Course structure


What is a trend?
According to the father of empirical sociology Emile Durkheim, trends are “social facts”. They are phenomena that no matter how rapidly and in what context they are formed and evolve, they provide tangible evidence of social, relational and cultural changes. Trends have a complex lifecycle and evolution, ranging from Microtrends (niche phenomena trends regarding consumer behaviors, attitudes, styles and expressions) and Macrotrends (long-term trends that are already present in the market and involve strong insights) to the Collective Imaginary (identification of people’s values through a constant monitoring of global phenomena proposed by the mass media), and Genius Loci (“the talent of the place” or rather the local perspective), each of these categories contains different levels of phenomena that evolve at different speeds.
The ability to observe, be curious and have a decent dose of intuition could seem like enough when working on trend analysis, but the reality is much more complex. It is necessary to take with a grain of salt the things professionals working in this sector (trend experts, Coolhunters and futurologists) boast knowledge of simply because they are young, informed or stylish. There is always a risk of becoming overly enthusiastic about one trend and therefore overlooking or even ignoring other emerging trends. Trends need to be placed within a scenario, as within the TrendsGymnasium learning environment. A single discipline or point of view isn’t enough to construct a relevant trend.

Desk Study

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MicroFraming (Microtrends)
The MicroFraming module is the first section of the Desk Study portion of TrendsGymnasium and is decisive for those who would like to become more aware of the details, aesthetics and behaviours that surround us and to begin to understand the relationship between small-scale expressions of change and their influence (weak or strong) in the global market.
Microtrends are niche trend phenomena linked to consumer behaviours, attitudes, styles and expressions that are constantly emerging at a rapid speed around us. Microtrends may often inspire and stimulate new ideas, but can be potentially misleading without a constant, 360 degree observation of both local and global realities.

MacroFraming (Macrotrends)
The MacroFraming module is the second section of the Desk Study portion of the course. Macrotrends, are socio-cultural phenomena that tackle themes of universal relevance and represent big changes in society. They are often a sum-up of Microtrends that over time gain relevancy. Anything from new forms of interaction, to the way people express themselves through shopping, traveling, eating, partying, new products that gain worldwide recognition in different market sectors and convey strong sensibilities that are highly visible can evolve into a macrotrend. Macrotrends, or long-term trends, embody strong insights that are already present in the market. Since macrotrends evolve, the MacroFraming module will help participants trace their evolution and their different expressions in different market sectors. Therefore, becoming aware of the more stable trends in relation to those less visible will allow participants to begin to better understand the market.

Collective Imaginary
In the third portion of the Desk Study module participants are introduced to the idea of the collective imaginary, or rather an assessment of people’s values through a constant monitoring of global phenomena brought about thanks to mass media.
The MindStyles Program (FCL’s collective imaginary database) is the result of a constant monitoring of cultural influences related to the collective imagination, based on an analysis of mass media contents and the influence of opinion leaders on people’s values, styles and taste. Anything from music, literature, art, fashion and design help constitute the vital basis of our investigation. The output is an easy format report that gives concrete indications on future markets tastes. The labyrinth of the MindStyles is divided into 12 Areas of relevant global trends.
The concepts and trends of the imaginary that have in fact gained universal importance, represent well-established values that can create poles of attraction in the future. The Collective Imaginary will help participants be able to identify market priorities and create original concepts about trends.

Genius Loci
In the final portion of the Desk Study module participants are introduced to the importance of Genius Loci (“the talent of the place”). When working on trends it is necessary to take into consideration cultural differences and measure the market compatibility of projects. Future Concept Lab developed the Genius Loci Program, a research framework that analyzes the cultural characteristics and consumption patterns in 25 different countries around the world in order to interpret the phenomena of globalization at cultural and commercial levels. A task force of experts dedicate themselves full-time to the elaboration of the profiles for each of the countries under observation, underlining the unique characteristics of each country and its market.
The Genius Loci module will help participants to understand the differences between several different countries and will introduce different levels of expertise and know-how, by looking at case studies and brands that are well rooted in specific territories.

The fieldwork portion of TrendsGymnasium offers participants the opportunity to put the theory learned in the Desk Study portion of the course into practice, and combine it together with your own creativity and personal interests, by going out into your city and starting to get some hands-on Coolhunting and Cultsearching experience.

The fieldwork portion consists of 4 steps:
1. Before starting your fieldwork, you will receive a brief from your tutor explaining your assignment and how to get started. The brief you receive will be customized to your interests and passions and will ask you to observe a specific sector (retail, beauty, food, etc.) or phenomenon (teen tribes, urban sports, etc.).
2. Once your tutor has given you your brief and you understand the assignment, you must begin the observation phase of your fieldwork, going out into you city, identifying hot-spots, shops, homes, etc., depending on your theme.
3. After you have done some observing in your city, group your observations together by illustrating and describing the most original phenomenon’s you’ve spotted and by making a list of your insights, according to your personal passions and interests.
4. The final phase of the fieldwork, has you go back out into your city and scout for innovative products, ideas and behaviours, illustrate them through photos, explain the reason for your choices and collect any additional materials (flyers, leaflets, brochures) that could support the overall research.
*Useful fieldwork tips
Before starting, plan your on-the-spot observation by choosing specific parts of the city you would like to focus on and by using a camera and notebook to document your findings.
When practising coolhunting, you should take pictures of people’s styles and attitudes, as well as notes of what you perceive beyond the surface.

4P Development

During this final phase of TrendsGymnasium, full-training participants will have the opportunity to turn learned theory (Desk Study) and insights (Coolhunting & Cultsearching) into a project. In order to do this, you will need to use the FCL 4P project development techniques. If used effectively, the 4P development model will help participants generate hypothesis for new creative projects (business ideas, products, communication strategies, etc.) that reflect on society and help to envision the future.
Imagine you are an entrepreneur and you have to create a company/ brand philosophy according to your research findings and values.
Use your observations and findings from your fieldwork in a creative way, in order to develop a new business hypothesis.
Propose new innovative products, services and initiatives that may fulfil future market expectations.

The 4P methodology can be a simple but effective way of triggering creative thinking amongst the participants of TrendsGymnasium. The course will use FCL’s own version of the 4P’s which are:
People: Identify an ideal target, possible end users and unique consumer characteristics.
Plans: Identification and description of significant trend/s related to people’s lives in the private or public sector.
Places: Identify an ideal market, city, country or site and related distinctive aspects.
Projects: Analyze different business sectors, brands and success cases that could inspire your own project.
Last modified: Monday, 13 April 2015, 11:09 AM