The Diffusion of a Trend through Society: An in Depth Analysis and Understanding of the Links that Connect the Different Stages of the Trend Diffusion Process From Megatrend to Product Manifestations

Alexandra Bethien

Student thesis: Master thesis


Societal factors such as urbanization, ageing, lack of natural resources and the fast-paced society have given rise to many trends of which this thesis will focus on three: Health, Community and Convenience. In a comparative analysis, it is illustrated that there are clear links between the different levels of trends, macro and micro, and the products that follow, as well as illustrating that all trends are connected as they are formed by the same shifts in society.
Megatrends are shaped by the shifts in society which cause challenges to the structure, and creates a need for change and innovation. Megatrends are indicators of the overarching effects of economy, culture, environment and society. Shifts in these factors will cause problems and challenges, as society must try and adapt by adjusting the structure and thought processes to match the spirit of the times.
The three cases each have their distinctive effects on society, however, they do collide and coincide as they are affected by the same global forces. Likewise, the subsequent microtrends are also overlapping one another, as one innovation made to tackle the challenges wrought by one megatrend may affect other sectors of society as well. For example, the environmental challenges faced by society within the Community megatrend may also affect the microtrends and manifestation that arise from the Convenience megatrend. Hereby, the focus is no longer on separating and fixing the problem, but efficiently tackling several problems at once.
The Health megatrend focusses on challenges that affect the health of citizens, however, health issues are, arguably, rising due to environmental problems as well as lifestyle choices. Hereby, the challenge is no longer strictly within the area of healthcare, but it also spreads into the community, as well as personal convenience and lifestyle.
The microtrends that arise from the various megatrends are linked to them, in part, by the societal factors, however, they are also inextricably linked by human interaction. The focal point of the thesis is the role of the individual in the context of global shifts. How do human beings act, react, think and feel when their world is disrupted by global challenges? The linking aspects that are most dominant are individual needs and motivation, community requirements, human interactions and ingenuity. This process is fueled by the spirit of the times, which includes the wide use of technology in order to effectively communicate and thereby innovate. The linking aspects are all founded in the present situation: meaning the environmental and social challenges, the changing social behaviors and the global cultural shifts. All these aspects are instrumental in the development of trends, and in their diffusion process.
The manifestations that are created from the diffusion process are ‘children of the revolution’, or in other words, they are the result of the process. They also have the potential to become the catalysts of a new micro- or megatrend, as they may create a brand new set of challenges to society. An example of such disruption could be the increasing digitalization combined with the need for efficiency and convenience, resulting in products that gather all information into one gadget. This gadget may then cause disruption if security is not equally strengthened and adapted to the new forum of use. Hereby the gadget in question, a result of the megatrend Community, has given rise to a new challenge, security, which, if not properly identified and adjusted, can cause disruption, resulting in cultural or attitudinal shift in society.
The thesis is an illustrative account of the factors that affect the trend diffusion process and the actors that affect and are affected by it.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages89