Someone admitted to me in e-mail today that they ” have finally begun to feel like ……I might not be able to keep up!” This, in an online discussion of an emerging trend that will have significant implications in the future.
As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about trends and the future, I’m often asked how I keep up. One method is through the sophisticated trend tracking I do – I pull in vast amounts of information from newsclipping services and other sources, and analyze what I see. In order to manage the flood, I’ve recently settled on using Traction, a sophsiticated tool that has allowed me to build an internal knowledge database of the issues and trends I track.
Traction runs on a Linux server in my home office.
And essentially, I feed Traction with all kinds of news articles and observations on a regular basis. Each day, I get a view of the information I’ve grabbed, so I can quickly refresh my observations:
I can go back at any point in time and review information by category — innovation, corporate culture, emerging trends, ethics — in order to pull together what’s needed for my presentations, articles or material for interviews.
I can add markup to specific articles to highlight key points — in order to easily find it in the future — and in an instant, pull up summaries of all these key points. Plus, I can do a full-text search of all articles in order to find that nugget that I remember I saw. Here’s an example of a highlight within an article:
I’ve been working with Traction for just a few weeks, but the more I use it, the more I discover it to be an extremely powerful knowledge tool.