Keeping up with the newest technological advances is difficult when you’re busy operating your company. And how can you tell whether a trend is worthwhile or just a fad?

Signals of impending change

Signals are bits of information that suggest an impending shift that might have a long-term effect.

Easy-to-understand and actionable signals are the best kinds. Companies actively seek emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain as their overall strategy.

However, the earliest hint of a big alteration might be seen in the form of weak signals. In the case of a new social media network, they may be the first murmurs. Although weak signals are more difficult to decipher, they have the potential to have a much bigger impact on the future. A competitive advantage may be gained by concentrating on the early identification of weak signals.

Keep up with the latest trends and get the advantages.

While it’s tempting to stick with what’s worked in the past, embracing new trends as they arise may help you stand out from the competition and stay on top of industry developments. Predicting and preparing for the future is critical to the success of 90 percent of businesses.

Keeping up with the latest trends may help your company in several ways, including:

  • Brand Credibility
  • Forecasting
  • New opportunities
  • Being ready
  • Staying relevant
  • Growth
  • Industry leadership

Trend forecasting in seven steps

So, now that you know why it’s important to keep up with the latest trends, how can you get started? Having a plan in place may help ensure no stone is left unturned.

Using quantitative and qualitative data, the Futures Today Institute has constructed a strategic forecasting funnel to discover weak signals and map their trajectories into technology trends. You can use the seven steps to find new trends or to help you plan strategically.

Structure: Decide on the issues you want to explore, the timeframes you want to use, and the people involved.

Discovering: Keep your ear out for faint signals on the edges of your field of vision. Use a wide range of sources and a wide range of subjects to gather as much information as you can.

Analyzing: Find patterns that were hidden in the last step. Seek for inconsistencies, inflections, hacks, extremes, and rarities.

Clarifying: Inquire about how your observed patterns connect with your industry and its components.

Calculating: Determine the rate and direction of change inside and outside your company.

Planning: Create scenarios to depict future implications and outcomes.

Action: Make a list of your preferred outcomes. Work backward from the intended future to find the strategic initiatives to link it to the present.

Keep in mind that being first isn’t always the greatest option.

Even if being the first to catch on to a trend has its advantages, it isn’t always a sure thing. To encourage customers to try a new product, first movers may have to spend considerably and take risks. On the other hand, later entrants may profit from the knowledge of these informed buyers and prevent their blunders.

Moreover, even if all the evidence point to something being a fad, it may take root in society and become a long-lasting phenomenon.

Many things were deemed fads back then, such as automobiles, computers, and bikes.

As with the next major trend, sometimes it takes longer than anticipated to attain its full potential despite all the indications pointing in that direction. There was a surge of anticipation surrounding virtual reality (VR) in 2016 that many people thought would make technology as commonplace as television sets. Some movements take longer to gain traction than others, even when backed by major brands and a slew of investors.

To succeed, companies must be open to change.

Despite its complexity, staying on top of the latest developments has many advantages than disadvantages. One of the few ways to prepare and adapt to external influences and remain ahead of disruption for many years is to embrace uncertainty and live with it.