by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Planning, Strategy
How often have you read a prediction, statement, or about a trend, and began to wonder if it were true? Sadly, with so many instant experts, pundits, and self-serving gurus, it is sometimes difficult to tell fact from fake news. Here are six tests that can help you improve your signal-to-noise ratio:
A trend is defined to be a projection from a known state in the past, through a current known state in the present, to a likely state in the future.
Examine the experience of the person making the predictions. Journalists are smart, but they are not practitioners. Academics are smart, but they don’t usually live in industry. Consultants are smart, but they may have a very narrow knowledge base.
Examine the motivations of the person making the predictions. A fashion company, for example, might be motivated to share “trends” that are suspiciously in sync with what they are producing for the next season. A politician may wish to mislead.
For better or worse, the benefit of Google and social media is that a person’s (and organization’s) entire history is available for review. There is no way to hide history.
Some trends really don’t matter – or at least don’t matter to you.
Like trend analysis, scenario planning is a powerful strategic planning concept. Here’s how it works: first envision several alternative futures for your organization, and then create a straw-dog plan to take advantage of each. How to discover the different scenarios? Look for trends, predictions, and future-oriented statements, then filter them using the six tests.
Marketing insight: The so what test is clearly the most important, and should be applied first.
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