In the coming period you are going to be busy. Because you are going to make a scan plan. This will help you to go outside, explore and spot new signs of change!
WHY A SCAN PLAN?
To get started with your trend scanning process, it helps to create a scan plan. This is an overview of field research and desk research activities you plan to perform.
By making a scan plan you create focus in your scanning process and work in a more structured way. You can make an individual plan or a team plan, and plan for one day, or a month or even a whole year. Block time in your calendar to do some dedicated field and desk research. For example: for two hours per week or one day in a month.
Create your scan plan
The main question to be answered in your scan plan is: where are you going to find signs of change?
Make a plan that includes several field research and desk research activities. Specify what you are going to visit, click, watch, read or listen. Here are some sources to consider. 👇
You can write your plan down on paper and stick it on a wall. Or you can make a digital version and add all activities to an online calendar.
The main thing is that you decide on how to start your spotting process. This kickstart will help you in not only making a plan but also make this plan become reality.
Fill in the specific activities you are going to do below. 👇
To focus or not?
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 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 is.
Leave the comfort zone
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.
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. Keep track of everything you have done, because you will forget! And take pictures of you doing your field and desk research. At a later stage this can be useful in communicating to others how you gathered your information. It provides insight into your ways of working. And most important: it makes your scanning process more transparent and convincing and validates your findings.
To wrap it up
To approach your trend scanning in a structured way you can make a trend scan plan. This will help you to allocate your time to execute specific trend scanning activities. For example buy and read a specific magazine or visit a specific trade show. Don’t forget to also make notes and pictures of your scanning process. Showing this to others makes your trend research process more transparant to others.
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