Magnus Lindkvist has an incredible job – the Stockholm, Sweden-based futurist and trendspotter is the founder and CEO of Pattern Recognition, which works with companies and organizations to “make sense (and money) out of the future. Essentially, Lindkvist – a TED fellow since 2004 – helps identifies upcoming trends that are taking place around us and how we can leverage and benefit from them. In his recent book, “Everything We Know is Wrong!: The Trendspotter’s Handbook“, he brings us through some of the things that’s going on in the world around us and what he’s observed from it, as well as how you can also be a successful, keen trendspotter.
If ideas were money, and they can be, then being able to observe trends happening around us, and coming up with ideas to benefit from those trends, is pure gold. And the only way to do that is to free oneself from the shackles of assumptions – that’s basically the premise set out by Lindkvist on how to be a successful trendspotter. He highlights seven factors that limit our ability to gain insight on current world-changing trends:
- Invisibility by gradualism – when change was too slow for us to notice
- Invisibility by miniscule changes – when we couldn’t see the forest for the trees
- Invisibility by suddenness – when we blinked and missed it
- Invisibility by linear thinking – when we fail to think exponentially
- Invisibility by “present-ism” – when we believe that tomorrow will be like today, more or less, and
- Invisibility by pessimism – since we are all doomed, how can things get better?
The book is generally arranged around these themes. Lindkvist digs deep and questions many of his observations on things, in a Malcolm Gladwell sort of way. In fact, the book is literally a hemorrhage of his observations and ideas, so much so that it is sometimes difficult to connect the dots between ideas. In fact, the book could do with some hefty editing for clarity – but I suppose rampant ideation can be hard to harness.
What I liked about the book – I appreciate the fact that Lindkvist challenges the way you think, and the need to free one’s mind in order to spot trends. At the end of each chapter is a “trendspotting manual”, a set of useful, illustrated action points that one can take away with and immediate work on.
What I didn’t like – Aside from the need for some editing? Well, the illustrations are somewhat amateurish, and it’s a shame that the book – with that garish cover – looks like it belongs to the children’s section of a bookstore than a futurist’s handbook.
If you’re an aspiring startup entrepreneur and are in need of ideas, this may be the book for you.