NEW: See the full 15 Trends presentation on Slideshare! >>
There has been a single pink folder on my desk since January 15th of this year. That day matters to me for two reasons – first because its my birthday, and second because it’s the day when I start an empty folder with the intention of collecting ideas for my year end trend report. Then throughout the year, I steadily add information that I find about products, services, apps, marketing campaigns, new businesses, and any other idea to it.
Some are scribbled on a memo pad from a hotel room. Others are torn out of magazines or newspapers. There are printouts of pages from the web with handwritten notes and items circled. If it is an idea I think is important, I find a way to create a physical archive of it. Sometimes bookmarking an idea in a browser just isn’t enough.
Then at the end of the year, I look through that folder usually filled with hundreds of small ideas, and start to filter them. I group similar concepts together and think about how they will matter for the new year. My philosophy when looking at trends is pretty simple – I focus on three things:
1. Idea: What is the CORE idea behind products or campaigns that unites them and says something about our culture or business?
2. Acceleration: How quickly is the idea finding its way into multiple businesses and what are REAL examples?
3. Impact: How profoundly could this idea impact that way that business is done in the short term (next year)?
Yesterday for the first time I offered a sneak peek at the first seven of my 15 Trends for 2013 to a room filled with over 200 communicators at the Social Media Outlook 2013 event put on my Potomac Tech Wire and hosted by USA Today (scroll to the bottom of this post to see the trends). In my talk, one of the questions a participant asked is how I develop my trend report and the process I use. For the next 15 days, I will sharing all 15 Trends through a daily blog post – starting tomorrow with a detailed post about my first trend to watch for 2013.
The full report with all 15 trends will come out on December 5th – with a FREE presentation on Slideshare as well as an extended eBook available for the Kindle. You can also see my previous 2012 Trend Report and 2011 Trend Report on Slideshare as well.
Before even beginning, it is useful to understand why so many trend reports that are already out there don’t really offer that much value. To me, it comes down to three big tips I would share that help me when trying to make my own trend reports stand out:
The aim here is to find ideas that describe a new sort of behaviour that is happening today with increasing frequency.
In this phase, my goal is to find individual ideas that have similarities and try to group them into clusters.
Multiple clusters may be related to the same bigger concept – this phase is where I go from over 50 ideas to my final 15.
Part of the fun of trend hunting is naming each concept. My book Likeonomics, for example, was a leading trend from 2011.
For me, a visual presentation is where I can share each trend along with reach examples of visuals that illustrate it.
So there you have it – a visual description of my process for spotting trends. Now that you know how I approached it, here’s a short roundup of the first 7 social media focused trends that I shared during my presentation, along with a short list of the examples that I used for each. These will be included in the full trend report which is coming out on December 5th, and tomorrow’s blog post will be about “Shoptimization” – the first trend in my report.