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Dion Chang

Futurist Profile

 

Dion Chang

Trend analyst
Owner/Founder: Flux Trends

He is an innovator, creative thinker, visionary and renowned trend analyst. Although his feet remain firmly planted on African soil, he uses a global perspective to source new ideas, gauge the zeitgeist and identify cutting edge trends. His trends analysis firm – Flux Trends – specializes in tracking shifting social dynamics and understanding consumer mind-set. The focus is translating global trends to ensure relevance for South African business. His extensive experience of over 15 years in the magazine industry provides insight into the ever changing relationship between brands, consumers and the communication channels that bind them.

Dion answered a few questions about his perspective and on being a futures thinker.

ABOUT YOU AS A FUTURES THINKER / PRACTITIONER

You identify yourself as an African futures thinker or practitioner. How would you describe to the woman or man on the street what it is that you do in this regard?

I observe. I track shifting social dynamics, their causes as well as their trajectory, and advise companies on ever-changing consumer mindset.

How many years have you worked as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Seven years, with a main focus on global macro trends and their effect on South Africa and Africa.

In which countries or places have you had working experience as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

South Africa, and briefly – Helsinki (with Nokia)

In what languages have you undertaken futures / foresight related work or research?

Only English

What is it that motivates you to work or participate in the foresight / future studies / related field

I enjoy being at the start of things/pioneering projects and if it has not been done before, the trailblazing aspect is an irresistible lure for me.

What goal/s would you most like to reach with your work as an African futures thinker / practitioner?

Assist companies with changing their perceptions of the New World Order we are fast entering into.

Who or what most influenced your thinking as a futures thinker / practitioner, and how?

My previous career in the fashion and media industries. It taught me that change was a constant, and the advantages of being ahead of the curve.

What is your main disciplinary background? (i.e. your primary training / qualification)

Fashion media space, specifically a long career in glossy magazines.

How do other people describe you and how do you describe yourself?

Others describe me as… pioneer

I describe myself as… curious

 

YOUR PERSPECTIVE

What is one of your favourite quotes about the future?

When guiding companies through future trends, only be 20 minutes ahead of the curve, not 2 hours ahead, otherwise you’ll “scare the horses”.

How would you describe the state of African futures thinking right now?

The African continent has the biggest potential to adapt to our new world order.

What is, in your opinion, the main barrier to uptake of futures knowledge by African institutions and organisations?

Being too focused on 20th century business templates which are changing rapidly, and proving obsolete or simply inappropriate.

If you were to give advice to someone who wants a career in African foresight / future studies, what would you say to him or her?

Read everything from financial media to trashy tabloid/popular culture publications – you need a holistic view of the world, not one that is siloed in one particular industry, or a personal area of interest.

What are your recommended readings for every African futures thinker / practitioner?

What are your recommendations for other favourite futures resources: websites, newsfeeds, mailing lists, associations, etc.?

 

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