Future Trends from The Future Laboratory’s Global Futures Forum in London

By 20th October 2016 October 25th, 2016 Events

Last week, I was in London at The Future Laboratory’s first-ever Global Futures Forum. It was a day of disruption, innovation and future-preparedness. The daylong event consisted of The Future Laboratory’s futures presentations, panels, and Disruptors’ Labyrinth.

Here are the top key take-outs from the day:

We are Living in a ‘Dislocated World’:

The Future Laboratory’s founders’ Chris and Martin’s global consumer futures presentation highlighted how we are increasingly living in a Dislocated World characterised by distrust, disconnection, disenfranchisement, disgust and disorder. “Public trust in governments, the financial sector and brands is at an all-time low. Racial division, climate change, inequality and terrorism dominate the headlines. It is tempting to deal with each wave of disruption as it comes, but to successfully navigate the future we must look at the bigger picture.”

Consumer drivers of the Dislocated World include: discarded futures, state of disorder, systematic distrust, technological discord, rising disenchantment, and income disconnection.


Some key ideas on how to forge a path in this Dislocated World:

  • Automation Anxiety: People are now less willing to hand over their personal data. Security at 51% and privacy at 35% rank as top definitions of future luxury.
  • Post-materialism: Product-lead brands are finding it difficult to appeal to those who place less value on materialism. 72% of Millenials want to spend more on experiences than physical things.
  • Media Fatigue: People are tired of spending their emotional energy on content that causes anxiety. Ad-blocker usage ranges from %12 in South Korea to 38% in Poland and %36 in Greece. The New York Times provided grief counselors on Facebook Live for those traumatized after a recent terrorist attack.



The Great Disruptors – Learning from their Past Successes

Wired UK’s editor, David Rowan’s presentation was about the key learning’s from the great disruptors’ past successes. 7 rules of successful disruption was:

  • Partner creatively: People coming together with different skill sets to do things together is the key to driving change.
  • Use data in creative ways: Data obsession is influencing everything; from how quickly you can grow food to how you utilize live pricing.
  • Embrace the network: In this new ecosystem businesses go to the crowd and use their community; staff are recruited through chat forums.
  • Reframe the problem: Great disruptors are shifting their markets into new terrains, like the peer-to-peer insurance company, which is reframing insurance.
  • Kill friction: “We should thank Ad Blockers for telling us that consumers think there are too many ads, we need to take the friction away.”
  • Enable collision: How can you rearrange your workspace to facilitate this collision?
  • Re-invent the interfaces: Artificial intelligence is accelerating so quickly with face recognition and emotions set to be the next frontier.


Innovator’s Toolkit from The Future Laboratory:

The Future Laboratory’s senior partner and chief growth officer Tom Savigar and insight director Philippa Wagner delivered a keynote on the Innovator’s Toolkit.

The presentation covered the idea of re-assessing the term ‘innovation’. “We began to mistake innovation for technological invention. We are beginning to re-assess the term’s true meaning.“

Top 3 toolkits were:

  • Redefine relationships: Ikea has opened Space 10, a research hub and exhibition space designed to examine the future of its products.
  • Become a Silo-buster: Gender, ethnic and cultural silos inhibit innovation and discourage the cultural friction needed to spark ideas.
  • Future-proofing 2.0: Future scenario planning and modeling based on advanced data analytics and extrapolation will become a mainstream innovation strategy.


Disrupting the Brain – The Sunshine and Shadows of the Innovative Mind

Baroness Susan Greenfield’s, CBE, FRCP, presentation was on how humans use their mind. The key discussion was the idea of how human beings are different from robots. Humans are using not only their brain but also their mind, which is an important factor to differentiate us from the robots. One other interesting thing she shared was: “In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 5 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think… and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts.” (NO JOKE!:)



Innovator’s Picnic Panel:

Panel chair: Luke Robert Mason, director, Virtual Futures. Panelists included: Claus Sendlinger, founder and CEO Design Hotel’s; Joe Coppard, co-founding partner, Another Tomorrow: Jonathan Sands OBE, Chairman, Elmwood’s: Samantha Conti, London Bureau Chief, Women’s Wear Daily, discussed the future of innovation. The key take out for me: Brands need to create an innovation culture to transform a brand from a modern-day success into a future innovation house. Investing in culture is one of the key steps to success, especially; having a diverse culture is crucial for real innovation.


Getting Future Fit

The Future Laboratory’s CEO Trevor Hardy revealed their new tool; FITTER. FITTER is an acronym for the 6 pillars needed to future proof businesses. With this tool The Future Laboratory will be able to evaluate the performance of your business’ future readiness. Watch this space for more to learn about the new tool, which will be revealed in November:


F: Finance for agility

I: Innovation

T: The Long View

T: Trust

E: Employee Enablement

R: Resourcefulness



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Disruptors’ Labyrinth:

In the Disruptors’ Labyrinth, I had the exciting opportunity to meet with the next-generation disruptors and brands set to become tomorrow’s Uber or Airbnb. My favorite brands were the Arctic Shores, a game-based assessment provider for recruitment; The FaceGym, a tool to workout approach to facial ageing and the Biocol Lab, natural supplements to recover from the excesses of modern life. I suggest checking them out!

The Art of Innovation and Design Effectiveness:

Jonathan Sands OBE, chairman, Elmwood had a conversation with The Future Laboratory’s co-founder Martin Raymond about the art of innovation and design effectiveness. He shared that: “Consumers are buying into brands that give emotional and experiential benefits as a form of escape.” What escape does your brand provide?

As always, it was an exciting, eye-opening and informative day!

Contact us if you would like to future proof your business. We can share the details of the tailored ‘Dislocated world’ bespoke workshop for your brand, in partnership with The Future Laboratory.


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