The Trend Work-out: flex your muscles to train your inner trend researcher. In the following months I, trend intern Sanne, will be your trend fitness instructor and give you tips and tricks on practicing trend research. This week I will help you in making a Scan Plan. Read more and get started right away!
In the the next couple of days, weeks, or month(s) you are going to be busy. How and why? Because you are going to make a scan plan which will help you to go outside, explore, do your research and spot new and interesting signs of change!
So, what's a scan plan?
A scan plan is a tool that helps you to spot signs of trends by making an organised overview of your desk and field research sources. You can do this for next week, month, or even for a couple of months.
In a scan plan you write down which desk or field activities you will do, when this will find place and what you want or would hope to get out of it. You can use the page in the How to Research Trends workbook (see below) or make a new file yourself, online or offline.
To scope or not to scope?
Something that could help you in specifying your scan plan is to define a scope. What will be the field of interest you are going to do your research in? You could leave the scope open if you like, and visit and research multiple areas so you get a lot of different inputs. You can also make it more focused by saying you will focus on technology, new materials, or whatever your field of interest might be.
Go outside your comfort zone
Where to start when creating your scan plan? There are multiple ways to search for desk and field research sources. I have put a list underneath that can help you get inspired in which places you can look for signs of change.
You can search and look at event pages, social media, museums, exhibitions, bookstores and libraries. Also look online on different trend forecasting pages, news media, newspapers, magazines.
Don’t only look at your workfield or interest, pick something different. Always reading a certain newspaper? Pick another one today! Is the appearance and beauty scene not really your cup of tea? Watch a vlog or listen to a podcast about it and maybe you will find signs of change that will be a great value for your trend analysis later on.
A couple of months ago I started with my own scan plan, which I specified into technology and humans. It is smart to broaden your view and add a few things around this scope, to stay updated and maybe get surprised by what you will discover there.
I have a couple of things I do everyday, like visit certain websites and read the news. The scan plan can help you to go outside your comfort zone and plan your research. You can add sources to your list continuously. Mark the things you have done and don’t forget to write down your experience. Hope you get surprised and inspired by the activities you are going to do!
Should I use a scope or not?
The answer to that question depends on what your goals are. I decided to make a scope focused on technology and humans, because I’m working on a project around that subject and the changes in that area. You can find my scan plan below.
Now if you want to get a larger perspective of changes in society (trends), then don’t use a scope but take a look at different sources that cover different subjects. Good chance that you can see overlap in values and needs in those different subjects and areas.
Document or forget
When you start scanning, put all your interesting and new findings in a folder, clip them online or write them down in a book if you prefer. Make sure you make photos if you spot something during field research and write down what it is, where you found it and when, so you are able to look it up if necessary.
Documenting everything will help you later to select the most relevant spots, which we will do in the next blogpost. I don’t expect you to do everything in one week. Try to activate your ‘spot senses’ so you can work with it next week and in the following ones.
See you next week!