest Lecturer of the Year at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, bringing #TrendDrivenInnovation to their International Lifestyle Studies (ILS) program. The task for her students? Predicting what watching trends would be like in the future. Simple, right?

Working for a firm called ‘TrendWatching’ often prompts questions like, “do you know what I'll be wearing in Spring 2017?”, or “do you predict the future?” (unfortunately, the answer is the same for both — I wish!). So when I get the chance meet and partner with other ‘trend watchers’— people who specialise in watching and analyzing consumer trends — it's an experience that always feels like a gift.

So, as you can imagine, being invited to become Guest Lecturer of the Year at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands for their International Lifestyle Studies (ILS) program was an inspiring, exciting opportunity. So much of their focus is already on consumer trend watching, allowing me to meet of a number of like-minded people that all bonded over a shared passion.

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The guest lecture program began in December 2015 with an introduction to our methodology, Trend-Driven Innovation. For us, being a trend watcher begins with a mind-set — a way of looking at the world with fresh eyes and endless curiosity — and a way of spotting trends that starts with businesses, rather than consumers. So, for students who are still learning how and where to spot trends (and why they can be so valuable), hearing this methodology — and, crucially, how we also put this trend theory into practice every day for our clients — is an invaluable lesson in real-world trend watching.

Through this session, the students’ understanding and interest in our methodology took hold - and even resulted in many of them joining tw:in, TrendWatching’s insight network on the heels of our time together.

With this way of looking at innovations, trends and the world at large in mind, the students were then set a challenge to develop a concept for how trends will be communicated in 2030.

Tackling the future of communications and the trend industry is obviously no easy feat. The students were pushed to think even further beyond their comfort zones with a concept development and prototype workshop led by designer and futurist Hiek Pulles, with sessions including a dismantling today’s technology — from a vacuum cleaner to a battery pack — to encourage them to draw on past trends to help envision 14 years into the future.

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Over the next few weeks they conceptualized their ideas, culminating in a final pitch-style presentation in June 2016. While selecting an ultimate winner was far from easy given the research, insights, passion and maturity of the thinking by each of the teams, one in particular stood out.

Hobie Gorissen's non-tech vision went against the grain of technological ideas and embraced the basic human need for connection— something we believe will still be relevant in 2030 and beyond.

His vision? To present trends, to clients and other Trend-Driven Innovators, in a technology-free zone, secured within a signal-blocking building, so that connections can only be made between attendees and the trend analysts for exclusivity and personalized focus. Trend-driven and innovative, indeed, and perhaps something to consider for our trend events in 2030!

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Victoria Foster is the Head of TrendWatching’s Insight Network, as well as working with numerous universities from across the globe to provide materials for students, guest lectures and facilitate longer project. Think a similar course could work for you? Get in touch at victoria@trendwatching.com.  

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