The Future Laboratory’s Strategy department works directly with global brands and businesses to turn our LS:N Global foresight into a strategic decision-making tool that aligns clients’ current business objectives with these future scenarios.
The aim: to equip clients with the cultural insights, strategic implications and solutions that enable them to navigate change, unlock opportunity and thrive in a world of continuous uncertainty.
Our partnerships harness human and data-driven strategic foresight intelligence and research methodologies to provide future-fit solutions for today’s business challenges.
Our reports offer thought-leadership and disruptive thinking that build reputation and awareness. We provide brands and businesses with a futures point of view on the impact of the evolving consumer landscape alongside trends on relevant industries, sectors and topics. This enables brands to position themselves uniquely against their competition, while generating interest and demand for their products and services.
To determine the key drivers of change affecting the future of our clients’ consumers and their businesses, we start by harnessing the combined human and data power of LS:N Global and our Foresight Research System.
Our strategic research and futures tools frame other key factors beyond the future landscape, enabling clients to prioritise a trend, identify a strategic opportunity and implement insights in ways that drive short-, medium- and long-term growth.
Our tools help harness future thinking, map future behaviour and study those innovations – or early adopter opportunities – that differentiate brand leaders from category followers.
Our Foresight Frameworks contextualise contemporary culture for businesses. They offer clients a rich point of view on the future, highlighting influences of change, opportunity and challenge.
Framed around a hierarchy of drivers, shifts, trends, signals and implications, they give clients a solid foundation to shape their foresight literacy and align internal focus.
All of our frameworks are designed and created in partnership – this way clients can use them to connect easily, practically and strategically across all departments, stakeholders and partners.
Discover our full Methodology here.
Our strategic programmes provide future-first strategic solutions for today’s brand or business challenges.
These six programmes are designed to uncover the most commercial and culturally relevant solutions, so our clients can build platforms for growth, identify key innovation opportunities, set a long-term vision and align on the right strategic approach to future decision-making to plan for the future now.
Enable clients to build the short- to mid-term implications of the trends for their businesses and identify growth opportunities by determining what will drive business disruption and competitive advantage in the future.
Enable clients to be more provocative and speculative as they look more long-term. An amalgamation of strategic research tools helps identify scenarios that might become our clients’ future.
Enable clients to harness disruption proactively and strategically, capturing and converting opportunities into validated platforms for innovation, product development, creation and execution that are future-fit and culturally relevant.
Enable clients to build a community and a future-fit sense of place, translating foresight into a retail and placemaking masterplan that delivers cultural and commercial value in an increasingly complex landscape.
Enables clients to inspire and direct their design teams and partners, translating consumer macrotrends into practical toolkits relevant for developing new product, service and experience strategies.
Enables clients to define their brand parameters today, in order to frame the shifts that will affect them tomorrow, determining a future-fit value proposition, defining a brand strategy and creating a road map for success.
We are method-neutral. We use qualitative and quantitative strategic research and futures tools to provide insights that enlighten the business challenge. We focus on identifying and qualifying the knowledge gaps, adding rigour, validation and nuance to enable clients to rethink their business planning based on the consumer, category and context of tomorrow.
Over the past 15 years we have identified individuals who have, and are making, the future happen because of the way they think and what they do. Our global network of 1,000 academic experts, specialists and thought-leaders – spanning myriad fields and industries – gives our clients the opportunity to gain their primary, highly educated sector insights, gauge their richer perceptions and expectations of the future, and survey their opinions on the proposed future forces set to affect their business challenges.
We engage with different profiles of consumer, recruited to specific sample briefs – from early adopters to influencers, innovators, b2b professionals and co-creators. A range of qualitative methodologies give clients access to emerging audiences worldwide, with a view to capturing a more visual, nuanced and emotional understanding of consumers in the context of their own lives. These elusive and valuable insights enable clients to anticipate and identify the emerging behaviour, motivations and values that will define tomorrow’s mass-market tastes.
These researchers are active in key cities, sectors and edge communities globally, and are able to provide cogent, first-hand insights into the culture within which they live. They test, validate and identify the impact and manifestation of the global drivers, macrotrends and microsignals at a community, market and regional level. Our Navigators enable us to capture nuances and eradicate bias in our research, and provide clients with enriched, relevant and culturally informed insights and opportunities.
‘How do we understand cultural trends and their impact on our consumers to future-proof our offerings and experiences?’
Outcome: Using our proprietary trends system, we developed a trends framework that uncovered opportunities at the intersections of technology and content for us to explore in ethnographic interviews with early adopter consumers. These validated territories created a springboard for a wide range of teams to explore the future now, and enabled the business to put the future consumer at the heart of WarnerMedia’s core offerings across multiple divisions.
