Note: This article is updated at Where to Look for Trends and Insights.
“The best is yet to come.”
It can be tough creating the future among the chaos.
The key is to get a good handle on the real and durable trends that lie beneath the change and churn that’s all around you.
But how do you get a good handle on the key disruptions, the key trends, and the macro-level patterns that matter?
Draw from multiple sources that help you see the big picture in a simple way.
To get started, I’m going to share the key sources for trends and insights that I draw from (beyond my own experience and what I learn from working with customers and colleagues from around the world).
Here are the key sources for trends and insights that I draw from:
- Age of Context (Book), by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. Age of Context provides a walkthrough of 5 technological forces shaping our world: 1) mobile devices, 2) social media, 3) big data, 4) sensors, 5) location-based services.
- Cognizant – A global leader in business and technology services, helping clients bring the future of work to life — today.
- DaVini Institute – The DaVinci Institute is a non-profit futurist think tank. But unlike traditional research-based consulting organizations, the DaVinci Institute operates as a working laboratory for the future human experience A community of entrepreneurs and visionary thinkers intent on discovering the (future) opportunities created when cutting edge technology meets the rapidly changing human world.
- Faith Popcorn – The “Trend Oracle.” Faith is a key strategist for BrainReserve and trusted advisor to the CEOs of The Fortune 500. She’s identified movements such as, “Cocooning,” “AtmosFear,” “Anchoring,” “99 Lives,” “Icon Toppling” and “Vigilante Consumer.”
- Fjord – Fjord produces an annual report to help guide you through challenges, experiences, and opportunities you, your organization, employees, customers, and stakeholders will likely face. Check out the Fjord Trends 2017 report on SlideShare.
- Foresight Factory (Formerly called Future Foundation) - Future focused, applied, global consumer insight. Universal trends that shape tastes and determine demand the world over; sector trends that are critical to success in specific industries; custom reports produced in partnership with clients and focus reports on key markets, regions and topics.
- Forrester – Research to help you make better decisions in a world where technology is radically changing your customer.
- Gartner – The the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company.
- Global Goals - In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
- IBM Executive Exchange – An issues-based portal providing news, thought leadership, case studies, solutions, and social media exchange for C-level executives.
- Jim Carroll – A world-leading futurist, trends, and innovation expert, with a track record for strategic insight. He is author of the book The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast, and he shares major trends, as well as trends by industry, on his site.
- Motley Fool – Motley Fool – To educate, amuse, and enrich.
- No Ordinary Disruption (Book) – This is a deep dive into the future, backed with data, stories, and insight. It highlights four forces colliding and transforming the global economy: 1) the rise of emerging markets, 2) the accelerating impact of technology on the natural forces of market competition, 3) an aging world population, 4) accelerating flows of trade, capital, people, and data.
- O’Reilly Ideas – Insight, analysis, and research about emerging technologies.
- Richard Watson – A futurist author, speaker and scenario planner, and the chart maker behind The Table of Trends and Technologies for the World in 2020 (PDF). Watson is author of the What’s Next Top Trends Blog. Watson is the author of 4 books: Future Files, Future Minds, Futurevision, and The Future: 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know.
- Sandy Carter — Sandy Carter is IBM Vice President of Social Business and Collaboration, and author of The New Language of Marketing 2.0, The New Language of Business, and Get Bold: Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business. She’s not just fun to read or watch – she has some of the best insight on social innovation.
- The Industries of the Future (Book), by Alec Ross. Alec Ross explains what’s next for the world: the advances and stumbling blocks that will emerge in the next ten years, and how we can navigate them.
- The Second Machine Age, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity amid exponential technological change. These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.
- ThoughtWorks Technology Radar - Thoughts from the ThoughtWorks team on the technology and trends that are shaping the future.
- Trend Hunter – Each day, Trend Hunter features a daily dose of micro-trends, viral news and pop culture. The most popular micro-trends are featured on Trend Hunter TV and later grouped into clusters of inspiration in our Trend Reports, a series of tools for professional innovators and entrepreneurs.
- Trends and Technologies for the World in 2020 (PDF) – Table of trends and technologies shaping the world in 2020.
- Trendwatching.com – Trendwatching.com helps forward-thinking business professionals in 180+ countries understand the new consumer and subsequently uncover compelling, profitable innovation opportunities.
While it might look like a short-list, it’s actually pretty deep.
It’s like a Russian nesting doll in that each source might lead you to more sources or might be the trunk of a tree that has multiple branches.
These sources of trends and insights have served me well and continue to serve me as I look to the future and try to figure out what’s going on.
But more importantly, they all inspire me in some way to create the future, rather than wait for it to just happen.
I’m a big fan of making things happen … you play the world, or the world plays you.