Trend Seminar

New technologies set the agenda for disruptive innovations, yet not all of them prove to be a market success. It is hence highly important to understand how the business environment may develop in the future. Within the Trend Seminar,
students analyze trends, describe scenarios and develop promising business ideas. The project partners share their
knowledge with the students and in return benefit from the insights and ideas of the technology-affine, creative and highly motivated students.

The findings are published as a book in the CDTM “Trend Report” series. Former Trend Reports cover topics such as “Smart Grid Infrastructures”, “Developer Platforms”, “Tracking & Tracing Technologies”, and others.

Find all “Trend Repors” in the bookstore.

Course Structure

The Trend Seminar is made up of three main phases:

First, the topic agreed upon with the industry partner is being intensively prepared by two research assistants from the CDTM management team. In the first phase of the Trend Seminar, students discover and analyze trends and current developments in various relevant fields, such as in technology, society and regarding the political and legal regulations.

Afterwards, the main drivers behind the identified trends are analyzed. The most significant drivers then build the basis for four scenarios of the future, which are consequently described by the various teams.

Finally, a number of business ideas are developed with respect to the possible developments of the future, following a structured ideation process. The most promising ideas are then developed into business concepts and presented and discussed with the industry partner.

At then end, i.e. after the seven full-time weeks of the course, the discovered trends, scenarios and business concepts are put together in the form of a book of 300-350 pages, the Trend Report.

  • „The joint trend seminar [...] has been a great success. We highly appreciated the motivation and professionalism of the students, something you cannot always expect at this level in such projects. [...]

    Not just the results but also the discussions with the students have been very inspiring for us. [...]

    Actually, we did not just use the results for defining R&D projects but also hired some of the students for internships and full-time employments.

    Martin Birkner (Siemens AG) Project partner for the Trend Seminar "Urban Mobility Concepts"
  • “I was impressed by the creativity of the students and their enthusiasm for the project. [...]

    Working with the students was extremely inspiring and also helped to step back and question the basic assumptions that are predominant in the industry. [...]

    The work with the CDTM really showed the benefits of interdisciplinary and diversity to innovation. In order to come up with radically new lines of thought you have to create the kind of creative abrasion that is the basic idea behind the CDTM.”

    Andre Hainzlmaier (Innovation Strategy, Audi Electronics Venture, Audi AG)Project partner for the Trend Seminar “Human-Machine Interaction in Individual Mobility”
  • “It was a real pleasure for us to work with such a highly motivated and engaged student team.”

    Joachim Schonowski and Ernst-Joachim Steffens (Telekom Innovation Laboratories) Project partners for the Trend Seminar “Data Marketplaces in Smart Cities”