Strategic Intelligence
7 min read

A Playbook for Strategy Teams to Excel in Trend Research

Times are changing, and so is the intensity of the pressure we feel to find the next big thing for our company to survive. But is that the right thing to do?

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June 6, 2024
Strategic Intelligence
7 min read

This can easily be figured out with proper trend research. It shows that it is no longer just about spotting the next big thing. Rather about strategically navigating the future.

We know that your strategy team is ready to excel in trend research. And this playbook will be your guide. Let's dive into four key tips, with three bonus insights, to sharpen your strategic foresight and keep your organisation at the forefront of innovation.

1. Embrace data-driven decision making

Data is the new oil, and in trend research, it’s your most valuable asset. Instead of relying on gut feelings or anecdotal evidence, leaning on the power of data analytics to identify emerging trends is one of the first smart strategic decisions you will take.

By utilising AI-powered platforms like Trendtracker, you can analyse vast amounts of data to uncover patterns and insights that are invisible to the naked eye.

This approach not only improves accuracy but also provides a robust foundation for strategic decisions. We want to show you exactly what we mean. Book a free demo with us today to see how data-driven intelligence can transform your strategy.

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2. Foster a culture of curiosity

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it sure does fuel innovation. Being curious is essential for discovering the next big thing.

Interruptive, out-of-the-box ideas don't just appear out of thin air. Your team needs to be encouraged to question the status quo and explore new horizons. This involves staying updated with industry news, attending webinars, and engaging in continuous learning.

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When your team is curious, they’re more likely to spot nascent trends before they become mainstream. Curiosity also drives cross-functional collaboration, allowing diverse perspectives to connect and generate groundbreaking ideas.

Cultivating this mindset can be your secret weapon in trend research.

3. Utilise strategic intelligence platforms

Technology is your ally in trend research. Platforms like Trendtracker can streamline the process by providing real-time insights and predictive analytics. Such platforms not only save time but also enhance the accuracy of your trend forecasts.

By integrating a strategic intelligence platform into your workflow, you can monitor industry dynamics, track the newest startups in your industry, and anticipate market shifts.

Imagine having a crystal ball that offers a glimpse into the future—sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Let us show you how you can use this to your advantage with a free Trendtracker demo.

But let's first go through the steps you will have to take to do proper trend research.

How to do trend research with Trendtracker?

Getting started with trend research can be daunting. Especially when you don't know where and how to start. But Trendtracker simplifies the process. Follow these steps to conduct effective trend research with ease.

Step 1: Choose a business context

Figure out the business context you want to base your research on. With Trendtracker, after selecting the business context for your trend board, you can specify even more by defining the industry and geographical region you want to analyse.

Industries: Select one or multiple industries relevant to your business or research scope. A general context covering all industries monitored by Trendtracker is automatically included.

💡 Good to know: The newsfeed and analysis will be determined by the industry you choose for your trend board, showing you specifically what you ask for.

Geographies: Select one or more geographical regions for local insights. A global context is also included by default.

Step 2: Manual or AI-assisted? Your pick

So, you have an idea of what you want to research, but you're unsure which trends to add to your trend board. Or perhaps, out of curiosity, you want to explore the trends related to your chosen business context. At this step, you can choose between manual or AI-assisted creation modes to build your trend board.

  1. Manual mode allows full customisation, enabling you to build your trend board from scratch, selecting and clustering trends as you see fit.
  2. While AI-assisted mode automatically selects and groups trends based on a prompt and desired number of trends.

Step 3: Personalise your trend board

Now that the heavy lifting is behind you, this step ensures your organisation is on point. Give your trend board a unique identity to make it easily recognisable. If you chose AI assistance in the previous step, this should already be done for you. However, you always have the option to customise it further.

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This customisation helps in quickly identifying and differentiating your trend board.

Step 4: Add trends to your board

If you chose to manually put together your trend board, you can now populate it by adding trends from Trendtracker’s extensive database. Even if you opted for AI assistance, you can always add more trends by doing the following as shown in the video above.

Step 5: Group trends into clusters

To better navigate and compare all the trends, you can organise them into clusters at this step. Even if you used AI assistance, you can always adjust the clusters as needed.

After completing all these steps, you can start exploring the trends. You can always edit and update your trend board to keep it dynamic and relevant. For more detailed guidance, reach out to our experts.

How does a Trendtracker trend board help with trend research?

