: Tell us about one of your most recent and most exciting projects at The Future Laboratory.
Most of our strategy work is under NDA, so I can’t go into specifics. But so far this year I’ve been lucky enough to be part of some very exciting projects – mostly focusing on technology and our evolving relationship with it. This is generally fascinating, but in the context of building better futures, it’s something we need to get to grips with and will continue to build momentum as an existential issue for businesses in the coming years.
One recent highlight was a trip to Austin to host a panel for our client Lush at SXSW, discussing the future of ethical digital engagement with some hugely inspiring women in tech, before flying back to London to speak at Trust:Live to share initial findings from a report we’re currently writing on the future of digital trust for LexisNexis.
: What led you to working in strategic foresight?
My background is pretty eclectic, and I certainly haven’t followed a typical route to working in foresight.
I have a degree in graphic design, and my first job was focused on FMCG packaging, although I was lucky to work for an organisation that had an innovation function as well as design and strategy across both consumer and B2B brands. We quickly realised I was a better thinker than a designer, so I moved into a visual planning role covering all areas of that business. I then struck out on my own as a creative strategist and shifted into brand strategy for a few years, before consolidating all that experience to do what I do today.
Throughout my career, my focus has always been on positive disruption and creating change for the better, not just for the sake of change, so it’s not surprising that I’ve found a good fit with The Future Laboratory.
: What was your plan B career?
That would assume that I ever had a Plan A! I’ve always been torn between art and science, and thankfully I’ve found a way to indulge my natural proclivity for the creative and analytical in my work at The Future Laboratory.
As a tonic to the mentally challenging nature of this work, I do daydream about giving my brain a rest, being outside, doing something physically challenging and ecologically focused. I’ve unlocked a passion for gardening and horticulture in recent years and through that I am acutely aware of the damage we’re doing when it comes to ecology and industry. If I could go back, with hindsight and an ability to time travel, I’d perhaps encourage my younger self to prioritise science rather than art and design, because now I believe it will be science that ultimately saves us. But when I was 18, we knew less and being a designer seemed a lot cooler.
: Your favourite way to unwind?
I love getting as far away from civilisation as possible. My partner and I have two dogs, so spend a lot of time walking and we try to get out of London on hikes with them as often as we can. Failing that, you’ll find me in the garden, either getting grubby, or in the unlikely event that I’m undistracted by jobs to be done and the sun is out, taking it all in with a glass of something chilled.
: What trend are you most excited about for the year ahead?
It’s not really a trend as we define them, but I’m monitoring the conversations on AI very closely. I believe it puts us very close to a paradigm shift in how society operates, but at this point it could go in any one of an infinite number of ways.
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