Analysis: Trendspotters - The crystal-ball gazers

Leading trend analysts can earn a fortune by spotting the next big thing. Clare Goff profiles the best of the bunch
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The Independent Online

Peter Schwartz

CHAIRMAN AND CO-FOUNDER OF GLOBAL BUSINESS NETWORK

A "godfather" of trends analysis, Schwartz realised the importance of identifying consumer trends as head of scenario planning for Shell in the 1970s. He founded Global Business Network in 1987 and works with governments and industry to develop "scenario stories" that bring possible futures to life. His key interest is scientific and technological breakthroughs; he anticipated global warming and rising terrorism.9/10

Marion Salzman

EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT, DIRECTOR STRATEGIC CONTENT, JWT

Salzman wrote college essays on the threat of terrorism, was challenged on "wiggers" (white kids who want to be black) by Oprah, and identified the Sex and the City generation back in 1989. Coming from marketing, she claims a "gift for identifying what's next" and finding the "tweak" that makes a brand stand out. Recent interests have been metrosexual man (she co-authored a book The Future of Men) and forty-fication. 10/10

William Higham

FOUNDER, THE NEXT BIG THING

Higham spent his early career in the music industry, and launched The Next Big Thing in 2001 after finding himself at gigs analysing the audience rather than the band. He identified the rise of the older entertainment consumer - "50 quid bloke" - and the retro trend. His recent interest is the Saffys - teens who, like their Ab Fab namesake, eschew the hedonism of their parents for more conservative interests. 7.5/10

Martin Raymond

CO-FOUNDER, THE FUTURE LABORATORY

Raymond was editing Viewpoint in 2001 when he spotted a gap for a creative approach to trend-spotting. Since then, The Future Lab has been pitched between number-crunching and cool-hunting, and calls on a LifeSigns network of 2,500 thinkers, academics and DJs. New trends include ethics, or "consumanism", and FUD, the "fear, uncertainty and doubt" of modern culture.

7.5/10

Melanie Howard

CO-FOUNDER, THE FUTURE FOUNDATION

Howard co-founded The Future Foundation in 1996 after making a name for herself at The Henley Centre. Taking a sociological approach to trends analysis, The Future Foundation offers a self-service, online trends-forecasting service, nVision. Howard's own work includes a survey into the effect of technology on our quality of life, for BT, and a survey on ethical consumers, for the Co-op Bank. 8/10

Reinier Evers

FOUNDER, TRENDWATCHING

Dutch-born Evers launched Trendwatching three years ago as an online, global network of trends and new business ideas. It relies on 7,000 "spotters" across more than 70 countries. Recent finds include Generation C (consumers who generate and share material), Massclusivity (exclusivity for the masses) and Uber Premium (uber exclusive goods that the masses have not yet commoditised). 6.5/10

Roger Tredre

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, WORTH GLOBAL STYLE NETWORK (WGSN)

A former Independent journalist, Tredre joined online fashion trends portal WGSN in its launch year in 1998 and has witnessed its growth from dot.com start-up to multimillion-pound business. Publisher Emap paid £140m for the company last month. Mixing research with journalistic skills, WGSN has correspondents across the globe, covering sectors from clothing to mobile phone technology. 8/10

Sue Elms

HEAD OF CARAT INSIGHT

Elms uncovered the emergence of Generation Jones in the UK - late baby-boomers whose world view straddles the idealism of the Sixties and the selfishness of later generations. Her focus is understanding consumers for the purposes of marketing, and she subjects trends to rigorous testing for traction, scale and longevity. Recently, she has developed Connect 27, a classification of UK mind-sets.8.5/10

Jo Rigby

HEAD, OMD INSIGHT

At 34, Rigby is part of a new generation of trend-spotters, and her most famous piece of research - UFO: Understanding Fifties and Over - has overturned negative perceptions of the "grey" market, showing advertisers the spending power of this growing audience. She has worked with Channel 4 on a gay community project, and is now looking at ethnic minorities, who she describes as "hugely under-researched". 8/10

Martin Lindstrom

AUTHOR AND BRAND EXPERT

Lindstrom founded his own advertising company at the age of 12. Now, he's a branding guru to the likes of Disney and Pepsi, and predicts how brands will evolve. His latest book forecasts that brands will take on a religious dimension, with rituals, icons, a sense of belonging, and will need to appeal to all the senses, including smell. He anticipated the rise in text messaging, coining the word "tweenspeak" back in 1999. 6.5/10

Sian Davis

CHIEF EXECUTIVE, THE HENLEY CENTRE HEADLIGHTVISION

Now 30 years old, The Henley Centre was the first company in the UK to introduce the notion of tracking consumer and social trends. Its trends-forecasting is based heavily on quantitative research, but it has a more cultural edge following merger with HeadlightVision. The Henley Centre was responsible for the phrase "time poor, money rich". It was acquired by the advertising group WPP in the 1990s. 8/10

Rohit Talwar

CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FAST FUTURE

What will happen if Britain is hit by an asteroid in the year 3000, or suffers blackouts as a result of climate change in 2020? Government departments are beginning to realise the need to think long-term, and Talwar's consultancy has been helping it future-proof its policy decisions. His focus is the effects of trends and helping the public sector and industry set goals to maximise - or minimise - their effect. 7.5/10

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