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Trending: Selective Attention. In Conversation With Tim Stock, Trend Forecaster

Temper goes trending and this time around, we once again choose to use the highly selective Sandy Chu compass as she maps out a globally innovative trip with trend forecaster Tim Stock.
Tim Stock is the co-founder and managing director of scenarioDNA, a New York City based foresight consultancy that focuses on global innovations. Stock also works as an Assistant Professor teaching trend forecasting and innovation at Parsons’ The New School making him a wonderful industry insider to learn from. Here are his insightful gems of knowledge. Selective Attention Culture Mapping Masterclass ahead!

Fashion forecasting
Trending. Courtesy of Henrik Vejlgaard

Chu: In layman’s terms, what is “culture mapping”?

Stock: In layman’s terms, it is a galaxy map of how people are thinking. We are simply organizing words like stars on a grid. The mapping reveals constellations. Those constellations are clusters of ideology. We use natural language processing and computational linguistics to map the words and quantify their interrelationships.. That data science helps make the picture of ideologies clearer. We developed this method to visualize patterns and chart trends as they emerge. It allows us to find important cultural signals earlier and use machine learning to augment that analysis so we can find patterns missed in traditional analysis. We received a utility patent for this method in 2015.

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Tim Stock, Trend Forecaster Extraordinaire. Courtesy of HOPF Images

Chu: Could you tell us about how you established yourself in field of foresight?

Stock: It was an evolutionary process. I have always had a bit of a hybrid in skill set. By nature, as a musician, I have always seen things in patterns. Training in semiotics and cultural theory, compounded by the application of technology contributed to the bigger picture of establishing a context for trends. I have seen companies cycle through the last few decades from brand strategy to digital and mobile strategies to more recent obsessions around data science. My skills have converged to answer emerging issues that companies are seeking to solve. Having a framework for context is invaluable when conducting ethnographies across global markets. If you can read culture you can read how the future is unfolding.

chineseculture-mindmap
The China Map

 

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Trend Mapping. Image via Selective Attention

Chu: ScenarioDNA also hosts culture mapping workshops, what kinds of professionals should attend?

Stock: The main attendees of our workshops are coming from brands. They are typically trying to understand how to leverage culture better. They are flooded by trendspotting and want to make better sense of things. They get excited when they decode and apply the underlying meaning of trends. It helps them innovate.

 

For the all-encompassing [get it, get it?! insert major eye roll; it is lame yet we have no shame] version of this selected Sandy Chu file, continue reading right here!

 

 

You can find the Mapping Culture e-book here and scenarioDNA’s trend reports here.

Company and university culture mapping workshops can be arranged via email: culturemapping@scenariodna.com

One workshop is coming up on September 10 in London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally written by Sandy Chu for Selective Attention, 2018. All rights reserved
Additional editing by Elsbeth van Paridon for Temper Magazine
About Selective Attention:
These days after writing B2B content for five years, Chu constantly thinks about the business takeaways in cultural trends, apparel products and around retail, which is making her life tragically tasteless in a melodramatic way that one can only describe as “hipster heartbreak”. With that in mind, Chu is trying to give herself some creative freedom to explore ideas for fun’s sake though she can’t help but include some On a Serious Note sort of content?
Having decided that writing a personal blog would be just too,,, light. Chu went out and bought herself a new domain — Selective Attention (.net though) so she can make this in to a blog publication. The idea is to make this a semi-fun (“oh, joy!” Quote, Chu herself) creative learning exercise which will help her develop her professional interests area’s depth of knowledge that will be written through the lens of personal rumination.
Featured image: Courtesy of The New York Times

 

Temper Magazine does not own any of the above English content. All featured English content was re-published by Temper Magazine and originally belongs to Sandy Chu for Selective Attention, 2018. All rights reserved.

Sandy Chu

An American with more than a decade of work experience in Shanghai, Sandy is a China specialist with experience in writing, research scouting, marketing, event management and translation. Holding a B.A. degree in Advertising, Sandy is a cum laude graduate of Michigan State University.

Currently working full-time at WGSN, Chu writes gated B2B content covering Asia product trends, Chinese consumer insights and Chinese digital marketing trends. In this role she has been quoted as an industry expert by BoF.

While her regular work remits focus on identifying and analyzing commercial trends, on a personal level she retains a passion for creative merit and cultural insights around China. Sandy previously ran her own fashion blog and creative events which have been featured in Time Out Shanghai, Femina China, Lonely Planet’s Shanghai city guide and the U.S. edition of Travel & Leisure.

She is currently working on developing her new blog Selective Attention.