Friday, February 25, 2005

So what's the diference between a fad and a trend?

I just came across a keynote given by David Zach, a futurist based in Milwaukee. He was speaking at the 2003 International Public Works Congress and Exposition. Although Zach starts by admitting that it is impossible to predict the future, he passed on a methodology that can be used as a guide in making certain assumptions, in the form of his personal mantra: “Play with fads, work with trends, live by principles” He went on to say "A fad is something that you can safely ignore," he said. "Fads tend to be pushed-they tend to be top-down, a spice, a flavor. But think about your work. Can you follow fads? You have to resist them. "Trends can be from the ground up," he continued. "They tend to be based upon needs, not wants. And a trend is not something which you can safely ignore. You may not agree with it, you may want to fight against it; you may support it, you may want to work for it; but you have to think about it, you have to respond to it." Continuing with the final element of his mantra, Zach then stressed that a principle is "something that doesn't change-'We hold these truths to be self-evident' kind of a thing. The stuff you can stand on. Because in an age of constant change where everything is uncertain, decisions become easy when you know your values. You have to know what you believe, you have to know what doesn't change. You have to have a place to stand, because that's what the future is all about."