How to “capture” trends and give them a practical use


Some time ago, rather a long time ago I have to say, I used to write about the meaning of trend analysis and how to apply it in business. However, the fact that it has taken me so long to write about the topic again (for my blog) is not, in any way, a bad sign. Instead, it is due to a heavy workload over recent months related to… the practical application of trend analysis. This means that, in some way, it should further help understand several of the issues related to the last post I wrote.

So let’s move on to the next part.

Take for example one of the largest demographic trends currently being focussed on (and its offshoots and impacts on different sectors): the ageing population. With regards to the analysis of the impact of this trend, I still remember the words of Dr. Bernabé Robles del Olmo who, during an interview I did with him last March (1), pointed out that “medicine’s success has been to produce chronic patients”. Well, long ago this demographic trend has given way to different population groups which, in turn, have an impact (and continue to have on impact) on how to produce, distribute and consume services and products. The importance and impact of the ageing population on the rest of society (especially on Western societies) is already undeniable, starting with those who belong to what is known as the “active” ageing population, and including those who are totally dependent, as well as other groups that are directly or indirectly related to them.Envelliment actiu

Let us take as an example two sectors which, by their nature and importance in relation to the lifestyle and habits of the general public, should provide services and products to the ageing population: the food industry and the health sector.

Finally, let us take a sector that can and must provide the means for the food industry and health sector to successfully offer services to the ageing population: the technology industry.

If you mix it all together, you will get a series of future scenarios that are real opportunities in areas such as prevention, nutrition, health, etc. Even though they are already being worked on, the immense amount of opportunities they offer (given the many future needs of the elderly, active or dependent population) have yet to be “exploited”.

The way in which they produce, communicate, provide and consume these services and products depends directly on a multivariate and comprehensive analysis of the population and those who will interact with them, as well as their habits and lifestyles. Otherwise, once again, we find ourselves with markets that are saturated with solutions and services that few will use or, worse, with good ideas that will not reach those they are aimed at.

And this is just one small example of the impact of a trend on designing services. I invite you to identify more trends (whether demographic or otherwise) and to start thinking about how to “capture” them and give them a practical use. I warn you: there are many trends, and multiple different scenarios. Pick the ones that best adapt to your sector, and analyse how and to what extent they will have an impact on your clients. Does it seem easy? Well, it should be fun!

(1) Interview for the project titled Impacto de Tendencias y escenarios futuros, ámbitos ocupación y profesión médica (The impact of trends and future scenarios, employment and the medical profession, Metges de Catalunya, 2016 )

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