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Understanding Trends
A trend is defined as “a general direction in which something is developing or changing”.
Discerning trends starts with observing the world around us. Many events follow predictable patterns from the past. Then we begin to notice small changes that are going on, where events happen in a slightly different direction. These are like tiny sprouts or tendrils of change, at first barely noticeable.
When we start to notice similarities in the changes we are observing, when they begin to “clump together” and the new pattern of changes becomes more visible, we begin to discern a trend.
The following are some examples that I discerned of clusters of observations that led me to identifying trends, and then how some of these trends clustered together to create mega-trends or driving forces. These examples come from a few years ago, but are still alive as trends. You may like to add more observations, or fine-tune the trends.
Example 1. Observations / Clues
“America’s Funniest Home Videos” – mass entertainment from individual creativity
Music downloading proliferates
You Tube – individuals are uploading videos
Increasing Indie music – music not sponsored by a “label”, but shared widely
Social Networking sites – “viral networking”
Television commercials looking for unique music that isn’t restricted by strict copyrighting
leading to
Individual initiative and creativity finding its own market
Example: Feist
Example 2. Observations / Clues
Online comments on Facebook and other media sites
leading to
TREND: Habits of Electronic Knowledge Sharing

Example 3. Observations / Clues
Internet Cafés
Cellphones in Uganda and in places with no landlines
Cheaper Technology
leading to
TREND: People Electronically Connected – Geographical Boundaries Irrelevant

These three trends cluster, leading to a
Individuals Sharing Creativity with the World — No Intermediaries Controlling


Spam                            TREND: Decreasing Trust of Internet

Identity theft

China’s control               TREND: Increasing Government Controls

of media
US paranoia
after 9-11

Gas price rise                                                               TREND: Staying Local

Global awareness  of global warming
Local food movement
These three trends cluster, leading to a
Strengthening Local Communities

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