Translating trends into design dreams: A view from the other side

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As a follow-up to our recent post from Frankfurt, 'Translating trends into design dreams', we managed to catch up with course tutor (and Star Spotter) Daniela Querqui to give us her thoughts on using and applying the Trend-Driven Innovation methodology to design students.

Daniela Querqui 

Why did you first turn to Trend-Driven Innovation to develop this course?

My key focus was to make sure that my students would learn how to 'translate' trends into innovative ideas: this was the biggest challenge I had experienced during my work in R&D innovation at Procter & Gamble.

Trend-Driven Innovation was the most actionable approach out of all the different methods I reviewed. It brings the students further in their capability to do innovative design work, and thus gives them a competitive edge. In addition, the trend-driven approach of 'unpacking' trends in perspective of underlying consumer needs and drivers of change is, for me very intuitive and trustworthy: it strongly links to my area of professional competence (and passion!) of consumer-centric insights and innovation.    

How did you translate the methodology into your course materials - and did you find this an easy process?  

The methodology is per se very intuitive and powerful. I made sure that students understood first of all the key building blocks of the Consumer Trend Canvas. In addition, we reviewed the 'Expectation Economy' upfront of the practical work session: understanding today's consumers' expectations was fundamental to put the trends in perspective and thus broaden the students’ mindset).

How do you feel this course aligned with the other studies the students are undertaking?  

Of course it is linked: trend translation is fundamental to creativity and innovation, which are essential for design students.    

What difference do you think it made to the students to follow this methodology?

They found it very practical and could immediately experience the benefits.  In addition, being exposed to innovation examples from the most varied industries was not only a source of inspiration but also made the lessons lively and engaging.

What do you think is the biggest pain point for students is?  

Moving from trend knowledge to trend 'translation'.

Is there any specific feedback from student’s regarding the use of Trend-Driven Innovation?

Yes - they were surprised to see how easy it was to get to new ideas by applying the Consumer Trend Canvas!

I also found the trend radar a perfect tool to answer their question: “do you have to follow trends?”as it enables a structured approach to select, prioritize and define how intensively to apply individual trends based on each company's business goals.

What changes would you make to the format or use of this methodology if you ran the course again?
Well.... actually none: it is intuitive, actionable and engaging!

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With experience beyond being university lecturer, Daniela is a consultant who helps companies to design ‘future fit’ product & service Innovation that customers love. She is also a member of TrendWatching's Insight Network, tw:in, a global community of marketing and business-savvy spotters. Think you've got what it takes to become part of the trend revolution? Apply to join today.

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