Shape the future series: Marian Salzman, trend spotter

MarianSalzman_1This month as part of our celebration of women and as we continue exploring the mindsets required for entrepreneurial endeavour, we focus on the work of Marian Salzman.  In our previous Shape the Future post we outlined the attitude of Focus and profiled Nicola Tesla.  In this post we look at the attitude of trend-spotting which forms part of the Researching mindset under the pillar of Personal Initiative.

The researching mindset focuses on finding out a range of information about a subject or topic so that you can reach better understanding and make better decisions.  We define the attitude of trend-spotting as asking questions from a curious standpoint, looking for emerging learning that could build into future possibilities.

Marian Salzman is the current Chairman of the Havas Global PR Collective.  While Salzman might not have an actual fortune-telling crystal ball, she does seem to have an uncanny knack for predictions.  How does she do it?  She’s an expert trend spotter.  What exactly does a trend-spotter do?  Trend-spotters are people who notice and report on new fashions or activities that people are starting to do, or the way a situation is developing which then becomes a trend.

Described as having her finger on the collective pulse, Salzman has been rated as one of the world’s top trend spotters.  She has worked for companies the world over, keeping them up-to-date and even a step ahead of the market. This has made Salzman’s talent highly sought after – and incredibly valuable.

Salzman started off as a student of sociology with a keen interest and curiosity about the way all people lived.  Throughout her career, Salzman, through her curiosity and interest in people was able to spot those things which would later become trends.

In 1994, Salzman was a pioneer of the first “citizens of cyberspace” study which produced a snapshot of early adopters and predicted that America would soon be online.  She was one of the first people to use the internet and social media as a means to track and predict trends.  She opened a whole new world of information through trend-spotting and her innovative research approach that harnessed the online world.

Accredited with popularising terms such as ‘metrosexual’ (word of the year in 2003 and penned by British writer Mark Simpson) and ‘singleton’, Salzman’s career holds much evidence of her ability to spot that which will become part of the popular cultural landscape way before it does.  A great believer in creativity and the creative process, Salzman is an adviser to the Berlin School of Creative Leadership’s MBA program and is involved on the mentoring board of Brown University’s Women in Business.  Her social media research techniques give companies a new way to access exciting, emerging markets and offer customers a chance to share their wants, hopes and desires.

Spotting trends as they begin to emerge or even predicting trends before they really begin to take off means that opportunities can be seized and fostered from the onset.  This attitude is a vital one to develop for would-be entrepreneurs because it ensures one is best able to spot those opportunities which may lead to entrepreneurial success.  What future trends do you think will be  key to unlocking future entrepreneurial endeavours?  I look forward to reading your comments.