How To Trendspot Like A Pro

by Lisa Bodell

Organizations with one eye trained on the future have a clear advantage over those distracted by the daily grind. So how do you actually formalize trendspotting or futuring in your organization? By applying the proven tactics of forward-thinking brands like PepsiCo, Siemens, and BMW to your own business.

1. S.T.E.E.P. into the future
Twice a year, German conglomerate Siemens publishes a print and digital edition of Pictures of the Future, a magazine that highlights technologies that will shape our lives in the next 10 to 20 years. Siemens uses these findings to showcase its vision of the world, as well as inform its innovation decisions.

In lieu of a glossy magazine, channel Siemens’ forward-thinking approach through an exercise called S.T.E.E.P. Task your product team with identifying the main Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, and Political (S.T.E.E.P.) forces that will likely impact your industry and organization. Distribute the S.T.E.E.P. list internally and use it to generate forward-thinking ideas from the company at large.

2. Go micro
At Campbell’s Soup Company, the Culinary TrendScape team provides insights for the company’s product-development teams. It gathers and analyzes micro-trends observed through vendor partners, magazines, cookbooks, blogs, specialty food shops and groceries, fine-dining restaurants, quick-service operations, as well as cultural influences across the globe. Flavor and texture predictions are compiled into an annual report and used to determine new offerings.

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