I am really into magazine's, books, and searching online, for trends in a variety of different mediums. I am open to anything, fine art, fashion, music, films, metal, food, nature, home furnishings, and what ever is hot at the time. I have found in all my searching that there are very few new ideas, just designers creating by reinventing the world around us.
All this information can be helpful, by providing you a direction to follow, but it is easy to absorb to much information at once. I know, when I sit down with a stack of magazines, get absorbed into looking at the pictures, I end up with more info then I want or need in my head. Lately I have gotten into the habit of having a note pad with me so I can write down all the important trends and happenings I want to remember.
It is very important to be selective with your sources. When you find what works for you then use them to develop a focused range of designs.
Remember if your mind is open anything can trigger a creative spark. The trick is to be able to select the best route to follow.
Do you follow trends? Does it help with your creative process?