Forecasting The Future

Forecasting

the future

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The future isn’t an accident: it happens because we create it.

But if we don't have a sense of how it could be then others will determine how it should be.

In which case, the future may not include us at all.

As we approach the turbulent 2020s, we have designed a crash course in forecasting to teach you three key tools to help anticipate consumer shifts.

Are you ready to future-gaze?

We get it. Future planning can be daunting. Dont worry, we have a range of services that can help. Would you like to learn more?

Thanks for stopping by.

Learn how our trends intelligence and strategic services can help you prepare for tomorrow. The future starts here.

Anomaly

Spotting

Scan the horizon for weak signals

A trend forecaster’s job begins with the identification of weak cultural signals that offer up glimpses of a much bigger pattern at work in society.

It is important to scan the horizon to determine whether these signals are innovative and suggest a wider, deeper shift in the culture.

Are they happening across key sectors such as retail, fashion, travel, food, alcohol and hospitality?

Many forecasters use horizon scanning as a framework, within which cultural brailing is one of the ways to feel your way through the future.

Which one of these anomalies is worth tracking?

: The rise of CBD based oils, cocktails and vitamins

: Super-strength spirits, beers and cocktails

: Globally sourced, trans-seasonal fruit, vegetables and meat

True

At The Future Laboratory, we began mapping the rise of CBD-based oils, cocktails and vitamins in 2015. Since then, the category has grown into a multi-billion-dollar business, with major alcohol, food, snack and wellness brands now entering the sector.

False

These are anomalies, but they are running counter to the trends we are seeing for non-alcoholic spirits and hyper-local sourcing. However, this could be an indication of a new counter-trend emerging, especially if more examples appear.

Diffusion

of Innovation

Track the trajectory of a trend

The Diffusion of Innovation curve allows you to accurately predict the birth, life, death and metamorphosis of a trend.

An ‘S’ shape occurs when you plot the rate at which something is adopted against the length of time it takes for a group to adopt the trend.

The time of this diffusion is dependent on factors such as technology, income, education and location.

Regardless of the sectors or industries investigated, each segment has a fixed value.

Innovators (2.5%)

Early Adopters (13.5%)

Early Majority (34%)

Late Majority (34%)

Laggards (16%)

Can you identify the relevant trend adoption stage by matching it with the correct segment?

The Uncoupled a growing group of male, female, trans, bi and non-binary 20somethings who are rewriting the rules of how we live, love and work together. Are they:

: Innovators

: Early Adopters

: Early Majority

: Late Majority

: Laggards

Can you identify the relevant trend adoption stage by matching it with the correct segment?

Just Nots work hard, pay their taxes, and may even be in a two-income family. But they are just not able to make ends meet. Are they?

: Innovators

: Early Adopters

: Early Majority

: Late Majority

: Laggards

Can you identify the relevant trend adoption stage by matching it with the correct segment?

Untethered Luxurians are high earners who increasingly seek experience, knowledge and self-fulfilment instead of possessions or status-defining brands or services. Are they:

: Innovators

: Early Adopters

: Early Majority

: Late Majority

: Laggards

True

Well done! Now letʼs try something more difficult.

True

Wow, you really get the future consumer! One more for practice.

True

Superb spotting! Now let's look at the root of the trend.

False

Hmm not quite. Think again

False

Try another typology.

False

Oops! Have you got your Innovators and Laggards mixed up? Try again.

Trend

Identification

Separate the memes from the fads

A trend can also be described as a kind of ‘virus’ or ‘meme’ that compels us to follow it and thus buy into a future possible pathway, whether we initially like it or not.

The meme is a cultural version of a gene in that it self-replicates in response to social, ethical, biological or environmental changes that might affect its survival.

To identify trends, much of a forecaster’s time is spent observing Innovators or Early Adopters in real and virtual realms.

In other words, where many of tomorrow’s mainstream ideas are already happening.

Conscious deceleration – is a trend that looks at how people are taking a more measured, managed, considered and caring approach to exercise and fitness. Read the trend here.

Which of the following would you associate with a trend weʼve dubbed, Conscious Deceleration?

Conscious deceleration – is a trend that looks at how people are taking a more measured, managed, considered and caring approach to exercise and fitness. Read the trend here.

: High-functioning people with significant levels of anxiety are sometimes called the ‘worried well’

: Online platform Quinn offers written and aural pornography as a way to tap into the emotive side of sex

: Inspired by Scandinavian coffee culture, the Fika app combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and positive psychology to build users’ emotional fitness

: Yami Kawaii is a Japanese subculture that uses a ‘sick cute’ aesthetic – including syringes, pills and bondage gear – to talk about emotional distress

True

Great Observation! This trend will have a consequential impact.

False

We're sorry to say, that's a fad. Dont give up, have another go.

Well done, you have identified and tracked your first trend!

If you approach the future with curiosity, empathy and inquiry, it can be anticipated, understood, explained and explored.

This is just the beginning.

The Future Laboratory’s researchers and AI-powered Foresight Research System constantly scan the horizon to prepare our clients for their collective tomorrows.

To learn more about your possible, potential and preferable futures, fill out your details to receive a pdf of the The Trend Forecaster’s Toolkit, an introduction to our methodology.

Thanks for trend forecasting with us.

Learn how our trends intelligence and strategic services can help you prepare for tomorrow. The future starts here.