the above screengrab is from a really rather glorious TRENDS & TECHNOLOGY TIMELINE 2010+ conceived, created and - courtesy of creative commons - shared with the world by Richard Watson at Nowandnext.com. you can view the whole thing here. its worth it. do it now.
its a complicated thing for a complicated subject... how do you aggregate let alone predict the various and multiplicitous future offerings that a speeding-up tech-driven lived-in-real-time world will bring? well, you imagine a London tube map where stations are trends, lines are broad themes or topics and the further away from zone 1 you get the further into the future you travel, and it turns out you're in pretty good shape.
as Watson observes, "Predicting the future is a dangerous game — the future is never a straight, linear extrapolation from the present. Unexpected innovations and events will conspire to trip up the best-laid plans — but it’s still better than not thinking about the future at all" ...well worth printing in A3 and sticking near your desk.
not surprisingly, given the whole dawning of a new decade thing, recent weeks have seen a deluge of predictions and future trend observations emerge; and in another philanthropic move, Syamant of futurechat has aggregated a whole load of them into one place for us. dive in a go future-exploring.
all this is important. its important because as media and message blur, the recommendations we make to brands can't just be what to say and where to say it. an application - for example - is neither media or message, its a blur of both. our recommendations instead have to be developed and built around identification of the topics and themes that exist for a brand or organisation to potentially say something about, and indeed why its relevant for a given brand to be involved in a particular area.
predicting the trends of tomorrow doesn't just provide an academic sojourn into what may come to pass... rather it gives anyone involved in communications planning starters for ten on the topics and themes that will impact and change our lives. and understanding and explaining to which of those a brand should connect is some of the most valuable advice we can give. let the future commence.