Trends are estimations/measurements of social, technological, economic, environmental, and political characteristics over time. They are gradual and long-term. Trend information may be used to describe the future, identify emerging issues, and project future events. Trend statements should be clearly stated, concise, and contain only one idea. Examples of trend statements are:
- the number of computers with voice recognition software sold in the U.S.
- the number of U.S. colleges & universities requiring computers of entering freshmen
- the number of students 18-21 applying for admission to U.S. colleges and universities
Trends define the context within which organizations function. Therefore, it is important to identify critical trends, particularly those that are emerging, forecast their future direction, derive their implications for effective planning, and construct plans to take advantage of the opportunities they offer or ameliorate their consequences if they may negatively impact the institution. In trend identification, it is important to look widely in the social, technological, economic, environmental, and political (STEEP) sectors, locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
We will begin the exercise by forming into 6-8 person groups and selecting leadership roles in each group. The roles are facilitator, flip chart scribe, reporter, and paper hanger. We will change roles for exercises as described below so that you may expect to have at least one role during the workshop. No one is allowed to serve in the same role twice, except for laptop scribe, who will record the group proceedings throughout the workshop. Thus, you may concentrate on the discussion, and not worry about taking notes.