As Reiner will no doubt tell you, trendspotting can be downright fun. But more than being just an interesting hobby, keeping an eye out for trends can be an entrepreneur’s best bet to stay ahead of his competitors. In this interview with the founder Trendwatching, of one of the leading trendspotting agencies in the world, learn what technique Reiners Evers used to build his community of Springspotters;  how being informed and connected is opening the way to new opportunities, and what important trends are expected to surface in 2009.

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Allentrepreneur: Very good to have you here Reinier! First, tell us a bit about you and what led you down the path to entrepreneurship.

 

Reiner: I’m a citizen of The Netherlands, a trend watcher, entrepreneur, and presenter. I hold a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Amsterdam, and have been fascinated with the online business revolution ever since being introduced to the nascent web in 1994 at New York University, where I studied Business Policy. You can learn more about me here as well.

 

Allentrepreneur: What is trendwatching and why is it important to anyone with entrepreneurial ambitions to be well-informed about them?

 

Reiner: Since there is so much to say, Reiners has referred me to the following page. In addition to answering the question, it is also a gold mine of valuable information.

 

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Allentrepreneur: Threadless, iStockphoto, Lookbook, etc. all generate content from communities sharing a similar passion. Trendwatching and its sister-site, Springwise, follow the same approach. As an expert trendwatcher yourself, what can you tell us about the future of crowdsourcing?

 

Reiner: Look for crowdsourcing to become even more important, as talent is everywhere (and now connected), with the world opening up, and everyone from China to Brazil to Canada being online. On top of that, it defies the old notion of having to employ talent full time. However, the abundance of potential ‘collaborators also means that the focus will go from getting EVERYONE in to getting the best of the best to join you. So expect a hunt for the truly smart/skilled/switched on members of a crowdsourced project or business. And as (financial) success may grow for some of these ventures, members will demand a bigger share of the revenues. So rewarding members will become more of a theme too!

 

Allentrepreneur: Trendwatching has a network of 8,000+ Springspotters. When you first started, what methods did you use to both promote and gather such a network? Was it word of mouth, intensive web-marketing or something innovative?

 

Reiner: Purely word of mouth. We first built an audience by giving away lots of content, and then from there on we had a good base to invite the 5% or so of people who is interested in contributing in general (opposed to the majority of people who are content to just consume, mainly because they’re busy enough as it is!)..

 

Allentrepreneur: What have been, in your extensive career, some of the most innovative and inspiring ideas/companies you have witnessed?

 

Reiner: Ah…too many….see Springwise for everything we love on a daily basis…seriously, it’s a trend in itself, so many good ideas, day in day out!

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Allentrepreneur: Care to share what you think will be the top 3 trends that will define 2009?

 

Reiner: I think everything to do with more transparency, from prices to user reviews and opinions to eco-credits to quality standards will continue to be big. Would also keep a close eye on all things green-yet-hands-on: see our current ECO-BOUNTY briefing. Thirdly, expect lots of talk about how the current recession will or should lead to not just fixing, but really re-thinking institutions, brands, education, politics, work-life balance and so on. Just fixing and returning to unsustainable hyper-consumption is no longer an option.

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