Futures Playbook - Aurecon

Navigate Uncertainty. Anticipate. Act.

Trend Implication Analysis

trend-implications Trend Implications Analysis helps to identify what might cause the trajectory of a key trend to change over time, and create a deeper understanding of an uncertain external environment.

This play draws attention to the fact that many trends are not linear and can change speed and direction over time.

It helps you to anticipate how and what might happen if a trend changes, or to identify potential blind spots and new sources of risk.

Exploring how trends may change course or direction helps identify risks, uncertainties and opportunities, and the implications they might have for your organisation.

Implications + Insights

Why run this play?

The Implications + Insights play explores and identifies the impacts, insights and implications of change.

This play can help you:

  • Understand what could cause key trends to change
  • Explore what might create uncertainty in the future
  • Prototype forecasts on key trends
  • Identify signposts to monitor in your external operating environment
  • Bring to light potential disruptions

How do I run this play?

Play Overview

6–8 1–2 hours Moderate to Hard

As a group, discuss the trends that may impact your organisation and rank them from high to low impact. The top three most impactful trends are the ones you will focus on in this play.

Using the Trend Implications Analysis canvas and Post-It notes, you will need to fill out the following columns:


Describe each of the most impactful trends, thinking about:

  • Why is the trend important to the topic you are exploring?
  • What is its current trajectory?
  • What data sources did you use to understand this trend?

Place your descriptions in the boxes in the left-hand column, using one box per trend.


Looking at the middle column of the canvas, think about what might cause the trends to change trajectory. As a group, discuss and record what might cause a trend to increase, decrease or stay the same. Record your impacts on the canvas.

Some other questions to consider include:

  • What would be the impact of this change in your operating environment?
  • What impacts are such changes likely to have?


Next, you need to consider the implications of these changes for your group or topic by working through each of the boxes on the right-hand side of the canvas.

For each of the trajectory changes, think about:

  • What are the implications of this change?
  • What does it mean for the work that you do?
  • What are the problems you are responding to?

Finally, reflect on what you have discussed and uncovered while running this play. You can have an open discussion or use the following questions as a guide:

  • What do the patterns that have emerged mean for the work you do?
  • Which trajectories pose the most risk?
  • Which trajectories open up the biggest opportunities?
  • How might we need to respond if the unexpected changes occur?
  • Should something change, are we resilient enough to survive it?


The Trend Implication Analysis Canvas and Facilitation Guide by Aurecon is licensed under CC BY 4.0


Think logically!
These conversations can be tricky and require you to think logically outside the box about what might change and how. You will find some trends will be easier than others, but it is the ones you struggle with where you may find the most insight.

Try and focus the conversation on what might cause the trend to change, and what impact it would have.

The Play: in action

To help our teams better anticipate how to respond to changes in their market and understand where such changes may come from, Aurecon used the Trend Implications Analysis play.

This formed part of an internal workshop to methodically address the possible trends, impacts and implications.

The group identified how uncertainty surrounding project trends would influence their current approach to maintaining their pipeline of work.

To prepare for this scenario, the group built an understanding of the different levers that might cause such changes to occur, as well as catered for the potential new sources of risk and how they might approach these new scenarios.

Ready to find your future?

While this page gives you everything you need to run the Play yourself, you might prefer to work with the people who know the frameworks and theories best. Aurecon can help guide you through your Futures Playbook experience and help you navigate your digital future.

Contact us for an initial conversation

Next steps?

You can use this Strategy Play to identify what actions you need to take now to achieve your vision of the future.

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