td Trend Sonar Data-driven Trend Research


Although today’s business environment is increasingly data-driven, most companies are still stuck with yesterday’s tools to work on the topics of tomorrow. Trend work is still very much based on trend gurus or time-consuming, manual desk research. The opinion of experts is crucial for trend work, but better and faster than asking just a few, would be the ongoing, automated observation and analysis of a broad set of opinion leaders & innovators (through expert blogs, scientific publications & patent fillings) as well as opinion-formers (through mass media).

Furthermore, oftentimes trend knowledge and data are spread across the company, hidden in trend reports and unconnected data sources, making it hard to access, analyze and integrate trends into decision making and trend-based execution.

So we saw a clear need for a dedicated data-driven trend research solution. And because we couldn’t find a solution on the market we decided to develop our own tool for quantified foresight: The SONAR.



What’s New? What’s Next? Bold questions that drive trend researchers, innovators and marketeers every day, we wanted to find a better solution for.

We teamed up with the German Institute for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) to develop a dedicated data-driven trend research solution that leverages digital data and text mining to optimize the trend analysis and management process by enabling companies to:

  • IDENTIFY weak signals and upcoming trends
  • QUANTIFY and rank trends based on comparable trend metrics
  • ACCESS all relevant trend data in one central trend dashboard



Referring to Everett Rogers’ diffusion of innovations theory, we believe that trends can be measured by their coverage in media sources. Rogers highlighted that the diffusion of innovations is essentially a social process in which subjectively perceived information about a new idea is communicated. Therefore, we analyse trends by its coverage across multiple media sources and measure all trends by three comparable trend metrics:

  • Volume: Measures trend interest based on the number of articles of a trend relative to all articles within the Sonar index within a certain time period and region.
  • Growth: Measures how the trend interest (Volume) has evolved within the last 24 months by comparing the last 12 months vs. the 12 months before.
  • Momentum: Measures the hotness of a trend based on short-term growth of the trend interest (Volume) within the last 2 months.

To gather trend-relevant data, we built the SONAR based on environmental scanning methodologies. Based on the STEEP framework (an acronym for Social, Technological, Economical, Environmental and Political) we defined and operationalized 159 topic fields for which we scrape data from patents, scientific publications as well as from a high quality curated list of 5.000 English news sites and expert blogs. So far there are more than 30 million documents indexed – and more are being added every day.



The SONAR is the first dedicated data-driven trend research solution that optimizes trend discovery and analysis and makes all relevant trend data accessible in one central data-as-a-service software solution. With the SONAR our clients like Volkswagen, Siemens or Lufthansa can access 200+ trends defined by td experts and set up their own trends by analyzing the continuously growing database of 35 million indexed documents of scientific publications, patents as well as expert blog and online news articles.

Sign up for our free version and test all Sonar features for 30 days.