Meet the Experts : Rachael Stott

category - strategy
type - meet the experts
Meet The Experts
Next up in our Meet the Experts series, we interview The Future Laboratory’s senior strategic futures analyst and Sustainability Network lead, Rachael Stott

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

My role is to help clients across the lifestyle sectors identify and prioritise emerging cultural and consumer insights that are set to influence their future. I then closely work with them to develop a strategic direction and uncover the emerging opportunity areas that they need to harness to be successful, and hopefully, to be a force for good.

In terms of expertise, I have recently worked with a lot of technology, media and entertainment brands, so am very immersed in that world and have lost count of the number of times I’ve discussed the metaverse in the past 12 months.

I also lead our internal sustainability initiative at The Future Laboratory, and am working towards us becoming a B Corp, so that is always a key consideration and an interesting tension when working with consumer brands and businesses.

: As a strategist, what does your typical day look like?

The research and analysis we do drastically varies. A brief from a client can be anything from analysing how Gen A will change the future of identity to eliminating gender stereotypes from protein powders. As part of that I get to interview some amazing external experts, undertake ethnographic research, and connect with our global network of cultural navigators who are researchers around the world who are identifying emerging local insights in their region.

As a team we are always re-assessing our methodologies and research practices too, so that’s another key part of my week – to ensure our approach is future-facing and the most effective for clients.

: How do you guide your clients in turning The Future Laboratory trends into practical and strategic implications?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to strategy. The key is to firstly identify where each client is on their journey in terms of understanding and harnessing trends, and then unpacking what their business aims are for the future. 

At times it is like taking the role of an ad-hoc therapist and guiding them through trends that will help them create the most impactful and desirable future for their business.

Published by:

9 November 2022

Author: Rachael Stott

Image: The Future Laboratory


Left: Labmeta for The Future Laboratory. Right: Victoria Ling for The Future Laboratory.

: How do you see the world of trends and strategic foresight transforming over the next 3–5 years? 

The discipline of strategic foresight is being taken a lot more seriously by brands and institutions as a key tool to navigate turbulent times, so I only see it growing, and hopefully it will become more diverse to include a wider range of researchers, voices and approaches.

: What is your favourite way to unwind?

I have two extremes. I’m either lunging in a park at a fitness bootcamp or on the sofa watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.

: Your go-to working snack and after-work tipple?

Chocolate rice cakes/Margarita(s)

: What was your Plan B career?

A scientist, a fashion designer or, in a fantasy world, a backing dancer. 

: What trend are you most excited about for the year ahead?

I’m not sure if excited is the right word. We are at such a turbulent and pivotal moment in society that I’m optimistic and keeping a close eye on how brands will rapidly innovate to respond to the economic, social and sustainability crisis we are all experiencing. 

Our forthcoming food and drink macrotrend unpacks how the cost of living crisis will affect our culinary choices and drive sustainable innovation by being more resourceful, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this will also evolve at a wider societal level.

‘We are at such a turbulent and pivotal moment in society that I’m optimistic and keeping a close eye on how brands will rapidly innovate to respond to the economic, social and sustainability crisis we are all experiencing.’
Rachael Stott, senior strategic futures analyst, 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.

Discover our cultural charter