Trendspotting for Culture & Design in the UK

  1. NC State professor and Consumer Innovation Consortium director, Dr. Colbey Reid, led the global immersion course “Trendspotting for Culture & Design” for the first time in March 2014. London, England was the setting for full-time, professional and online Jenkins MBA students to execute various trendspotting methodologies with the goal of forecasting a single trend (supported by examples and rationale) expected to impact mass culture in the U.S. market.
    To prepare for the immersion, Dr. Reid held class sessions to explore and explain long interviews, short interviews, observation, visual ethnography, sensory ethnography, archaeology/artifact analysis, and customization of industry forecasts. Armed with knowledge, students were ready to embark on an eye-opening trip.
    The immersion with the perfect mix of exploring London’s modern culture and rich history. Understanding both aspects of British culture provided students with a framework for what they were seeing in London culture and design.
    Saturday, March 8th

  2. Jenkins MBAs began their global immersion trip on the crowded streets of Portobello Market #NCStateMBALondon

    Jenkins MBAs began their global immersion trip on the crowded streets of Portobello Market #NCStateMBALondon
  3. NC State Jenkins MBA students gathered at the Prince Edward Pub in London’s Bayswater neighborhood eagerly awaiting instruction from faculty leader Dr. Colbey Reid. Over a traditional English breakfast, students learned that the first trendspotting assignment was to head to London’s popular Portobello Market and dive head first into trendspotting methodologies.

    Following a few hours of observing, students took a break from their studies to explore the city on one of the popular London bus tours. Later in the evening, students experienced a new trend – immersion theater – at a late night performance of ‘Cement Garden’ at The Vault Festival.
  4. Jenkins MBAs headed to The Vault Festival to see 'Cement Garden' for an immersion theater experience. The Public Reviews called the piece "Experimental and Adventurous" #ncstatembalondon

    Jenkins MBAs headed to The Vault Festival to see ‘Cement Garden’ for an immersion theater experience. The Public Reviews called the piece “Experimental and Adventurous” #ncstatembalondon
  5. Sunday, March 9th
  6. The Sunday (Up)Market was the perfect destination for trendspotting. The food sold at the market reflects the diversity of the city. #ncstatembalondon

    The Sunday (Up)Market was the perfect destination for trendspotting. The food sold at the market reflects the diversity of the city. #ncstatembalondon
  7. Sunday was a day for students to compare and contrast their experiences from Saturday with a trip to another popular market and well as another immersion theater performance. First stop – the Sunday (Up)Market! Market visitors flowed into the streets with sellers offering up their food and unique wares.

    This day paralleled the previous, with an immersion theater experience following a day in the market. The group saw “I Do”, a play put on by the Almeida Theatre. Divided into groups, the audience moved through six different hotel rooms and experienced the same ten minute vignettes in a different order. The performance sparked a trendspotting conversation — had anyone seen anything like it? How would the same play be received in the United States.? Is immersion theater part of larger trend about how people engage?

    Monday, March 10th
    To continue the immersion experience, students visited the Museum of London. A popular tourist destination, Dr. Reid wanted to visit this museum specifically for the “Made in London: Jewellery Now” exhibit. The exhibit features the unique pieces of some of the most creative, “boundary-pushing” jewelry designers in London. With notes scribbled in notebooks, students left the Museum of London and headed off to lunch. Some enjoyed fare from the British burger-chain, Byron’s Proper Hamburger.

  8. Students ended the day with a class session. It was an opportunity to discuss observations, potential macro trends, and more accurately answer the question – What is trendspotting?
    Tuesday, March 11th
    On Tuesday, students started the day with a walk through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Their destination – Serpentine Gallery for Martino Gamper’s “Design is a State of Mind” gallery exhibit. From there, the group took the tube to the Saatchi Gallery, for the “Body Language” exhibit. Students were asked to take notes at both galleries, identify common themes between the two exhibits, and discuss whether or not these themes may be an indication of new trends.

  9. https://youtu.be/9i0na33Jc2s
    Prof. Colbey Reid in London
  10. The day of organized activities ended with a tour of the Tower of London. An energetic tour guide told tales of 11th century London. In the evening, students gathered an evening of fun and reflection.
  11. Wednesday, March 12th
    Wednesday was a very full day! Student travelers received the email below from Professor Colbey Reid:
    9:30 Meet in hotel lobby and tube to Tate Modern

    12:15 Meet and walk across bridge to Mintel (international trendspotting firm, London HQ)

    1:00-3:00 Meet with Mintel representative to discuss trendspotting and marketing strategy

    3:00 Head back to hotel, break

    4:30-6:00 Meet for class session

    6:10 Meet in breakfast room and tube to Soho

    7:00-9:30 “Soho Unzipped” trends walking tour

  12. Headquartered in London, everything about the #Mintel office space promotes creativity and innovation #ncstatembalondon

    Headquartered in London, everything about the #Mintel office space promotes creativity and innovation #ncstatembalondon
  13. The Mintel visit was an amazing opportunity for the new trendspotters to see how the research methodologies that they had learned and put into practice for a few days was being used in a professional setting. Mintel is a global provider of market research, delivering data, trends and insights to impact business. Professional MBA student, Shaluka Perera, shared his thoughts on the Mintel meeting:

  14. Reflections on London: A Visit to Mintel
  15. Thursday, March 13th
    To explore the impact of culture on fashion trends and the history of fashion design, students walked through Kensington Garden and by the Albert Memorial to take a tour of the Victoria and Albert museum. The tour guide, a brilliant woman with a PhD, spoke about everything from 11th century fashion to the rise of British model Twiggy to the work of John Galliano. She consistently framed her comments in the context of what was happening in the world at the time – a very important consideration for trendspotting.

  16. Playing dress up in the costume exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum #latergram #ncstatembalondon

    Playing dress up in the costume exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum #latergram #ncstatembalondon
  17. The time at Victoria and Albert wasn’t all serious. The exhibit featuring theater costumes was a chance for the group to have a little fun. You’re never too old for dress up!
    Friday, March 14th
    On their final day in London, students were free to explore. Some (Beatles lovers) headed to Abbey Road, others rented commuter bikes and rode through Kensington Park, experienced traditional afternoon tea or shopped Harrods.

    Everyone gathered again in the evening for a farewell dinner. The dinner table was buzzing with stories about the days before, trend ideas to be captured in the final student reports, and plans for reuniting.

  18. You can learn more about the Jenkins MBA program here and see what other global immersions have been scheduled here.

 

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