And here is the final chapter in my personal trilogy on the practical application of trend analysis. A few months ago, I explained “how to ‘capture’ trends and give them a practical use”, looking at the example of combining trends in demographics and the health, food and technology sectors to establish future scenarios. So, to continue on with this explanation, in line with the previous two posts (What do we mean when we talk about trend analysis? and How to “capture” trends and give them a practical use), we’ll look at the final results we can extract from this combination.
Continuing with this example, if we analyze the data available we already know that we can see different scenarios in which there are changes in diet, health, the environment and economic and social growth. Predictions lead us to believe that a good portion of the population will grow exponentially and that most of this population will end up living in large urban areas. There will be changes in diet and how many foods function; with several types of food distribution coexisting, although they will all be affected by the way in which food is generated, processed and distributed. Here concepts like sustainability and transparency come into play, affecting not only food consumption but also traceability and communication.
Obviously, the impact this phenomenon will have in different parts of the world and on different industries will vary widely. We must remember that not all macro trends and trends have the same impact in different areas: context is important and when we say context we mean social, cultural, economic and political factors.
Faced with all of this, however, it is time to think up and implement strategies and actions to establish how we will distribute food in large cities, how we will feed ageing populations, what role technology will play, how we will communicate new products and services to customers. How can we satisfy our customers? How can we satisfy citizens? What will they demand, how and why?
Trend impact analysis, as we’ve seen in this trilogy of posts, can be complex and deals with loads of data of all sorts. Furthermore, it must be enriched with a highly transversal type of analysis, looking at settings that are often very different, which lead us to detect these changes and, moreover, allow us to start asking the right questions to lead us to design and improve strategies, services, products and experiences. All to address the needs of our customers and adapt to what is in store for us.
To cut to the chase: it’s good to see it coming, but it’s even better to have practical solutions, right?