For the book ‘How to Research Trends’ I’ve interviewed trend professionals around the globe to get insights into their ways of working. This blog features the highlights of my interview with Australian-based trend expert Kristina Dryža. She brings a very holistic and spiritual vibe to the trend research field.
Trends are about circular time, connectedness and your inner voice
“Trend research to me is about moving from time to timelessness. We should not just look at time horizontally and linearly, but instead advocate a more circular orientation to time. Rhythms, seasons, cycles and patterns are linked to the reverence of nature and the greater cosmos and the interconnectedness of us as human beings. Trends to me are about co-creating new cultural narratives using heart intelligence. When I talk about the future it is in ways of the past, present and the possible. To me there is no one singular future. I talk in plural and potentiality instead of singularity.”
“If you hesitate as a trend researcher than you are too stuck in the external world and have disconnected from your own inner voice. Always use your own intuitive barometer. I feel to perceive the future we must engage with the rhythms of the natural world as well as be in direct relationship with the collective unconscious. That’s the realm that I work in.”
Be out there and be a hermit at the same time
“When I was younger I tried to be on top of the latest happenings all the time, but that is only the external part of trend scanning. Be out there in the world, hit the streets and go to all the galleries but also be like a hermit and sit quietly to observe your feelings to what you have been exposed to. It is like the form of the number eight - flowing in the infinity symbol between active movement and external expression balanced with receptive stillness and internal reflection.”
Find the people who beat to their own rhythm
“People on the fringes of culture have their finger on the pulse. Speak with these people at the margins, they are generally more connected with their inner voice and have a strong internal compass. They beat to their own rhythm and are not preoccupied with what collective society is thinking and doing. They are not thought leaders, but rather wisdom keepers.”
“People who march to the beat of their own drum are all around us, not just off-the-grid. If your radar is up you go to a coffeeshop and think wow, what is different in this coffeeshop? You talk to the barista and find out what inner music they are dancing to. They are everywhere if you are tuned in. You might see a performer whose show leads you to a state of transcendent wonder. You have to have the courage to approach them and find out more about their ideas and philosophies. This way the future comes to you, rather than you to it.”
Rely on knowing instead of knowledge
“Intuition is not the sixth sense, it is the first sense! When you are looking at piles of data, you may start to panic. You should be aware that there is a difference between knowledge and knowing. Whilst knowledge is about building a repository of data, knowing is on the inner, intuitive level and surpasses all the books in your library. Don’t solely rely on stacks of external data as your reference points.”
Tsunamis versus ripples on the horizon
“Analysing trends is about finding the emerging cultural narrative and looking at the world through a mythic and archetypal lens. Get out of the literal and into the symbolic. That is why it is so crucial to work with images, dreams, allegories, parables and metaphors. They are speaking to a deeper part of us. During the first stage of trend clustering I often can’t yet put my feelings into language yet. But I do have a sense of something being a tsunami level trend or a small drop, a ripple on the horizon. You have to feel the richness of the emotional content of the trend clusters. Languaging them too soon squeezes the life out of them.”
Applying trends is messy
“Companies think that they have to control the future, but I feel that surrender and acceptance are the greatest ‘toolkits’ that you can have in this day and age. These aren’t passive states in the slightest - but rather the essential elements for metamorphosis. It is important to develop an internal company culture that respects the rhythms of the natural world and the archetypal realm. Many companies just hire a head of innovation or a trend director and think that their job is done. Applying trends is not about algorithmic intelligence but developing spherical and holographic consciousness. And yes, working in the non-linear can often appear very messy to a rational mind!”
“I’ve introduced weekly sessions at House of Brand, which are dubbed ‘Kristina’s Crystal Ball’ - ha! We do things like Japanese calligraphy to all kinds of musical beats from heavy metal to concertos to electro house to investigate how the music affects the way we trace the kanji. And to question, what is our natural pace when there’s no external influence? We also organise creative away days, where people can plug into the earth, instead of their devices.”
Using trends for the better
“Trends should be used for the betterment of humanity as a whole. You should not exploit trends just for profit. This is a responsibility for all trend forecasters as one becomes a custodian of the future. That is why those in the industry can sometimes be seen as spellcasters. We do have influence so working in this field one must retain ancestral as well as inter-generational awareness. Your fingers are touching the future and this can have an effect for many generations to come.”
Want to know more about Kristina?
Take a look at her extensive portfolio on her website and read her lovely novel Grace and the Wind.