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Think Of Trends As Technologies

Professor at Temple University and Author Devon Powers believes that if we start to treat trends as we do technologies we'd be able to problem-solve our way through the biggest societal ills



I'm somebody who's interested in how culture moves around the world and what are the kinds of things that make ideas exciting for other people.

I thought about trends as one of these objects. I would use the word metaculture. Culture about culture that helps it to circulate around. I started thinking, “What is a trend? How do trends work? Who decides whether or not something is a trend?” and, “How do businesses participate in this circulation of trends?”

There's a lot of things that I encountered as a researcher of which I was deeply skeptical. There were also a lot of really interesting resonances between what I do as an academic and what I think people who work in trends in futures do in terms of looking at culture, gleaning insights, finding patterns, talking to people, being interested in expertise, reading all the time.

A lot of those things are very, very similar.

I like to think about them as the vehicles that we ride into the future. If we think about technologies as tool that help us to solve problems, what we can we do with a trend? What can we do with the idea of trends to help us solve some of the biggest problems, some of the biggest political problems, and cultural issues that present themselves?

Filmed at PSFK’s CXI 2018 conference:

Devon Powers: