Robyn Waters, who was vice president for trend, design and product development at Target Corporation until she formed her own consulting firm RW Trend, is author of the snappy and smart new book “The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape.” She says, “Paradoxes are powerful tools that can help you discover the opposing realities of the customer and the contradictory aspects of the market place. Too many businesses try to make a black-and-white proposition. Either/or. I believe that within the paradox lies an opportunity to get out of the black and white box and step into a world of colorful possibilities.” She notes that Target’s achievement was to become, paradoxically, the upscale discounter, and that its “secret sauce” was is huge commitment to design, which would be the tool used to translate trends into great products and customer experiences: “Ultimately, design was the competitive weapon that brought beauty not just to the product, but to the bottom line.” Waters says that the trends in “The Hummer and the Mini” are all paradoxes. As she studies and explains these paradoxes, her special kind of trend-watching doesn’t just tell us what’s next, but what’s IMPORTANT. Citing anthropologists Margaret Mead’s exhortation to “remember that we are absolutely unique, just like everyone else,” Waters says that if you can embrace that thought you’ll have no problem embracing the paradoxes in “The Hummer and the Mini.”

Robyn Waters, “The Hummer and the Mini.” BrightsideGroup 2006