How Important are MiniTrends?

A recent book review of Minitrends: How Innovators & Entrepreneurs Discover & Profit from Business & Technology Trends over on the World Future Society site, which introduced the “minitrend” as any trend — technical, social, economic, demographic, legal, etc. — that is just beginning to emerge, although not yet acknowledged by the media or the marketplace, states that the early identification of emergent long-term trends poses such enormous marketplace value, it seems not improbable that traffic in minitrends will become a significant online phenomenon during the next two to five years.

As per the authors’ website, Minitrends go hand-in-hand with Megatrends. For example, within the Megatrend of an aging population are the Minitrends of people remaining active in the workforce for longer periods of time and increasing movement of elderly individuals to smaller nursing centers. And while some Minitrends will have little or no relationship to a Megatrend, they will have relevance to wider audiences.

If the minitrend is the leading indicator of an emerging megatrend, then it is probably quite important as it is signalling the state of things to come. If it’s a short-lived trend that’s here-today and gone-tomorrow, then any thought applied to the matter is a waste of time.

So what would a minitrend look like in supply chain? And how would you tell if it’s important? It could be a switch to a new technology platform, a switch to a new energy source, or a switch to a new form of payment. It would be important if the technology started to gain critical mass, if the energy source was cheaper and/or more sustainable, or the payment methodology preferred by your financial institutions.

So how do you detect a minitrend? Good question. According to the authors, you:

  • Follow the Money,
  • Follow the Leaders,
  • Take Note of Demographics,
  • Analyze Frustrations, and/or
  • Search for Convergences.

A good start, but I’m not sure it’s the secret sauce. But I’m not sure what is. Anyone have any ideas?