Trend Hunter: Experience Drives Business
September 11, 2018 - MENU Magazine
You’ve probably heard of Trend Hunter; 1 in 50 on the planet has been to TrendHunter.com. With 5,000 custom trend projects a year specifically focused on hotel chains and restaurants, and 20,000,000 monthly views overall, Trend Hunter is the world’s largest, most popular trend community, leveraging big data, human researchers and AI to identify consumer insights and deep-dive opportunities for the world’s most innovative companies.
Trend Hunter research and workshops empower more than 500 brands including Coca-Cola, Adidas, Victoria’s Secret, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft and NASA. Its head office is based in Toronto, Canada, and Trend Hunter is fueled by a global network of 200,000 contributors and 3,000,000 fans. Trend Hunter is currently studying more than 350,000 cutting-edge ideas using over 3 billion choices from 150,000,000 people.
I spoke with the CEO of Trend Hunter, Jeremy Gutsche. Where did Gutsche come from and how did he become one of the world’s most sought-after keynote speakers and consultants on helping brands find better ideas, faster? Gutsche gets to the point, no fluff and no magic—hard work, a willingness to learn and being in the right place at the right time and recognizing this. “I ran a business as a student. I learned a lot about finding and harnessing that next level. I wrote Exploiting Chaos in 2007—how chaos creates opportunity has become my life’s work,” says Gutsche.
He is a “chaos guy.” His big break was being invited to speak to 500 CEOs at one of the lowest points in business in 2008 and helping them as they tried to save their companies. From these business leaders in the midst of crisis, during an extremely vulnerable period, Gustche says they were also teaching him lessons he could not have learned anywhere else. Lessons about what worked and what didn’t work. These projects snowballed; Gutsche worked with about 550 CEOs or leadership teams. He was inspired to think about his purpose—to make change happen when change is hard and to extract better innovation from teams. “Your next level is there, but you can’t see it,” he says. He states that we are held back from seeing a path forward because of psychological traps and organizational traps. Gutsche adds that “even your own success” is a potential trap, making us complacent and fearful of challenging the status quo.
Trend Hunter’s mission is to go over tactics, tools, experiences that will prompt clients to see things in a different light. “I can’t give you that idea, but I can help you find it,” says Gutsche.
FUTURE FESTIVAL WORLD SUMMIT
Join the world’s top innovators to experience the future before it happens. Trend Hunter’s annual Future Festival World Summit (FFWS) is taking place in Toronto this year; supporting the Canadian market by bringing a world-class event along with the brightest minds in innovation to our country. “This is an epic experience for all innovators to prototype their futures,” explains Gutsche. The summit brings together global leaders of innovation and entrepreneurs, and this is a conference unlike anything attendees will have experienced before. “I’ve spoken at 600 events now,” says Gutsche. “I’ve learned about some of the coolest, best, worst things happening at other events.”
OPEN YOUR THINKING, EXTRACT BETTER IDEAS AND TAKE ACTION
“If you were to show up and bring a team of people, the first day you would be split apart based on your biggest interest. Whatever you pick, you are now separated with the other 20 [or so] people who are also interested most in that topic.”
Unlike other conferences, the festival is a highly choreographed, takeaway-focused immersion. You will have opportunities to participate in completely original experiences; a future party with 50 to 100 winning technologies you have heard of but probably never played with. Technologies like holographs and food and flavour experimentation. Last year Jim Beam made a VR headset and attendees were virtually seated in the Jim Beam most secret cask room while they sipped Jim Beam reserve liquors. This happens all in one super-charged, exciting, inspiration- and innovation-provoking activity day.
FASCINATED AND FASCINATING: LEADERS AND HANDS-ON LESSONS
Join Starbucks, Netflix, Samsung, Red Bull, Lego and MTV to experience the future. Join some of the most celebrated keynote speakers the world over, i.e., New York Times best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, former CEO of the Chicago Tribune Tony Hunter and Jeremy Gutsche who will be diving into the future of lifestyle food flavour technology and the workplace.
Reconnect with your team on the third day of the summit. Take part in workshops like those used by NASA to prototype the journey to Mars. In the end, you’ll have produced five to 10 disruptive ideas you WILL WANT to implement.
JUST FOR FOODSERVICE
According to Gutsche, the drive towards experience has changed what it means to go out to a restaurant. “This is a challenge to larger chains because what’s happened is our desire—especially with millennials—has driven us to a different space. A person is not going out for a meal, but an experience.” Gutsche suggests that the desire to create a unique experience that keeps people coming back has become a battleground and that “you almost have to be a media company to pull it off.”
This idea is part of the inspiration for the Flavour Reversal Trend Safari taking place at the Summit. “We’ll discover how local brands are taking traditional foods and turning them on their heads to add a spark of novelty to what was once familiar.” This foodservice safari will explore the ins and outs of innovation in concept and production, with the added benefit of being able to sample delicious items from successful innovators.
At the first location—Eva’s Original Chimneys—attendees will see how the founder of the business is sharing her love for her home country’s food—putting her spin on freshly baked savoury and sweet Chimney Cakes and Cones, a specialty of the brand.
At the second location, visitors will learn about the unique business structure of one of the most distinct Canadian gelato shops—Death in Venice. The store produces a wide range of novelty flavours, offering items like Bourbon & Smoked Chocolate gelato, Pad Thai gelato and Pumpkin Ale gelato. Here we’ll also learn how some of the business’s costs have become self-sustaining, as the brand houses the production processes of other small businesses in its kitchen.