The purpose of a Trend Exploration framework is to synthesize trends that relate to your initiative, and analyze the resulting implications and opportunities. For marketers, an initiative might be a product, service, or business line. This type of framework is often used by marketers to explore how changes in the marketplace might impact future strategic plans. The Trend Exploration framework is typically completed as a group in a workshop format, where participants are required to come prepared with research on current and relevant trends. Completing this framework as a team can help you to create a shared understanding of the impact of key trends, and to collaboratively explore emerging opportunities together.
What are the trends that we need to respond to?
- Identify aspects of your initiative that you suspect need to change the most. For marketers, this might be your product benefits, your service model, or your marketing communications. Capture up to 5 aspects.
- For each aspect, research the latest trends. Capture these trends in a way that clearly describes the trend and the underlying cause. The connection between the trend and the initiative should be apparent.
- Start filling in the framework by describing the current state for each aspect in the From column. Once completed, this should provide you with a snapshot of your existing context that needs to change.
- Based on the trend research, explore how the current state might be reframed in a new way. For example, an emerging customer trend might lead to a potential new product line. Capture in the To column.
- Review the completed framework, ideally with your team, to identify and prioritize new opportunities together. Identify any additional research required to take these opportunities further.
- Analyze how different trends may be related and have similar causes, to identify new patterns.
- Revisit and update your framework over time to reflect the latest trends in your marketplace.
- This framework is most useful as an input to ‘big picture’ marketing planning.
Kumar, V. 101 Design Methods – A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization. Wiley, 2013.