Trend or Fad? Predicting Trends Before They Happen

MacPro_TypingDeathtoStock_Medium6Whether campuses are public or private, two-year or four-year, residential or commuter, higher education is constantly changing. Technology consistently changes at speeds faster then institutions can keep up with. As students arrive on campus they are equipped year after year with the latest tablet, smartphone, smartwatch, laptop, or insert trending tech item here. We want to arm you with the tools to predict trends as they start to form.

Let’s start out with what is a trend, exactly?

Being able to classify something as a trend means you were able to connect the dots in the present to what’ coming in the near future. All trends share the following universal features:

  • A trend is driven by basic human needs, needs that are catalyzed by new technology
  • A trend is short lived but persistent
  • A trend evolves just as quickly as it emerges
  • A trend can materialize as a series of unconnectable dots beginning with fringe culture and transitioning to mainstream culture

Trends are birthed from those who see reality in a slightly different way, they are constantly looking at how to adapt, modify, or create an idea or product. We typically see fluctuations in society and technology as the primary connector of the following sources of change:

  1. Wealth Distribution
  2. Education
  3. Government
  4. Politics
  5. Public Health
  6. Demography
  7. Economy
  8. Environment
  9. Journalist
  10. Media (individual and collective)

If you want to forecast the future of anything, you need to plot out the intersecting sources of change. Looking deeply at the magnitude and direction of their paths and how they may intersect. These features help distinguish a trend from a fad.

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