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Trend spotting and service innovation

Tor W. Andreassen (Department of Strategy and Management, NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen, Norway)
Line Lervik-Olsen (Department of Marketing, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Giulia Calabretta (Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




Improving the commercial success rate of innovations requires alternative approaches based on social science methodologies for identifying subtle, emerging changes in consumer needs and behaviors. The purpose of this paper is to address this call by proposing trend spotting to guide innovation researchers and service managers towards innovations that are more in accordance with emerging consumer needs.


The authors develop, describe, and employ a methodology for trend spotting to derive eight consumer trends that will have a strong influence on their choices. To provide further insights into these trends, the authors label and describe three customer segments as a function of life-cycle. The goal is to provide a framework for identifying innovations that are of higher value consumers.


The authors identified eight consumer trends, i.e. Always on the go, Always logged-in, Quality information faster, Nowism, Look at me now, Privacy, Sustainable living, and return on time (RoT), present across the three life-stage segments, i.e. Young free and single, Chaos in my life, and Got my life back.

Practical implications

For illustration purpose, the authors elaborate on the trend RoT and employ their findings and framework to illustrate how the airline industry may derive ideas for valuable innovations.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time trend spotting has been employed in the field of service marketing and service innovations.



The authors are thankful to the Research Council of Norway and the Center for Service Innovation for generously sponsoring this research. The authors are also thankful for the valuable comments from two anonymous reviewers and for the help offered by the editor. The authors are listed alphabetically, thereby reflecting an equal contribution to the paper.


Andreassen, T.W., Lervik-Olsen, L. and Calabretta, G. (2015), "Trend spotting and service innovation", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 10-30.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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