Futurists scan for trends, signals and indicators of new directions the economy might take. Will the China boom continue and what does that mean? Will coal-seam gas exploration in the United States lead to economic recovery?
On a national scale, are there trends such as employment rates, award rates and wage increases worth noting? Perhaps there's a trend of increasing pharmaceutical benefits or a change in environmental rebates for home owners using solar panels that should be noted.
On a micro scale, are trends signalling a resurgence or demise in a local suburb or municipality? Is there a new residential, commercial or retail development planned?
Other economic trends include "I need, you have', which means people would rather hire than buy. This has led to the preference to hiring a car through a car club versus buying one, as well as to paying for access to music collections versus buying individual songs or albums.
Another economic trend worth noting is that an ever increasing number of AirBnb hosts report they use the income to help pay off their mortgages.
Larger economic trends can be indicators for our own nation's economies and the demand for an organisation's products and services. Perhaps the trend of ever increasing venture capital funding from crowd funding is worth keeping in mind. At time of writing, crowd funding in the United States was estimated to be worth over $16 billion, as well, on its way to raising $34 billion.
Environmental trends - I've found that sometimes there's push back around scanning for environmental trends. A financier might say, "This has nothing to do with me." "Really?"I ask. I quickly follow up with some relevant trends on organisations investing in environmental projects, such as Google's environmental investments in wind farms and financing for solar residential rooftops or I might mention the $8 billion dollars invested by households in renewable energy. The rather sheepish financier usually sees the opportunity after those remarks.