What are some places to look to stay on top of emerging trends?
As the saying goes, if you can't start trends, then at least keep up with those started by others. Where to keep up with trends depends on your industry or profession. Each industry and profession maintains a number of publications, if not full associations for practitioners. Most of these are known to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)
or are listed in the Gale Encyclopedia of Associations
But maybe more important than accepting what other people consider are important trends, why not look through materials that will allow you to divine some emerging trends based on your expertise? You do have expertise and perspective as a consultant to management in specific areas. It is reasonable to conclude that, presented with certain facts, you could just as easily spot a trend that others, lacking your perspective, would miss. Let others readabout your
vision of what's to come. At a minimum, when you publish a well articulated prediction of the future and justify it with your own reasoning and facts, you will get both support and rejection. However, at least you will have created visibility for yourself (and a new network of people also engaged in the future of the industry or discipline about which you wrote).Tip:
Make a habit of regularly browsing through general magazines, especially at year end, when many publish "top trends," "what's coming next year," or "people in the news" type articles. You are not necessarily looking for items exactly about your profession or industry but rather for those parallel or connected trends that might have an impact. Whether it is Popular Mechanics' Tools and Gadgets for the coming year (ideas about what lifestyle consumers are aiming for) or Harvard Business Review's Breakthrough Ideas for the coming year, keep a list of publications and websites to look through every few months to keep yourself looking beyond the horizon. If you are really ambitious, spend an afternoon some time browsing through market research sites like Plunkett's or data sites like StateMaster
to look for trends in the economy or demographics related to your industry.© 2008 Institute of Management Consultants USA