Meet the Experts : Olivia Houghton

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Meet The Experts
In this month’s edition of Meet the Experts, we’re chatting with our deputy creative foresight editor Olivia Houghton about how trends and foresight have led her to success.

: How would you describe your role and area of expertise at The Future Laboratory?

At The Future Laboratory, visual analysis is as important as written analysis in storytelling. As deputy creative foresight editor of LS:N Global, I am responsible for overseeing the execution and development of all the content across the site. 

I am also The Future Laboratory’s in-house beauty, health and wellness expert, so spend my days researching the latest skincare innovations and trying out the newest wellness hacks. Some would say it’s the dream job.

: As an editor what does your typical week look like? 

The formula for every week is the same – research, analyse, pitch, create 
– but the ingredients and final products are very different. I work across a range of content output, from long-form reports and presentations to daily editorial articles. 

Alongside my core workstreams, I’m usually working on development plans for LS:N Global, ensuring we maintain and grow our reputation as a source that provides value, profit, opportunity and innovation to industry leaders. 

: How do you go about forming the trends and foresight on LS:N Global? 

There are no crystal balls here. Our trends and foresight are based on in-depth consumer and market research, intuition, pattern-spotting and expert consultations.

We spend almost every day monitoring global happenings, as well as looking for the new and the next in our sectors. This allows us to identify macro-shifts and microtrends, which we can translate into tangible actions for our members. 

You can learn more about our methodology here or have a go at one of our masterclasses.

Published by:

19 January 2023

Author: Olivia Houghton

Image: The Future Laboratory


Left: Olivia Houghton, deputy creative foresight editor, The Future Laboratory. Right: The Future Laboratory, Beauty.

: Why do you believe that trends and foresight are so important for businesses in 2023? 

Businesses are like people. If they don’t dedicate time to progress, they will not grow or evolve – and I don’t just mean financially. Unfortunately for businesses, this may result in becoming obsolete or irrelevant, particularly in today’s fast-moving world. 

Trends and foresight are roadmaps for progress, and subsequently, success. They enable businesses to stay ahead of the curve and advance in ways that were perhaps never part of the plan. 
: Tell us about one of your most recent and most exciting projects at The Future Laboratory. 

Trend Briefing 2023. It was the first time since before the pandemic that we were back as a full company presenting to and mixing with clients. The content was extensive and different from anything we’ve worked on before. The Paralysis Paradox encourages businesses to step up and become forces of change, and to collaborate and horizon-map together with citizens. The event also hosted our first Futures 100 Innovators awards ceremony, where we showcased some of our leading industry experts and today’s change-makers. It’s always a significant day in The Future Laboratory calendar, but there’s no doubt this year was extra special and invaluable to our team and our clients. 

: What was your plan B career? 

Well, it’s a good job plan A went well because I didn’t have a plan B! Perhaps it was always meant to be.

I do have tons of passion projects I’d like to kick-start at some point though!
: Your favourite way to unwind? 

I’m best known for my nine-minute afternoon meditation session… aka brain nap. Works wonders.
: Your go-to working snack and after-work tipple? 

I’m not a big snacker, but I’m a huge foodie. The thought of dinner always gets me through the day. Tipples are always welcome too – my preferences are a cold Savvy B or pale rosé, or a rhubarb G & T.
: What trend are you most excited about for the year ahead? 

The events calendar for this year is particularly strong, but I have to say I’m excited for beauty, health and wellness futures. We know that health & wellness has been front of mind for most over the past few years, and it’s triggered some pretty exciting shifts in the industry and on the consumer front. Accredited Beauty was just the start of the science revolution.

‘There are no crystal balls here. Our trends and foresight are based on in-depth consumer and market research, intuition, pattern-spotting and expert consultations.’
Olivia Houghton, deputy creative foresight editor, The Future Laboratory

Want to learn more about life at The Lab?

Here at The Future Laboratory, our team are constantly striving for betterment in all areas, particularly for people and the planet. By holding ourselves and each other to account in a compassionate way, we have built a culture that allows each of us to do our best work.

Learn more about our commitments, both as individuals and as a community at The Future Laboratory with our Cultural Charter.

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