Having a personalised trend board is just the beginning of your trend research. You might be wondering how this powerful asset can enhance your strategy team's work. Here’s how it helps:

Clear trend display

Trend boards provide a visual representation of key trends, making complex data easier to understand at a glance. By aggregating data into a visually appealing format, teams can quickly identify and interpret trends and patterns without getting lost in the details. This crystal ball is not filled with magic but with essential data.

Unified data hub

All relevant trend data is consolidated in one place, simplifying access and reducing the time spent searching across multiple sources. Imagine having a super-organised library where every book you need is right at your fingertips – that’s what a trend board offers.

You’ll find a personalised newsfeed (with summaries to keep you quickly informed), a trend radar, and much more, all in one place.

Informed decision-making

Clear, data-driven insights from trend boards enhance the quality of strategic decisions. By relying on well-presented data, strategy teams can make informed choices, reducing risks and identifying new opportunities with confidence.

Identifying emerging opportunities

Spotting potential growth areas early is key to staying ahead of the competition. The graphs shown in trend boards highlight emerging trends and opportunities, allowing your team to proactively develop plans to capitalise on new market dynamics. Think of it as having a treasure map, leading you to the next big thing.

Strategic forecasting

Predicting future industry trends provides a foundation for long-term strategic planning and risk management. Trend boards help teams forecast these trends, giving them the foresight needed to navigate future challenges successfully.

Efficiency and productivity

Finally, your trend board(s) will save you time and resources. By automating trend tracking and data visualisation, they reduce the manual effort required for trend research.

This means you and your team can focus more on strategic analysis and implementation, much like how self-driving cars let you enjoy the ride without constantly watching the road.

How Trendtracker will optimise your workflow

Already convinced why Trendtracker is the ideal platform for your trend research? Great. Let’s imagine the following scenario.

Your strategy team at a tech company wants to explore new market opportunities in the AI sector. You set up a trend board focusing on AI trends, including technological advancements, market growth, and the competitive landscape.

The board aggregates data from sources like industry reports, news articles, patents, and market analyses. Through graphs and charts, the board makes complex data easy to digest.

This helps you identify key trends such as increased investment in AI startups, advancements in machine learning algorithms, and growing adoption of AI in healthcare. Based on these insights, you invest in developing AI-driven healthcare solutions, anticipating significant market growth.

But it doesn’t stop there. The trend board continues to monitor AI trends, allowing you to adjust your strategy as new data emerges.

So, what happened? Your strategy team improved their research capabilities, resulting in accurate, data-driven decision-making and strategic planning. Exactly what you needed.

To enhance your trend research even more, we advise the following:

Bonus tip 1: Engage with external experts

No team is an island. Engaging with external experts and thought leaders can provide fresh perspectives and validate your findings. Attend industry conferences, participate in think tanks, and establish partnerships with academic institutions. External experts can challenge your assumptions and introduce you to innovative methodologies.

This collaborative approach enriches your trend research and helps you stay ahead of the curve. Remember, the best insights often come from the most unexpected sources.

Bonus tip 2: Build a trend research framework

Having a structured framework for trend research ensures consistency and comprehensiveness. Define clear steps for identifying, analysing, and implementing trends. This might include setting up a dedicated trend research team, establishing regular reporting protocols, and creating a repository of trend data.

A well-defined framework not only streamlines the research process but also makes it easier to communicate findings across the organisation. Structure breeds clarity, and clarity drives action.

Bonus tip 3: Communicate insights effectively

The value of trend research lies in its application. To ensure your insights drive strategic decisions, communicate them effectively. Use storytelling techniques to make your data compelling, and tailor your messages to different stakeholders. Visual aids like infographics and dashboards can make complex data more digestible. Effective communication bridges the gap between insight and action, turning your research into tangible business outcomes.


Trend research isn't just about keeping up with change; it's about leading it. It’s a journey towards future-proofing your organisation. This can be achieved in various ways, primarily by embracing data-driven decision-making, fostering curiosity, leveraging technology, and engaging with experts.

These steps will empower your strategy team to navigate the future with confidence.

By building a robust framework and mastering the art of communication, you will not only stay ahead but also solidify your position as an industry leader. The future is brimming with possibilities! Are you ready to take the lead?

Don't wait to transform your approach. Let us show you how our platform can revolutionise your trend research. Your future success starts now.

Strategic Intelligence