Source: Marketing Society
Pattern recognition: Richard Watson’s map illustrates trends and intersections.
Pattern recognition is one of the key skills in being able to develop foresight, to gain a better view of your changing markets, and therefore an advantage over competitors.
“Trends” emerging patterns of change likely to impact how we live and work.
Megatrends are large, social, economic, political, environmental or technological change that are slow to form, but once in place can influence a wide range of activities, processes and perceptions, possibly for decades. They are the underlying forces that drive trends.
Many of the trends are familiar to us all. Shift in global economic power, with commodity prices driving some emerging markets into recession. Democratic and social change, with more people living longer, more aspiration and fewer children. Rapid urbanisation, in particular through the explosion of lesser-known, medium-size, emerging-market cities like Hyderabad or Shenzen. Climate change and resource scarcity. And, of course, technological breakthroughs.
These mega trends are the more interesting shifts, and in particular the “fringe” behaviours of radical thinkers and early adaptors, which could become the mainstream of future years. Newness typically emerges from the edges. One of the most impactful annual trend presentations comes from Richard Watson, who seeks to map short and long-term trends (from the centre of the diagram outwards). He also focuses on the intersections, points where trends have more disruptive impact – and equally the bigger opportunities for innovation and growth.