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A trend can be characterized as a new behavior pattern or belief that gradually develops during a specific period. The trend period can cover a few years or hundreds of thousands. It can begin as a thought or an idea of a few persons and expand as time goes by of greater numbers of people. Certain trends affect development locally or within a special limited area, while other trends can have consequences for the whole world. They can be social, technical/scientific, economic, ecologic, politic or demographic.
In order to identify and chart trends in a credible way an exhaustive environmental scanning (information collection) over long, coherent time periods is necessary. Sometimes the structure of the scanning has to do with one or several specific areas, for example, when a company wishes to follow development in their field, Scanning can also occur with a broader prerogative of a community or country's future. One can also look at societal or natural characteristics such as the future of work, family structure, energy, sustainability or the weather or fish populations. In order to fully see the possibilities the future holds, one must look at trends in a wide variety of fields (or variables) in order to determine those which are the most likely to affect the future of ones subject.


Long- range
Impacts many societal groups
Grows slowly
Reflects a deep change
Short-range, fashionable
Impacts only particular societal groups

Grows quickly within fashion interested segments
Reflects surface and quick changes
1000-years or longer
Impacts developed countries first
Represents a new paradigm or worldview

Is complex


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