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Antoinette van den Berg
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Trend forecasting is the cultural anthropology of the future

“When developing creative concepts for companies, institutions and NGOs, it is extremely important that the concepts to be developed are in line with tomorrow's society, with the future, where the concept has to function. What will that future look like? What will the culture be? What will the social norms and values be like? What problems need to be solved? What is the influence of the Metaverse? And how does that affect the physical world? Where and how do people live? And what does that mean for society? In other words, what are the needs of people and society in the (near) future? “I devote my energy and vision to training students at Artemis for this, to teaching the trade and applying it to companies and/or to their own creative process.” A passionate plea for trend forecasting from lecturer Antoinette van de Berg.

Observing, signalling, analysing

Trend forecasting is carefully observing, signalling and then analysing. This also involves tapping into the instinctive, intuitive hemisphere of the brain. Your sensitive antennas, as I always call them, indicate the cultural changes and when you see them you can analyse the drivers and triggers of those changes; what is going on and where is it leading. History also provides answers. Does the NOW actually make sense? The NOW is just a dot on the timeline between the past and the future. I teach our students to include that analysis in the concept development. The great thing is that anyone can learn this.

Our students are truly part of the metaverse

Our students are able to quickly pick up and apply this view. At Artemis, they learn to make a trend forecast based on research into current developments and to develop concepts based on that. The future is therefore the source of inspiration for concept development, for marketing communication or for the products they will design. The fact that they are young is an advantage. After all, they are the future generation themselves, having grown up in both the physical world and the digital space. They were born with the iPhone in hand, have experienced the coronavirus pandemic and are aware of the problems they have to solve for the next generations regarding overconsumption. All in all, they are the source of inspiration for tomorrow. Incidentally, I feel a lot of connection with this generation because I myself am, in my mind, always living ahead and focused on 'tomorrow'.

Trend forecasting as a direction for companies

My goal with teaching is: to empower students so that they can grow and learn, find their strength and thus their position in the market. I advocate that every company invests in trend forecasting. Gaining insight into future developments makes it clear what you need to invest in as an organisation: in which markets, people, etc. It is an important basis for positioning and innovation. It is not for nothing that I also refer to trend forecasting as the cultural anthropology of the future.

Antoinette van de Berg (56) is a lecturer in Trend Forecasting and owner/founder of The Lady in Blu: theladyinblu.com [instagram] @theladyinblu


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