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30 Ways to Identify and Incorporate the Latest Trends

If you want to be on top of the latest trends, you can. It’s as simple as that. Most people just don’t know how to effectively harness the best new ideas, services and products. That is what this article is about: identifying and incorporating the latest trends.

A trend is simply the general direction in which something is developing or changing. Staying current on the latest trends is vital. Why? If you become stagnant you become more and more irrelevant. As I recently wrote, relevance is directly related to trust and trust is the currency of the internet age.

Really, staying on top of the latest trends is pretty easy–if you know what to look for. It’s not every day that someone will tell you the latest trends in a given topic (like I did recently in a post titled 100 Must-Know Social Media Tidbits for 2013). That’s nice when it happens, but you should take a more proactive and deeper approach to trend spotting.

First you must identify which industries affect your business or mission (you can learn from any trendsetter whether or not they are in your specific industry or not). Second, you must identify “trend hotspots” or outlets where trends and trendsetters are regularly discovered and discussed and subscribe to their content. Finding these sources is key because they stay on top of the trends for you. You should find and utilize only the top resource so as to not become overwhelmed. Third you must curate (select and organize) the content that you want to make use of. Fourth you must put that content, that knowledge, to use in a way that will make a positive impact on your bottom line.

4 Steps to Trend Spotting

To recap, it takes four steps to stay on top of the latest trends:

  1. Find Innovation – Identify which industries are pumping out ideas that could positively affect your business.
  2. Follow Innovation – Identify “trend hotspots” or sources that cover specific industry trends and subscribe.
  3. Focus Innovation – Curate the curators. Weed out the useless info and save/favorite/bookmark the good stuff.
  4. Fuel Innovation – Assimilate the best new ideas and products into your workflow, marketing, business plan, etc.

Finding the best new products and ideas is relatively simple, as you will see, but sorting through them is the tricky part. Luckily I’ve got you covered. Awhile back I wrote a post titled: The 50+ Best Ways to Curate and Share Your Favorite Social Media and News Content. There are some amazing curation tools there but let me recommend a few of my favorite that you can use as part of the trend curation process:

Flipboard, as I wrote about awhile back, is an amazing way to absorb information on a smartphone or tablet. It has been out for awhile but this is still the best way I can think of for staying on top of the latest content coming from your favorite blogs. Evernote, which I’ve also covered before, is also an amazing way to organize information. Finally, be sure to check out Faveous, Paper.li, Storify, The Tweeted Times and Keepstream.

Now let me make things really simple for you. I’ve identified a few industries and “trend hotspots” within those industries that you can simply plug in to your favorite curation software/product/process to stay on top of the latest and best trends and trendsetters. Consider this a starting point. You might have other areas and sources you’d like to add as well (leave a comment to let me know what you would include).

Design

Hotspot: Fast Co. Design
Supplemental: Dribbble Popular, Yanko Design

Internet

Hotspot: Internet Today by LinkedIn
Supplemental: Hacker NewsRobert Scoble

“Cool” & Culture

Hotspot: Cool Hunting
Supplemental: Get Addicted To, Trend Hunter

Technology

Hotspot: MIT Technology Review
Supplemental: GizmagThe Verge

Advertising

Hotspot: Adweek
Supplemental: Advertising AgeAdverblog

Startups

Hotspot: Techcrunch
Supplemental: PandoDailyVentureBeat

Business

Hotspot: Harvard Business Review
Supplemental: Inc., Fortune

Research

Hotspot: Futurity.org
Supplemental: Academia.edu, IBM Research

Science

Hotspot: PopSci
Supplemental: redOrbit, ScienceBlogs

Education

Hotspot: MindShift
Supplemental: EdSurge, Edutopia

Post Notes

Featured image “Tablet Takeover” Infographic via Visually.

Editor30 Ways to Identify and Incorporate the Latest Trends

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