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 sociologist Mads Arlien-Søborg.

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?
It happened more or less by chance. I initially applied for a position as a journalist at DTB, but instead was offered a position as a trend consultant. Shortly afterwards, I was offered a job at pej gruppen as a trend sociologist. During the years at pej gruppen, I got my real ‘qualification’ as a trend sociologist.

Why is it important to forecast trends?
For companies and individuals there is a natural desire to look into the future, which is partly governed by a curious nature. Working on the ‘cutting edge’ of time is exciting. As a trend sociologist, you don’t go the same way that everyone else does – you must explore the paths that others don’t take.

How do you define the concept of a trend?
In my typology, I distinguish between microtrends and macrotrends. Microtrends are of short duration (up to 3-5 years), while macrotrends are more long-lasting (typically 5-10 years). Microtrends are relatively specific, readable phenomena within, for example, fashion or design. Macrotrends take their starting point in larger currents, such as
economic or social development.

Which types of trends interest you the most?
Over the years, I have moved towards working with long-term trends – macrotrends. The reason is probably my academic background. I am trained to analyse and disseminate social and cultural currents. I started to analyse shorter trends, but have found a greater academic and intellectual challenge by working with macrotrends.

How and where do you discover trends?
My sources range widely. I travel a lot, which is an excellent way to obtain new knowledge. Books and articles are also essential sources with regard to keeping up-to-date – especially when working with macro trends. The Internet is, of course, a vital source. However, it takes a very long time to find trusted sources on the Internet, and the
sources that provide relevant substance. The amount of information on the Internet is both a strength and weakness. 99 percent of all information is irrelevant. As an experienced trend sociologist, over the years you build a network of people with whom you share experiences. This network is also an important source.

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.