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University of Cincinnati

1. Flannery, Emily. Futures Doing: Evolving Trend Forecasting in Pedagogy and Practice.

Degree: MDES, Design, Architecture, Art and Planning: Design, 2019, University of Cincinnati

Many academic programs struggle to keep pace with the rate of industry innovation. Design programs are no exception. When it comes to design innovation jobs, many firms require students to be knowledgeable in trend research methods in order to be relevant. This reality is evident in analysis of quantitative job placement data which indicated the number of positions that include the terms “trend,” “trend analysis,” and “innovation” are growing at a faster rate than design students are able to secure those positions. These positions require students to not just be able to address “what” are we designing for the future, but “why” are we designing.Trend Forecasting is a research method used frequently in the field of design to inspire innovation. It is historically rooted in apparel design, but the design field has become increasingly intradisciplinary in the past several years blurring the distinctions between fields such as apparel, interaction, and product design. As such, Trend Forecasting has evolved to include practices borrowing from scientific inquiry, design anthropology, and quantitative data analysis. Pedagogically, Trend Forecasting is often taught as a theory for understanding “what if” a design situation were different, or disrupted, and critically thinking about the implications of future shifts across social, cultural, political, and economic contexts.To identify what skills students may be lacking when pursuing design innovation positions and how that profession is changing, qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with School of Design Co-Operative education employers as well as expert industry practitioners of Trend Forecasting. The results of these interviews indicated that while the design industry is growing in their use of trend reports, the profession of Trend Forecasting is expanding as well. There is now a necessity in industry trend research to include trend translation as a method to apply or activate forecasts directly to design ideations. This indicates a practical necessity to (1) update the current forecasting methodology curriculum to be in line with industry standard and (2) development of new course content that addresses the translation of trend forecasts there-by meeting increasing industry demand and preparing students for future careers that will require Trend Forecasting and translation.This thesis generated scaled curricular interventions, rooted directly in industry insight, that are structured for upcoming 2019/2020 academic year planning with the goal to enable students to adapt quickly to industry skills demand. The interventions are designed in 1-day, 3-day, 5-day, 5-week, and 16-week formats to offer flexibility in meeting the necessary level of practice (introductory, basic, intermediate, and advanced). The broader intent of these interventions is to demonstrate the impact of translating emerging industry insights into classroom activities to create a circularity of innovation from the classroom, to industry, back to the classroom again. Advisors/Committee Members: Wizinsky, Matthew (Committee Chair).

Subjects/Keywords: Design; trend; innovation; forecasting; curricula; design; industry

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APA (6th Edition):

Flannery, E. (2019). Futures Doing: Evolving Trend Forecasting in Pedagogy and Practice. (Masters Thesis). University of Cincinnati. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Flannery, Emily. “Futures Doing: Evolving Trend Forecasting in Pedagogy and Practice.” 2019. Masters Thesis, University of Cincinnati. Accessed November 17, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Flannery, Emily. “Futures Doing: Evolving Trend Forecasting in Pedagogy and Practice.” 2019. Web. 17 Nov 2019.


Flannery E. Futures Doing: Evolving Trend Forecasting in Pedagogy and Practice. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. University of Cincinnati; 2019. [cited 2019 Nov 17]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Flannery E. Futures Doing: Evolving Trend Forecasting in Pedagogy and Practice. [Masters Thesis]. University of Cincinnati; 2019. Available from: