Tessa van Asselt is an insights strategist at TrendsActive in the Netherlands. More than simply trendwatching, Tessa delves into the world of social cultural trends, translating and developing them into business strategies, communication tools and design concepts. Her agency, TrendsActive has worked with Fortune 500 firms and non-profit organizations alike, helping them to implement these trends in their day-to-day operations.
TrendsActive specializes in the interpretation of social cultural trends to develop business solutions. Why the focus on social cultural trends instead of consumer trends or market trends?
“Social cultural trends describe the knowledge and values of people within society and can be used to explain their behavior. Because social-cultural trends are long-term trends (they last at least three to fifteen years), they are very useful for business strategy. Consumer and market trends are part of social cultural trends, but they are more focused on products. We don’t focus on so-called ‘product trends’, for instance, LinkedIn or the iPhone are not trends. The real trend is the mindset of people, which led to the success of these products. That is why it is important to understand people’s behavior.”
Trends have the tendency to come and go very quickly. Is it the same for social cultural trends?
“Trends don’t have the tendency to come and go very quickly, but fads and hypes do. A lot of trendwatchers like to let organizations believe that trends change fast and are difficult to understand. The fast changing (product) trends they describe, are not social cultural trends. These products are just the form in which long term trends manifest themselves. By studying the structural social cultural trends that shape the era we live in, we study trends that change very slowly and remain relevant for a long time.”
How significant/important is creativity and creative thinking in your line of work?
“Creativity and creative thinking is essential in our work. In the translation process from research to business solutions, creativity is literally indispensable. But also in our research process creative thinking is important. We gather information from different sources such as trend reports, academic books, conferences, blogs and experts. Handling all this data in an associative and creative way is key in connecting all the dots.”
Is creativity something that we all possess or is it limited to a chosen few? ✌
“We believe everybody can be creative and come up with an idea. You can even train creativity, for example by training yourself to think in an associative way. However, the applicability of ideas people come up with varies. The translation of ideas into useful concepts is difficult. At TrendsActive, we work with people that are highly specialized creatives who know how to balance creativity and strategy and connect the dots. And that is limited to a chosen few.”
CreativeMornings Utrecht | 30 March 2012 | In De Ruimte (Oudegracht 230A) | 08:30 (AM) Inaugural talk by Tessa van Asselt of TrendsActive | Futureproof: Implementing Global Trends in Your Work/Design
@phillipqgangan | 30 x 30: We are all creative equals