Catch up with novel developments before your competitors do.
You can make use of reports of trend watchers who summarize major trends in almost any area. Some trends may be short term (a hype), while others are much more stable over time. Make sense of trends based on their underlying data, for example: consumer behaviour, demographics, technological developments. Relate these trends to your own design challenge.
A trend analysis is oftentimes used to convince clients of the novelty and timeliness of a design. Some companies employ trend spotters who get time to bring in new developments as a form of strategic company planning.