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How does a trend expert work? What is a trend really, and how do they even spot and analyze trends? We have asked the trend spotter and author James Bidwell.
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 became a trend spotter purely by chance. I have been a fan of Springwise for many years and had the good fortune to be able to buy a majority stake from founder Reinier Evers, himself a well-known trend spotter. My feeling is that innovation and the entrepreneurs behind the new business ideas of today are highly relevant to a broad base of global businesses as they grapple with the rapidly changing economic environment. Springwise is fantastically placed
to capitalise on this macro trend and become the global innovation brand. My varied career, experience and contacts will help the team and me as we work to meet this amazing opportunity.
Why is it important to spot trends?
Innovation is the lifeblood of business, and at Springwise our mission
is to become the global brand for innovation. We believe that the most real source of innovation is via real entrepreneurs and their real businesses, and that is our focus. Everything moves very rapidly in today’s world, so the Springwise daily and weekly Innovations Bulletins are more like a live feed than a trend analysis. Spotting these ideas and giving our customers the opportunity to learn, to be inspired and to innovate themselves is a great privilege. All businesses that want to remain profitable and stay ahead of their competition need to be thinking about what is around the corner at all times.
How do you define the concept of a trend?
A trend is the combination of various different innovation data points, which allows one to conclude that there is a critical mass of change afoot. Springwise is a collection and collation of those data points. Our Springwise access database categorises the data by industry, geography and timeline. This means that we can track change and
thus trends in a number of different ways, leading to both conclusions and validation of ideas for our customers.
Which types of trends interest you the most?
I am big on sustainability and looking after the environment. The trend of climate change and man’s destruction of the planet is perhaps the most worrying trend of the last decade or two. However, I do believe that we can find solutions to this macro problem and that technology will play a major role. At Springwise, we have an eco and sustainability category and it is amazing to see the ingenuity and innovation in that space across all industries. Our contribution to the effort is our partnership with one percent for the planet, whereby we donate one percent of our sales each year to environmental causes.
How and where do you discover trends?
Springwise is in the enviable position of having access to over 23,000 Springspotters in 190 countries around the world. This amazing and unique network ensures that we are able to share the latest most innovative start-ups and innovation ideas from real entrepreneurs across the globe before they go mainstream. This real-time service is one of a kind and it is one of the reasons that our customers and partners are so engaged with the Springwise brand. The network is growing with more Springspotters signing up each week and more and more interesting ideas being spotted. On a personal level, I believe that there is no substitution for travel, curiosity and a thirst for all things new – which is what makes my job such 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.