The pace of technological change has never been quicker. According to predictions, we’ll see more technological advancement in the coming decade than in the previous century combined.
Even the most experienced company owners may find it difficult to keep up with the rapid speed of change. 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?
The good news is that if you know where to go, keeping up with the latest technological developments is fairly simple. You can keep on top of industry trends and use those here to stay with the appropriate combination of tools, foresight, and dedication.
Trends come and go in a flash
One thing they all have in common is that they’re all three-dimensional. Ultimately, they’re all passing trends; those transient phenomena pop up out of nowhere, have a brief but stunning rise, and then go away again.
Influencer hype and media frenzy are two of the most common ways they earn credibility. Then, after a brief rise to fame, the craze quickly fades away as people discover that Segways aren’t a good replacement for walking.
Trends define our futures
A trend, on the other hand, has a longer life lifetime. They originate as a reaction to human needs and develop and strengthen through time. It is not uncommon for them to cover a wide range of technology rather than simply one product or company.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has advanced to the point that it can address issues in various sectors, from self-driving vehicles to natural language processing. However, there is still a long way to go before it achieves its full potential. The AI movement will continue to fuel significant innovation and have long-lasting effects as more and more companies discover ways to incorporate AI into their products and services.
Change is what drives trends
The market changes and develops according to trends. According to the Future Today Institute, organizations should keep an eye out for 11 potential sources of disruption in their predictions. These are the major determinants of the world we live in.
Technology serves as the key link between these movers and shakers of change. Technology may help your organization stay ahead of the next wave of disruption by addressing a genuine issue brought about by change or uncertainty.
When it comes to education, COVID-19 was a game-changer, causing the worst worldwide education upheaval in history. In contrast to many public schools, online charter schools expanded their virtual services to provide free education to students. While face-to-face learning will continue to play a role in education, this shows how quickly outmoded business models may fall, and other, more inventive ones can take their place.
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
- New opportunities
- Being ready
- Staying relevant
- 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 strategic initiatives to link it to the present.
Questions to help you connect trends to your company.
Identifying market trends is just the first step in understanding how they apply to your company. In order to determine whether or not a trend is worth following, ask yourself these ten questions.
- What is the effect of this development on our industry?
- Who are the key influencers behind this shift in fashion?
- How are firms in related industries responding to this trend?
- Where does this tendency lead us to new partners or collaborators?
- What are competitors doing to take advantage of this?
- How will this trend affect our present or future consumer base?
- What impact will this trend have on our clients’ desires, requirements, and expectations?
- Are we going to face new competitors as a result of this trend?
- Is this a trend that we’d want to be part of?
- What new perspectives does this structure provide for the way we approach the topic of innovation?
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.