How does a trend expert work? What is a trend really, and how do they even spot and analyze trends? We have asked Daniel Burrus, who is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation.

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?
In my second year in college I became the first undergraduate in the U.S. to direct a federal research grant and I went on to teach biology and physics for a number of years before starting my first company and I was always interested in the future impact of technology innovations. In 1983, I started Burrus Research and I have dedicated my professional career to this field since that time.

Why is it important to forecast trends?
The ability to see disruptions, problems and new opportunities before they happen provides a very big advantage. I am a strategic advisor to CEOs and executive teams from many of the Fortune 500 companies, helping them to use the predictability of ‘hard trends’ to their advantage. They all place a high value on seeing the future first.

How do you define the concept of a trend?
Thirty years ago, I pioneered my methodology of separating what I call hard trends (trends that will happen) from soft trends (trends that might happen) and that is how I have been able to have a globally recognised track record of accurate predictions over the decades. This methodology has changed how many companies, including IBM, Deloitte, GE and others, plan their future.

Which types of trends interest you the most?
I make both short and long range trend forecasts, and since technology impacts how we live, work and play, I enjoy them all. What I am most interested in is using hard trends to actively shape the future.

How and where do you discover trends?
My research company, Burrus Research, has been researching global innovations in all areas of science and technology and we have used that research to identify the hard trends that will shape the future for over thirty years.

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.