Learn from evolution's genetic code.
Trend prediction is a powerful knowledge-based technique that extrapolates how current systems will evolve in the future. Using this extrapolation, you can plan your own innovations. For instance, all systems are trending toward decreased human involvement—robotic functions in factories, automated information systems, the need for only one human (the customer) to be involved in trading a stock or booking an airline ticket online.
To apply this technique, you'll need an extensive understanding of about 35 known universal technology trends, each of which progresses toward increasingly valued and ideal innovation. While the knowledge and time required to apply this technique is formidable, it reveals the trends that underlie all product and service innovations, thereby vaccinating against the tendency to innovate insufficient solutions, or to innovate a new product or service at the wrong time.
There are many ways you can predict trends in an industry, and there are numerous trend gurus whose work could be helpful. We like the work of Genrich Altshuller, the founder of the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ), because it's one of the most empirical approaches. We also favor the work of U.K.-based author Darrell Mann, who has built on Altshuller's paradigm of systematic innovation to refine it for further use.
The basic idea behind trend prediction is that evolution is not random but follows certain ...