- December 1, 2010 Vol. 4 No. 11

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If You Know It When You See It, Clap Your Hands: Emerging Trends Can Be Hard to Spot – But Are Well Worth Finding

by Richard Fleming

When does a trend become recognisable as such? When enough people have seen some significance in a progression of numbers or statements or events? When enough time has passed? When someone declares a trend to be so? With an economic recession, for example, it’s quite straightforward — two consecutive quarters of negative GDP numbers, and you’ve got yourself a recession. You may not want one, but you’ve got one. We’ve had one and, with people talking more openly now about the possibility of a double-dip situation as economic growth falters, we may get another one.

It’s not just the word “trend” — the dictionary defines it as “a general tendency or direction” — that can be hard to put a handle on. Two other such terms are “long term” and “strategy”. Opinions may differ, but what’s the long term if it’s not a series of short

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