Course Sessions
Winter Term Begins
Jan 7


Explore the art and science of staying ahead of your competition in Business Forecasting and Trendspotting. In this 8 week course, you will master predictive market research methods while learning how to communicate your ideas more effectively. Discover the real reason brands go viral, why ideas spread and how you can apply this approach to your own business.
  • Conduct ethnographic research to understand what motivates your audience.
  • Reframe marketing strategies to align your product with future behavior.
  • Create an interactive Futurecast report to immediately leverage new business opportunities.

What will you learn in Business Forecasting and Trendspotting? 

Week One:

  • What is a Futurecast?
  • Qualitative Methods, Part 1 (Customer Observation, Generating Hypotheses)

Week Two:

  • Culture Codes; Myths, Signs, and Symbolism
  • Fast Culture vs Slow Culture
  • Qualitative Methods, Part 2 (Sensory Ethnography)

Week Three

  • How Ideas Spread, Part 1
  • The Diffusion of Innovations, “The Tipping Point” Model
  • Qualitative Methods, Part 3 (Depth Interviews, Object Analyses)

Week Four:

  • How Ideas Spread, Part 2
  • Why/Which Things Go Viral, Elements of Persuasion
  • Qualitative Methods, Part 4 (Social Media Listening, Digital Ethnography)

Week Five

  • Influences, Part 1
  • Top-Down vs Bottom-Up (Examples of Establishment vs CounterCulture Influences)
  • What Makes Things Cool

Week Six:

  • Influences, Part 2
  • Make Your Own Culturematic
  • Industry Examples / Organizations/ Resources (Nesta, IDEO, Mintel, Business of Fashion, etc)

Week Seven:

  • Cultural Convergences (Examples of Trends “jumping” industries)
  • Where to look for movements and shifts (Food, Music, Art, Current Affairs, more)

Week Eight:

  • How to build this exercise into a professional practice
  • Final Project: Ideas, Tips & Tricks, Recommendations for Building the Report
  • Sharing: How to communicate your ideas to others

Prerequisites: A healthy curiosity about the world around you and the willingness to peer deeper into the ordinary, the odd, and everything in between.

Hollie Jones Photo

Hollie Jones

Hollie Jones is a marketplace anthropologist who works with global corporations to answer questions about the granular consumer preferences and big picture market shifts that drive timely, data-driven innovation strategies. She has worked with big companies you’ve heard of like Bayer and Burt’s Bees as well as very small companies you haven’t heard of (yet). Jones’s research has impacted product development, brand positioning, message design, customer experience and new market entry strategies. She specializes in using qualitative research to provide an essential context and story for big data, and she has been a champion for the Voice of the Customer throughout her career.

Course: Business Forecasting and Trendspotting