Coolhunting and Trend Studies Schools

Since Coolhunting and Trends Studies are an emerging field of study, there are still several visions and approaches to the disciplines.

The biggest of the schools is the Northern School (for lack of a better term), following the footsteps of Carl Rohde, Henrik Vejlgaard and Faith Popcorn. A school that studies primarily mentality trends as the most complex type of patterns and the wider umbrella for study; the main definition of Cool by Rohde (something attractive, inspiring and with growth potential); and the trend dissemination diamond proposed by Vejlgaard. A School followed in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, USA and growing in Brazil (see Fontys Academy, University of Amsterdam and Science of the Time; Trendwolves; TrendOne; Trends Observer and the University of Lisbon; Faith Popcorn´s Brain Reserve; TrendsActive; and others.

Then we have the Anglo-American School, vastly promoted by Trendwatching and Trendhunter, that deals mainly with nano trends, being agglutination of mentalities into specific consumer behavior patterns, or manifestations of Cool by themselves. It is a more business oriented approach and, in the American case, a more chaos study driven activity.

Third, we have the Latin School, spear-headed by the Spanish Association of Coolhunting and the Future Concept Lab, categorizing patterns mainly on dissemination terms, which (by contrast with the northern school) puts fashion after trends and gives them different meanings. This school is having a major influence in Spain, Italy and is growing in Brazil. On the Italian side, it is given a great importance to the topic of genius loci.

The Trends Observer focuses exclusively on the Northern School! Through the scientific efforts of academic publishing and due to the large number of MA and PhD thesis in Portugal that approach Trends Studies and Coolhunting, the Portuguese School of Trends Studies (part of the general Northern School) was of paramount importance in the construction of this platform and the setting of its parameters. However, it is important to underline that, despite the many differences and approaches, all Trends Studies and Coolhunting Schools have the same base, using Ethnography, Cultural Sciences, Cultural Sociology and related fields to study what is emerging in  society and several communities, articulating their insights and findings with other areas like Marketing, Consumer Culture, Branding, Strategy and even Design Thinking.

WE ARE ALL in this together to promote Trends Studies and Coolhunting as a major field for the study of human behavior and the generation of innovation.