This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Empathy---Critical
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  FutureThink Insights Sample
How You Can Become A Futurist

As discussed in our previous insight, futurists base their information mostly on hard data. They look at demographic, economic, and psychographic data. Forecasting the future is not rocket science. What it does take is focused, concentrated effort. It IS sometimes tedious and usually time-consuming to gather the information.

The best place to start to find this information is government agencies. They generally collect demographic information on the population of the country. In the United States, our Bureau of the Census is THE collector of this valuable data--for looking at the future of consumers.

If you are looking for information about the future of business, in the US the place to go is the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS, as it's called for short. BLS keeps data on where businesses are located, as well as their size and employees, They are responsible for keeping track of information on all businesses.

Economic data is available from a wide variety of sources. While unemployment rates come from BLS, other information like the CPI and GDP are available from the Department of Commerce. Other countries have similar government agencies with similar names. Another source for economic data is market performance, including bond markets and mortgage markets. This information is available from the markets themselves.

Remember what a futurist does--look at the data from the past and what's happening now to make YOUR projections.

There's another source that futurists commonly use--the media. We at The Herman Group scan over 87 electronic and paper publications per month looking for trends. If we see that a subject is receiving greater attention or that the numbers of persons involved is changing, we report that shift as a trend. Publications are also an excellent source of statistics from private research. Whether the source is public or private, the statistics support trend analysis. One warning: Be sure to look at the sample size, who was surveyed, and how the statistics were gathered.

And don't forget about the Internet. The Net is a great source for trend information--if you know where to look. Be sure to tune in next week to learn more about How to Use the Internet for Research.

FutureThink Insights is produced by Joyce Gioia, Certified Management Consultant, President of The Herman Group, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Copyright 2001, Joyce L. Gioia. All rights reserved. Duplication in any form without written permission is a violation of copyright laws.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


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