How does a trend expert work? What is a trend really, and how do they even spot and analyze trends? We have asked the danish trend spotter and concept developer, Cathrine Gro Frederiksen.

This is a small excerpt from the book ‘Trendsociology v. 2.0’, published by pej gruppen. Buy the book here.

Why and how did you become a trend expert?
I can’t walk more than 20 steps without getting a new idea. This happens automatically as soon as I spot something interesting – a new way to do something, an original thought or movement, or new service or product. I’m good at seeing the potential and the ‘next step’ and both recognizing and outlining the correlations. For a long time, I thought that all these ideas I had would have to be initiated by me. But then I found a channel for me to communicate through: I became a trend spotter and can now use my skills to help others with service, product and business development. It provides value for my clients, I make a living and the ideas become reality. It is a win-win-win.

Why is it important to forecast trends?
It is important for companies to understand trends and how they emerge and evolve. Without understanding them, they may end up chasing the wrong customers at the wrong time or just invest their development money badly. I always advise my clients to use trends to understand the spirit of the time and then develop their own products
based on that. My company is called Alikelihood. For me, the name represents a way of looking at trendspotting, which takes its starting point in the things that happen in the present and, on the basis of the trends, provides an educated guess at what the future might hold.

How do you define the concept of a trend?
I define a trend as an idea which has a stronger tailwind than other quirky ideas. In my world, a trend is something that grows in a group in society – in the beginning, most often in small groups, but later in larger groups. And then trends are divided into different levels, which means that they are relevant in their own way. A megatrend is pertinent to navigate on a strategic level, whereas the microtrends are ideas for product development, communication or for understanding your customers’ whims and habits in the present.

Which types of trends interest you the most?
Currently, my speciality is microtrends, and they are fun to work with because they give me the opportunity to constantly be on the lookout for new trends. They are also interesting because they can immediately be translated into commercial products, services and communication.

Spotting megatrends is almost the opposite. It is a discipline which is mostly about being able to see the tree in the shoots; to be able to connect all the small movements in society and to interconnect and name them at an early stage. They are interesting because you can use them to develop long-term strategies and assess business ideas based on them. I spot trends in lifestyle industries, primarily industries such as food, communication and design. I am acutely aware that all the lifestyle industries are woven together in the way that how and what we eat is linked to how we live and which aesthetics we want to
surround ourselves with. If you have a good understanding of the spirit of the time and megatrends, then you can navigate more easily and outline a strategy and the potentials.

How and where do you discover your trends?
I love to be placed in a new context. One way of doing that is to travel to a new country or to study a new area/industry and spot new trends there. So, I go on a voyage of discovery, taking photos, observing and “throwing spaghetti” as I call it. This means that I share my thoughts and see whether people can relate to them. Preferably the receiver can recognise a trend when you describe it, but they might not have seen the correlation themselves. I am generally very active online, I scan the relevant media, social media and blogs weekly in pursuit of an overview (and I often get lost in this process, which is time-consuming but also exciting). Trendspotting is about being able
to see correlations, distinguish between relevant and irrelevant, see patterns and describe them. And it is demanding, but fun.

Are you interested in getting your hands on the entire book, (it’s 400 pages), it is possible to buy here.

The book consists of three parts:
1. Theory and practical description of what a trend is, how it is spread and what effect it may have.
2. Interview with 17 of the world’s top trend researchers
3. Practical process description (5 phased process) with concrete methods and tools for working with trends.