Collaborative Innovation : Introducing our new partners

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The world isn’t just getting smaller, it’s becoming a place of limited and limiting choice – especially in the area of strategy and foresight, where pan-global consultancies such as Accenture, KPMG, Deloitte and McKinsey & Co continue to assimilate agile, boutique agencies at Borg-rate speeds

We’ve been approached ourselves – ‘Black alert,’ as they say in Star Trek: Discovery, ‘incoming Borg on the starboard bow’ – and have so far valiantly fought them off as strategic foresight becomes the dilithium crystal for consultancy firms in the 21st century.

To date, consultancies such as Accenture and McKinsey & Co have collectively spent over £880m ($1.2bn, €1bn) on improving their marketing services firepower, with strategic foresight capabilities being particularly sought-after and weaponised in this category. The aim is to give them the edge over traditional marketing, media and brand strategy agencies, where foresight, has, until quite recently, been something of a Cinderella offer.

Now, however, as everybody from Unilever to P&G, Bacardi and Diageo consolidate their advertising spending and invest heavily in AI, machine learning, data mining and strategic foresight analysis, foresight itself has become the new corporate darling. It’s like Cinderella overshadowing her two ugly sisters of marketing and branding – by reminding more agile agencies that neither are worth taking to the ball unless you can anticipate and engineer what the said ball should, could and must look like in the first place! This is the role and growing value of strategic foresight, of course.

But how to avoid becoming an ugly sister or being assimilated by the ever-circling Borg, which pretty much amounts to the same thing in my book.

Simple. Rather than be assimilated – and thus losing your independence, agility and objectivity to scan tomorrow without fear or favour – embrace a philosophy of continuous collaborative innovation, and do this by partnering with equally independent, forthright and collaborative networks where foresight is a core part of their founding DNA rather than a grafted-on attempt to make them look more appealing, intelligent and marketable.

It is with huge pleasure, then, that we announce 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.

Published by:

19 October 2021

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: The Future Laboratory


Left: The Future Laboratory and &Koo team in Antwerp. Right: Box1824 partnership post.

The Future Laboratory managing director Cliff Bunting says: ‘This isn’t just about the best organisations in each country exchanging their intelligence and foresight firepower locally – in cities like London, São Paulo, Amsterdam, Brussels, Antwerp, Paris, Melbourne and Sydney – it is about plugging local, national and global brands into a foresight eco-system that now covers Europe, the US, Australia, Latin America, China and the UK.’

All consultancies will be using the insights accrued on The Future Laboratory’s strategic foresight platform, LS:N Global, while the team at Box 1824 will become its LATAM editors and contributors, further boosting the foresight it already shares with brands such as Google, Spotify, Facebook, Diageo, Bacardi, Genpact – all brands, as The Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond says, that consultancies work with independently, but can now help more collaboratively and incisively.

‘When we were looking for international partners, &Koo and Box 1824 came across as a natural fit as both companies share the same values and similar ambitions as The Future Laboratory. Our combined efforts and the expansion of LS:N Global to new markets will help us make a better future happen for many more businesses across the globe,’ says Rodrigo Tobal, head of marketing at The Future Laboratory.

Box 1824 CEO Paula Englert says: ‘For 17 years, we have worked on thousands of projects in more than 10 countries, particularly in Latin America – expertise that we will be sharing with The Future Laboratory and vice versa.

‘This alliance will allow the two companies to exchange intelligence aimed at expanding local views on global macrotrends and bolstering behavioural studies, leveraging new growth opportunities for both and transforming business visions into innovation.’

‘The time is right for building a strategic foresight offering in the Belgian and Dutch market, with a planned expansion in the rest of Europe,’ adds Koen van Impe, CEO of &Koo, one of Benelux’s largest futures marketing and communications groups that works with strategists, data scientists, cloud architects and planners to unlock now and next consumer behaviours. ‘We are very honoured to represent The Future Laboratory. Its methodology and knowledge are of great value for the economic growth of our local businesses.’

Raymond concludes: ‘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.’

Quite so! Over the coming weeks we’ll be offering The Future Laboratory community a more in-depth look at how you can better use our growing firepower to drive and define strategic thinking that is independent, forthright, inspirational, and above all, actionable. Independently, we stand together stronger than ever.

‘When we were looking for international partners, &Koo and Box 1824 came across as a natural fit as both companies share the same values and similar ambitions as The Future Laboratory. Our combined efforts and the expansion of LS:N Global to new markets will help us make a better future happen for many more businesses across the globe.’
Rodrigo Tobal, Head of Marketing, The Future Laboratory

Want to find out more about how we can help your business globally?

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