Image [cc] edans

Once again, Futurist Andy Hines has widened my horizons and exposed me to ideas and professions that I never knew existed. Today’s expanded horizon covers the profession of “Coolhunters.”

Now according to Wikipedia:

Coolhunting is a term coined in the early 1990s referring to a new breed of marketing professionals, called coolhunters. It is their job to make observations and predictions in changes of new or existing cultural trends. The word derives from the aesthetic of “cool”.

Since this has been around for nearly twenty years, I guess I only have myself to blame for not know about it before now.

One of the things that stood out in Andy’s post today was the defining of his own profession as a Futurist, and how that plays off of other professions:

I think we could agree on what a professional futurist is or does, and then note our relationships to say, strategic planners or technology assessors, perhaps competitive intelligence professionals and even coolhunters.

I didn’t realize that my Competitive Intelligence friends were in such ‘cool’ company, but it makes sense when you back up and think about it. Futurists, strategic planners, assessors of technology, coolhunters, and competitive intelligence professionals all seem to have a duty to spot trends, look for weak signals, and advice on how those potential shifts could affect those we are advising. It is very interesting to think about that from the 30,000 feet, and how the different areas that each profession covers. One of the commenters to the article even went as far as to graph out a quadrant displaying Long/Short Term and Public/Corporate areas of the Futurist profession and assigned a Coolhunter subgroup in the short-term boxes. I wonder where the CI professionals fall in that quadrant?

I’m not sure that I could get approval for my law firm to hire someone with the title of “Coolhunter”, but that doesn’t mean that CI professionals couldn’t benefit from understanding more about what they do. To get some ideas on how Andy Hines, as a Futurist, compares his profession to Coolhunting, check out his interview with iCoolhunt.