A Look Back at The Future Laboratory in 2021

type - features
Holiday greetings from everybody at The Future Laboratory. This time last year, we were in the throes of lockdown, but like all of you decided to see opportunity in challenge, rather than challenge in opportunity. Now, we’re looking back at what the subsequent year brought us

It’s been a year like no other. While in 2020 the world stood still, 2021 has been a rollercoaster. How right we were to talk of recognising an ‘inter-Covid era’ as variants continue to blight the global social, political and economic outlook. Two years ago, when we teetered on the brink of the pandemic, little did any of us appreciate just how long Covid would take to work its way through every aspect of our lives – and then stick around. As days turned into months and now months turn into years, it’s time to re-adjust expectations, take stock of what we have learned and draw on our inner reserves to face the challenges ahead. 

We hope you manage to get some rest, respite and relaxation in the weeks to come. We will be closing our physical and digital doors at the end of the day on Thursday 23 December and re-opening them to face all that 2022 will bring on Tuesday 4 January.

Over the festive period we’ll be sharing the top trends, interviews, spaces, campaigns and innovations on LS:N Global. Here is our full publishing schedule:

20 December – Beauty & Wellness
21 December – Food & Drink
22 December – Luxury
23 December – Travel & Hospitality
27 December – Retail
28 December – Fashion
29 December – Youth
30 December – Media & Tech

In the meantime, you can discover some of The Future Laboratory’s highlights from the past 12 months. From strategic partnerships to trends and foresight events and reports, discover everything we launched in 2021 below.

We look forward to our continued engagement with you in the New Year.  

With very best wishes,

The Future Laboratory

Published by:

22 December 2021

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Animation by Vincent Schwenk


Trend Tracker

Trend Tracker : Eight New Macrotrends

The Future Laboratory has been identifying and tracking macrotrends for two decades. As The Transformative Twenties begin, we have mapped out how all these trends have evolved.

This year, we've added eight new macrotrends to the interactive microsite, including:

: Pleasure Revolution
: Equilibrium Cities
: Elastic Brands
: Eco-venience Retail
: Synchronised Care
: Five States of Luxury
: Redemptive Diets
: The Zalpha Reckoning

Use our bespoke Trend Tracker to learn how  Experiences, Brands and Consumer behaviours have changed – and what this means for the future.

Vessel Floats

Trends & Foresight Masterclass Series : All Levels

At the start of 2021 we released all three levels of The Trends & Foresight Masterclass Series, in which co-founder Martin Raymond takes students on a step-by-step journey through the latest techniques, strategies and methodologies used by global forecasters and consultancies to identify tomorrow’s big trends today.

The third and final level of the Trends and Foresight Masterclass Series consists of eight new modules. You can get access today and learn about Scenario Planning Basics, Narrative Storytelling, Forecasting and Innovation and more.

Each module includes a video lecture by Martin, accompanied by downloadable PDFs containing key trends and insights, podcasts, lesson plans and summaries, and a short questionnaire for you to test your knowledge.

Our Online Events Programme

We were thrilled to host a series of global online events this year, introducing our new macrotrends with packed programmes of practical insights, exclusive debates, and executive summaries of new sector directions.

Hosting a line up of incredible guest speaker panels, we heard from likes of: Cyrus Gilbert-Rolfe, president and managing director of EMEA and Oceania at Evrythng; Stephanie Lee, founder of Selfmade; Priya Mani, design and research consultant, and founder of Cookalore; and Paul Hill, founder of Strada; alongside The Future Laboratory's expert analysts and strategists.

Members of our trends intelligence platform LS:N Global can catch up with our previous events in the Webinar section of the platform now.

You can also explore our upcoming events for 2022 below by downloading our full calendar.

Carolina Carballo for The Future Laboratory

The Future Laboratory Methodology

The Future Laboratory’s unique proprietary methodology allows us to track, monitor and determine the key drivers of change affecting future consumers, culture and business. Despite our reputation for getting it right, we can’t predict the future. There is no crystal ball.

However, our methodology enables clients to interpret and frame all their decisions about future risk within a brand, consumer or organisational context that is provable, practical and minimises uncertainty.
We do this by understanding the influence of six global drivers causing profound, consistent – and therefore relatively predictable – change. Their impact is assessed against seven core human needs and the ensuing value shifts that change consumers’ attitudes and behaviours. This leads us to identify emerging macrotrends and microtrends, and ascertain what their implications are for the future landscape.

Our new interactive microsite breaks down our full methodology, unpacking universal value systems such as the seven human needs. 

The Future Laboratory

Future-first Strategic Solutions

Strategic foresight is the most valuable tool you can adopt to identify and chart a course for future growth and long-term prosperity. Our strategic services employ this future-first approach.

As brands continue to question what’s next for them and their customers post-Covid, a solid foundation of knowledge is required to make conclusions correctly.

Discover how our services can benefit your business. 

Our Global Communities, Cultural Navigator Network and Futures 1000 expert panel are all human-driven tools we use for mapping the trends and future landscape and filling in knowledge gaps with elusive and practical insight, and sit at the heart of our strategic services, which include:

New Trend Reports

Our downloadable  trends intelligence reports  reveal the latest key trends, market shifts and changes in consumer behaviour for the years ahead. 

Written and visualised by our strategic foresight experts, our reports draw on research published on LS:N Global, combining key markets, rising trends and our annual sector macrotrends into a beautifully designed PDF that you can download and share with your team. 

This year’s reports are packed with practical insights and inspiring case studies defining the future of sectors such as Retail, Beauty, Health & Wellness, Luxury, Hospitality, Food & Drink, Youth, Media and Sustainability.  We also provide a  set of strategic thought-starters, opportunities and worksheets to help you apply the research to your own business. Explore the full library below.

Builders Club in partnership with Apple and Radical Music, Global
YSM8 by Reform The Funk

D&I at The Lab series

In May of this year, we launched our D&I at The Lab series on The Future Laboratory blog where we hoped to keep you informed, engaged and inspired by a diverse selection of D&I-related news and features content. 

All of the contributions are from members of The Future Laboratory team. In this edition, we look at various projects, pieces of research and individuals around belonging. We hope you find this a thought-provoking and engaging read, and that it stimulates your reading and interest in the topics shared.

Stay tuned for upcoming articles in 2022. In the meantime, you can also read more on our post-urgency approach to diversity and inclusion, our approaches to Trans Inclusion and how we’re transforming the way we recruit.

Carolina Carballo for The Future Laboratory

Collaborative Innovation

Earlier this year, it was with huge pleasure, that we announced the latest expansion of our global network and associated partnerships with LATAM’s prestigious Box 1824, and Germany and Benelux’s The Cronos Group and &Koo that furthers our collective ambitions to become one of the most connected independent foresight networks globally.

'Both &Koo and Box 1824 have unrivalled reputations in their own markets, as we have in ours, but by coupling these together and plugging all into our Futures 1000 panel of global experts, along with our online foresight platform, we become a network that is still independently owned – and not subject to the fears, favours or corporate expediencies that ownership of smaller agencies by larger professional services increasingly entails.' says Martin Raymond, co-founder, The Future Laboratory.


Excited to see what 2022
will hold?

In this year's Future Forecast 2022 collection, featuring a PDF trend report and access to an hour-long webinar, you’ll discover 50 cross-sector trends and innovations, 10 industry disruptors, and the directions to monitor according to The Future Laboratory’s analysts.


Member of LS:N Global? Get access for free here.