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Be Your Own Trend Spotter Preparing for the future is easier if you know what's coming.

By Gwen Moran Edited by Frances Dodds

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Jeremy Gutsche sees his disparate group of 20,000 trend hunters posting similar observations on his trend-spotting website, he gets excited.

That usually means something's emerging from the chatter. He calls them "clusters of innovation," and they're the basis for the trend predictions on, which logs about 8 million views per month.

Gutsche's approach is very different from that of Ann Mack, advertising giant JWT's director of trend spotting, who leaves no research stone unturned when hunting trends. Mack and her team have a network of influencers in publishing, music, fashion, technology and other sectors that they tap for insight about what's hot. They also audit existing research and conduct their own surveys, focus groups and observations of consumer behavior through diaries and consumer immersion. "We identify a pattern, formulate that into a hypothesis and try to validate or invalidate it," she says. "We also have a team of trend scouts all over the world who keep us honest." The trend scouts, many of whom are JWT employees, tell Mack and company whether the trend translates across borders.

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