Hello Rupert, art, culture and economics — your studies have taken many directions. How did trend research emerge from this?
At art school, I studied observational drawings, image design, aesthetics and conceptional projects. As part of my other studies, I dealt with economics and the cultural region of Latin America. Trend research was one of the interfaces between the two, because here everything comes together: design, economics and social science. I've also always been fascinated to understand what drives people, what’s changing?
Has working for ABI helped you to answer this question?
Absolutely. Car and mobility products not only move people physically, but they are also very emotional products and services. I learn a lot from very different colleagues from the fields of strategy, marketing, sales, design and technical development. And I meet interesting people at the agencies and research institutes with whom we collaborate. When we speak with experts and “trend receivers”, we talk about how they want to live and be mobile in ten years’ time and about which products they are impressed by and which enhance their everyday life.
And how exactly will you go forward and work with your knowledge of potential new topics and trends?
It’s not possible to predict the future. However, we are able to pool figures and data, indications, observations and reasoning, as well as requirements and statements. We use these resources to develop possible and plausible texts, images and stories around the question of what will move people in the 2020s and beyond. This is how we would like to help recognize potential and tap into the markets of tomorrow.
What qualities do you need to bring to ABI as far as trend research is concerned?
Curiosity is important, having a contrasting point of view, the desire to spot a pattern. The projects are always international projects; they involve different countries and cultures. They require you to have an active imagination and you need to be interested in values, themes, brands and new markets. You need to want to uncover tracks and paths which can turn into routes worth pursuing, but you can't frantically go off looking for them and you should leave a lot of options open for yourself.