How to Identify (Truly) Global Trends: BBK Trends Forum, Bilbao

For our first IRL gig of the year, BBK invited Livia Fioretti, Head of tw:in, to share her insights on managing our global spotter’s network.

After a year spent conducting workshops and webinars from poky home offices, we were beyond excited to take to the IRL stage once again at BBK Trends Forum in Bilbao. And what better way to make our on-stage return, than with a presentation about tw:in, our 800-person strong global spotter’s network – an integral cog in our purpose-driven machine.

In a presentation titled ‘How to Identify Truly Global Trends’, Livia Fioretti, Head of tw:in, explained how we harness local knowledge to track cultural movements from Colombia to Sri Lanka and beyond. Missed the event? We’ve broken her presentation down into five neat lessons. Of course, if you want to get involved with tw:in, our door is always open. 


How to identify (truly) global trends by Livia Fioretti


It all starts with community

You can try to sidestep geo-blocking technology and exploit Google Translate all you like, but the fact remains: the research of your in-house analysts will only take you so far. To really gauge grassroots interests in remote pockets of the globe, building an online community is key. Pick your host. Slack allows us to maintain a cluster of threads on different key industries, to quickly visualize ‘reactions’, and to share media from video clips to audio files. Most people are familiar with the interface too, which helps.


Turn your gaze inwards

Before you get the ball rolling, you’ll need to ask a few important questions. Why are you starting this community? Perhaps you want local experts to crawl the cultural landscape looking for innovations, or maybe you’re simply looking to hear new points of view that will disrupt the status quo. How big do you want your community to be? One thing’s for sure: your community will be all the richer for its diversity. Screaming into the echo chamber won’t provide you with the societal cross-section you need to measure the impact of innovations or ideas.


Go broad or go home

We’d love to welcome everyone with a big tw:in hug, but too much of the same isn’t helpful. At TrendWatching, prospective tw:in members fill out an application form stating their essential info and their motivations for joining. In order to keep on top of global trends, you’ll want a mish-mash of strategy and consulting professionals, and future-focused consumers and creatives – people who are willing to push the envelope when it comes to their lifestyle choices.


Build trust 

Without trust, even the most meticulously constructed community will fall apart. When taking on new members, make it clear what you expect from them, the nature of their commitment, and what they’ll get out of it in return. The crux of your community might be business, but building trust requires empathy and emotional connection, too. Listen and respond to community members’ concerns, and be transparent with the information and insights you share.


All give and no take? 

The relationship between you and your global trend community should be symbiotic. They might be feeding you ideas and insights, but what are you giving them in return? We like to slip our tw:in members sneak peeks of upcoming reports, access to new products like TrendWatching Academy, and opportunities to get involved with editorial projects – supporting bylines they can add to their online portfolios. We also keep things lively with fun virtual events such as our meet-and-greets, in which we invite tw:in members to quiz members of the TrendWatching team on our internal goings-on.

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