A course for International MBA students on how to apply the fundamentals of trend analysis to business strategy to help navigate disrupted industries.
- Syllabus and content creation.
- Teaching methodology generation in teaching trend analysis for strategic business foresight.
- Teaching and tutoring of IMBA students.
If there were only a word to define the era we are living in today, it would be change. And if it were to be a second word, it would be fast. After centuries of timid growth rates of technological progress and stable sociopolitical evolution, exponential advances and rapid shifts have defined the last decades. From the latest advances in technology to complex changes in culture and society, we live in a state of permanent revolution. In a world in which everything seems to be subjected to sudden change, it is difficult to stay relevant. A market defined by volatile transitions and complexity is putting a lot of pressure on leaders, companies and products, which are struggling not only to get in, but to stay as well. The world of today is very complex, and besides logic, lateral or creative thinking, or what is sometimes called informed intuition, it is necessary to understand what it is there to stay, what it is changing, and how will that happen. The quest to find what value is today and how it is evolving is a difficult one. How can we deal, and master, the value shift?
Trend research and analysis are increasingly winning a space in current business strategy as a methodology to provide qualitative insights that can help identify new horizons and changing values. Observing changes in society, culture, and people’s behavior is an important skill in forecasting, giving actionable insights to define and deliver competitive visions. Many institutions, from governments to corporations, have incorporated trend research as a design-inspired, creative-based routine for their strategic programs. For instance, the UK Ministry of Defense established the Global Strategic Trends Programme in 2001 to research and understand potential trends that shape and inform the future strategic context, including design thinkers in their programme. In the corporate world, Royal Philips Electronics has been using trends analysis for more than fifteen years as an indispensable input for strategic actions, from proposition generation to emerging business area spotting, through their dedicated and expanding strategic trend team.
Trend research and design-driven analysis helps adapt to fast changing time and reinforce a leadership position in the market by guiding innovation from vision to downstream, helping include creative analysis parameters in the decision making process of design strategists. Trend foresight is an essential part of design strategy, a discipline that helps companies determine what to make and do, why do it and how to innovate contextually, both immediately and over the long term. This process involves the interplay between design and business strategy, forming a systematic approach integrating holistic-thinking, research methods used to inform business strategy and strategic planning which provides a context for design. Design strategy, and trend theory as part of it, has proved useful for companies in a variety of strategic scenarios. Trends are people focused and infuse meaning to propositions by making sure people stay at the heart of the process from the beginning to the end. Adding trend knowledge to your business toolkit gives strategic advantage to your proposition and promotes disruptive innovation.
The purpose of this course is to help MBA students understand the basics of trend theory and give them the tools and design thinking patterns to enable the incorporation of trend knowledge to their strategic abilities. They will understand how the different trends tell us about what’s changing, how’s changing, how long this change will take, and what’s the impact on a business, from strategy planning to proposition development. At the end of this course, students will be able to use trends to discover emerging consumer behaviors and needs, predict and spot qualitative growth opportunities, create vision landscapes on a determined subject, define critical emerging drivers shaping the future of industry and enrich decision-making from a qualitative and intuitive perspective.
This course is designed to be useful not only for students who plan to take a leadership role in strategy and expand their creative toolkit, but for anyone searching for knowledge on the current changes in technology, society, culture economy, ecology and the future of key industry areas. Students will develop a design-driven way of thinking which will provide them with the necessary assets to understand the challenges and opportunities of the future and nurture a methodology of informed intuition to enrich their professional practice.