Understanding change: 'Microtrends'

The political strategist Mark Penn (adviser to Tony Blair in the 2005 election, legendary number-cruncher to Bill Clinton and now chief strategist to Hilary Clinton) is publicising a new book, Microtrends: the Small Forces Behind Today’s Big Changes, as discussed in this interesting Spectator article.

Penn argues that the days when macro-trends shaped the world is over; society is now shaped by microtrends.  At the heart of this is the ease with which individuals can find like-minded people through the internet ('No matter how offbeat their choices, they can now find 100,000 people or more who share their taste for deep fried yak on a stick'), although other trends like the expansion of tolerance, changing means of production and manufacturing are also contributing to the explosion of choice.

His key point, however, is that alongside groups that exist for shared interest or amusement are groups with the capability to send shockwaves through the social and political system. This power is partly down to political strategists like Penn himself, who seek to disaggregate the voting public and appeal to particular groups (he was the man who famously identified the category of ‘Soccer Moms’ when working for Bill Clinton in 1996).

This is all interesting stuff for VCOs who emerge from groups of like-minded people and seek to change the world for the better and offers an insight into changes in how groups in civil society form, and how politicians may in future respond to niche interests.

Read the full Spectator article.

Last updated at 15:08 Mon 18/May/09.
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