Organisations spend billions of dollars trying to identify trends. But what are 'trends' and what do they tell us?
In business as in politics, much forecasting these days involves the identification of ‘global trends’ - powerful currents that seem destined to re-shape society and behaviour at both collective and personal levels.
Strategists in private and public sectors need to unearth and respond to trends since failure to do so could prove very expensive. That is one of the reasons that intelligence agencies, among others, devote such attention to identifying them and trying to understand what they mean. Yet the exercise, though often stimulating, is fraught with difficulty. It requires an intellectual agility and openness to ideas that are easier to define than deliver.
Drawing on the work of Oxford Analytica’s Advisory practice and other experts, this panel discussion will address the challenges of ‘trend-spotting’ and seek out best practice in this most important branch of ‘future proofing’.
- What is a ‘trend’? How long must it deemed to be at work and how transformative must it be to qualify for such exalted status?
- In a ‘noisy’ communication-rich world where fads flourish and misinformation abounds, how can we identify the genuinely transformative forces that will structure our lives in 5, 10 and 20 years’ time?
- On the basis of the above, what key trends are likely to reshape our lives during the next decade?
Professor of Globalisation and DevelopmentUniversity of Oxford
Senior AdviserSwedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Managing Director of Oxford Investment Opportunity NetworkOxford Economics
Former Deputy Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, USAFormer CIA Senior Intelligence Service