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Why Trend Predictions Suck (And How To Fix Them)

The first time I wrote about trends, I was inspired by bullshit.

I remember reading an article with a headline that promised “5 Trends That Will Change The Future.” The first trend on the list was “Mobile Usage Will Continue To Rise.” That was the moment when I understood deeply why so many people mistrust trend predictions.

As I dug deeper, I started to discover that there are actually three reasons why most trend predictions are so bad:

  1. They are self serving. The only people declaring 2020 to be “the year of [your product here]” are the content marketers from the companies that sell that product.
  2. They are obvious. It is undeniably true that mobile usage will indeed continue to rise. So what? Many trend predictions take pains to point out the perfectly obvious.
  3. They aren’t actionable. Even trend predictions that seem good lack the next level of insights to make them useful in real life.

Back in 2011 I wrote my first “Non-Obvious Trend Report,” spotlighting 15 trends that year which I thought were changing the world of marketing and social media. Over the following several years, I expanded the report to include trends about culture, technology, media and education. In the process, I discovered the answer to my own question about how to make trend predictions better.

The secret to predicting the future is getting better at paying attention to and understanding the accelerating present.

It’s hard to believe, but that was ten years ago and over the last several months I’ve been working on the research for the tenth annual edition of my trend predictions — called Non-Obvious Megatrends. Unlike previous years, this year’s book will be a bit different. For the first time, I’m taking a look back over the past ten years of research and it all started with a sorting exercise using my signature “Haystack Method” to group similar trends together. Here’s a time lapse video of that:

Over the next several months, I’ll be sharing more about the process leading up to publication of the book in January, 2020. In the meantime, if you want to get an early look at the book and get new non-obvious ideas in your inbox every Thursday, make sure to join my email newsletter list here:

PS – If you want to take a deeper look inside my Haystack Method approach and how it works, check out this feature article about my process.

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About Rohit

A keynote speaker on trends, innovation, marketing, storytelling and diversity.

Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to inspire more non-obvious thinking in the world. He is the #1 Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of eight books and is widely considered one of the most entertaining and original speakers on disruption, trends and marketing in the world.

Rohit has been invited to keynote events in 32 countries … and over the past year, given more than 100 virtual talks from his home studio. He previously spent 15 years as a marketing strategist at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett and also teaches marketing and storytelling as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

He loves the Olympics, actively hates cauliflower and is a proud dad of boys.

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Do you need a speaker that can help your audience be more innovative and anticipate the future?

For more than a decade, Rohit Bhargava has been inspiring audiences at NASA, Disney, Schwab, Microsoft, SXSW, Coca-Cola and hundreds of other clients with his signature non-obvious keynote presentations. He is a master at weaving recent stories into his talks in a way that helps audiences better understand the world today, while also preparing to lead the future.

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#1 WSJ & USAToday Bestselling Author

Rohit is the author of 8 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

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