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Five Ideas That Matter

July 20th, 2009, by Ted Shelton | located in Conversations, News | Comments off | trackback
While TCG partner Haydn Shaughnessy has kindly attributed co-author status to me, I can hardly say that I did more than a few edits and act as a sounding board for this terrific essay – “Five Ideas That Matter” (link opens the document on Scribd) in which he introduces the idea of metatrends. Here I have reproduced the introduction in the hopes that this may intrigue you and you’ll follow the link to read the whole paper:

“As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close it’s clear that there are profound changes underway in the systems that govern and condition our lives.

The World Wide Web offers an opportunity to uncover where people’s ideas and sentiments are headed and what they think about those changes. Never before have we had instant access to 8 billion pages worth of thoughts, ideas, or belief. The trouble is, as designer Matt Webb recently remarked, we have already passed the point where our attention can keep track of what is knowable and memorable. We need more shorthand.

This document is a deliberately brief guide to ideas on the web. In it we put forward a new research methodology and conceptual framework for dealing with the web’s data stream – the METATREND. Metatrends are, we hope, a shorthand for understanding change – as perceived by many millions of people.

A Metatrend is a trend that is parsed through the prism of web opinion and attitude. In place of a guru’s vision of we propose subjecting expert analysis and trend watching to social dialogue.

What we present is a first approach to seeing trends through the eyes of people who routinely blog, comment, tweet and search the web.

Why bother? Apart from the desirability of understanding large-scale opinion, in a parallel project The Conversation Group is witnessing increased interest in ideas such as creative destruction and system renewal, indications that people are seeking a new description for their experience and aspirations.

That search should be central to the business planning of any company or Government because it represents a changing mindset, and a new approach to production and marketing, of products, services and ideas.

Here we’ve had our first go at defining one element of that change. It’s an ongoing project. Eventually we hope the project will help leaders, corporate and political, to create the messages, product and policies that respond to what people are seeking.”

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