Global trends have the power to shape our world. Whether it’s in design, social theory, retail, technology, fashion or business, trends are powerful influencers across the board.
The key to understanding these global influencers, and just how we can use them to help us make better business decisions, understand culture and society better, lies with trend analysts like the International Trend Institute in Durban.
Better known as ITI, this Durban-based brand development and creative communications agency has for the last two decades, kept a close eye on global trends, how these are expressed and how they can be used to our benefit in business and in future. ITI was originally founded as a source for trend resources in South Africa, though it has since grown to encompass a comprehensive agency offering. The grounding in trend research and analysis still inspires it in many ways, however, and complements the strategic offering of the business.
Paul Kraus, founding partner of the institution explains, “We have always believed that a brand must value integrity and remain true to its proposition and related DNA if it is to be sustainable and holistically successful. When you know who you are and what purpose you serve, then you know how to appropriately respond to the prevailing sentiments or trends in society.”
ITI compiles a Macro Trend Review each year. This annual presentation provides a snapshot of the broader shifts shaping our world by surveying trends in society, culture, branding, technology and more. While it was originally shared with clients and collaborators at an exclusive event and used internally in the business, over time the company has realised the demand for products like this in the market more broadly. The Trend Review is now also presented successfully on commission around the country (and abroad).
This year’s review is titled “The Age of More” and looks at the way people craft new identities in the modern world. Developed and presented by ITI’s lead trend researcher, Chris Reid, the Review will unpack examples from the worlds of branding, retail, media and technology in a captivating multimedia presentation. Reid explains, “Whereas previously, trend researchers used to talk of “tribes”, now people are not defined by the boxes they fit into – they’re empowered by the categories they cross.” With this in mind, the 2016 Review explores four themes around the idea of “More Than” in terms of modern identity:
More than human
Advances in technology are increasingly blurring the line between people and their devices. What used to be science fiction is increasingly becoming fact thanks to developments in wearables, implantable devices, and immersive media. Ultimately, tech isn’t just part of life – it is life. And it affects us in many different ways.
More than me
We are entering a new age of altruism, where a generation of young people are more engaged and aware of social issues than ever before. Because of this we are seeing a renewed sense of community, a fresh desire to protest injustice and the rise of social networks that actually connect people rather than just pretending to.
More than gender
Gender politics have truly gone mainstream. From Caitlin Jenner, gender-neutral child-rearing and androgynous fashion, this trend looks at the new identities people are creating for themselves outside traditional binaries and how brands are responding in kind.
More than history
Afrofuturism is a massive movement in design and culture at the moment and we’re seeing a whole new breed of creatives mixing African culture with futuristic imagination. From new African sci-fi to fashion and design that is unlike anything seen elsewhere, the future is African.
These trends have the capacity to affect even the most discerning individuals, changing the way they think, act or even see themselves and the world.