I don’t usually talk on planes, with the exception of the moment we land in Detroit, and fellow Michiganians begin to murmur about being home and start showing each other on our hands what part of the state we still have to get to from the airport.

I had another exception on a recent return trip from Chicago. Pleased I got the side with only one seat on our shoebox of a plane, I settled in for solitary, quiet flight, until the man who smiled at me at the gate sat down kitty corner and started up a conversation.

He asked me if I thought he could knock down the wall of the plane. A continual skeptic but raised to be polite, I demurely smiled and shrugged. He pressed the point. Did I think he could knock down the plane wall? I silently renewed my vow to keep to myself on future flights, and then said I supposed anything is possible. He proceeded to rap his fist several times down the plane wall. He wasn’t crazy: It was all about your perspective.

Following trends can get dicey. As we look at several patterns in this issue, including The Eurofication of Private Label? and Food Trends: Shaping the Way Americans Eat, read the information, but try to process it with a new viewpoint. It puts your company’s own stamp on industry directions and keeps us from becoming lemmings.

 Adopting atypical thought patterns and employing an open-minded approach to the data you receive daily may be just enough to give you your brand’s next “ah-ha” moment.