Back to the F**kture: Henry Coutinho Mason & Rohit Bhargava

type - podcast
The Future Laboratory’s co-founder and LS:N Global’s editor in chief Martin Raymond discusses all things normal (but not so everyday – yet!) with Future Normal authors Henry Coutinho Mason and Rohit Bhargava in our latest Back to the F**kture podcast episode.


Reluctant futurists is the collective descriptor used by Henry Coutinho Mason and Rohit Bhargava to describe their current career trajectory in my latest Back to the F**kture podcast. Their preferred term, they tell me, is near futurists since their work is invariably about a quest to catalogue and understand the implications of the biggest innovations on our lives today and over the coming years. 

The ‘today’ bit is important, since the focus of their singular and collective thinking is not about looking at what could change the future – a very standard thing for futurists, they tell me – ‘but to look at what already has’ and then they ask themselves the question, in turn, ‘Do we want this change to be part of humanity’s future?’ 

To forecast, then, they look at the present: what’s happening now, who is doing it, where it’s happening and which are the innovator businesses adopting or driving it. As Henry puts it, ‘Any new business innovation, or start-up or initiative from an existing brand, is a bet on the future.’

‘Taken in isolation,’ adds Rohit ‘each of these bets is a signal that a group of people believes their view of the future will be successful. When similar wagers are being made by multiple businesses in a diverse range of markets and categories, we can extract insights about where the future of ‘normal’ is going.’ 

Normal, however, is not a term you’d readily associate with the future. The future, after all, ‘is a bold vision; world-changing technology; global science’. But for them, as authors of the bestselling Non-Obvious Trends (Rohit) and Trend-Driven Innovation (Henry), normal, or variations on the theme, is a word that they found they had in common, especially when it came to sitting in driverless cars (normal), wearing Google Glass (abnormal), chatting to uncanny holograms (very abnormal) and using AI to write their articles (they didn’t tell me the answer to that one). 

But normal, as they see it, isn’t about the ordinary or the mundane. It is really about our needs for identity, connection, self-improvement, status and more, and how these are bolstered and have evolved or deepened as a result of our involvement with technology and innovation; ‘the bets’, in other words, that business is already making, and innovators and entrepreneurs are constantly bringing to the fore.

Published by:

30 June 2023

Author: Martin Raymond



This is where their latest, joint, book, Future Normal comes from and why its themes, while varied, cut through many of the shifts we are witnessing today and are certain to become normal and everyday. Think virtual companionship, ambient health, certified or trusted media, stealth learning, or metabolic or remote monitoring. All are themes we have covered on LS:N Global and all are core to frame-working current debates among consumers about how they can have some clarity and reassurance about what ‘normal’ means, and how to live it. 

Their book carries case study after case study of how innovations are easing their way into our everyday normal and doing it in ways that make us feel better as a consequence of doing so. 

But it is also about optimism. As Rohit says, ‘it’s easy to take on a dystopian stance, and yes, all technologies have a dark side deep fakes, AI, whatever. But most innovations set out to do good, be better, improve the everyday, so why not celebrate that and give it voice? Why can’t optimism be normal?’ Why not indeed.

You can hear the full Back to the F**kture podcast with Rohit and Henry here and buy a copy of their book from here

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