‘What does the future workplace look like, and how can we become a thought-leader in this space?’
Outcome: We were asked to create a thought-leadership report to help Nespresso understand the future workplace as it prepared to launch its Momento B2B coffee machine. We interviewed experts from our Futures 1,000 panel, and used our desk researchers, visual analysts and LS:N Global insight hubs to produce a sharp, incisive and media-friendly report that identifies and explores the next decade of workplace trends. We hosted an immersive media event to launch the public-facing report, with a short film, visual presentation and panel discussion with industry experts, helping to generate significant coverage in various media outlets.
‘How can we make mobile gaming truly for everyone by celebrating and empowering women as players and creators?’
Outcome: We were selected as Google Play’s lead strategic research partner and tasked to create thought leadership to help it develop a deeper understanding of female game player needs. We carried out a mobile ethnography study across the UK, the US, Japan and Europe, followed by an in-depth in-home study with carefully selected consumers to explore changing attitudes, beliefs, practices and concerns. We then deployed an insight-driven quantitative study to glean data for the ‘change the game’ white paper, which was launched to industry, press and external audiences.
‘How do we understand global change and connect with early adopter consumers to harness culture, and drive brand and artist advocacy in a fluid, on-demand world?’
Outcome: In collaboration with Spotify and GfK we developed a global foresight framework to identify eight key macrotrends that shed light on the future of culture, and their impact on entertainment, music and technology. This work was global in nature, covering 12 key markets across the Western and Eastern hemispheres in order to empower local product, segmentation and communication strategies.
‘Which emerging cultural shifts in consumer behaviour do we need to prepare for in order to re-orientate and future-proof our developments?’
Outcome: In collaboration with QIC|GRE, our analysts developed a global foresight framework to identify 10 key macrotrends across retail, placemaking and lifestyle that shed light on the future of consumer behaviour. We interviewed early adopter consumers in Australia and examined trends across lifestyle sectors. This resulted in the creation of a range of digital tools to help teams across the QIC|GRE business use these future opportunities in real time.
‘How can we future-proof the Absolut product by identifying the next relevant disruptive opportunity areas?’
Outcome: With younger audiences going teetotal and the world at large turning to more mindful drinking habits, Absolut needed to re-evaluate its product to keep up with new consumption behaviour. Using our proprietary trends system, we created a foundation of six innovation territories to explore new product opportunities for Absolut to explore and develop. Our in-depth approach centred on an opportunities matrix along with a pipeline hypothesis that would enable the innovations to thrive throughout the Absolut business.
Rachele plays a pivotal role in nurturing the Strategy team and developing the quality of our strategic thinking. With nearly 15 years of experience, she combines her creative background and strong commercial acumen to define and realise future strategies for brands such as Shiseido, lululemon, Jameson and The Chalhoub Group.
Christopher Sanderson is co-founder of The Future Laboratory, where he is responsible for delivering the company’s extensive global roster of conferences, media events and LS:N Global Trend Briefings, which he co-presents with the team in London, New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Stockholm and Helsinki. Clients who have booked one of his inspirational keynotes include Gucci Group, the European Travel Commission, Retail Week, Selfridges, M&S, Chanel, Harrods, Aldo and H&M.
Victoria specialises in future thinking and consumer research. She uses her creativity and strategic thinking to develop bespoke foresight projects for leading brands, such as L’Oréal, Spotify and Google, so that they can prepare their businesses for the future. She also regularly contributes to industry panel discussions and publications in the futures field.
Martin is editor-in-chief of Viewpoint magazine as well as LS:N Global, the online lifestyle news and consumer insight portal. Having written several books on trend forecasting, including The Trend Forecaster’s Handbook and The Tomorrow People, Martin contributes regularly as an expert on trends and business for the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV.
As part of the Strategy team, Tamara researches and analyses consumer trends to help clients understand their future landscape. Her background in MA Material Futures at Central Saint Martins makes her naturally question what our future looks like from a social and design thinking perspective. Since joining The Future Laboratory, she has worked for a variety of clients, including Wilko, QIC, Sony, Knight Dragon, URW and Turner.
Rachael is responsible for leading research to identify and visually communicate global cultural trends across the lifestyle sectors, inspiring our clients to prepare for the future. As our fashion and retail expert, she speaks regularly at our events, and has worked on projects for clients such as Adidas and the British Fashion Council.
Louise is a creative brand strategist with 10 years’ agency experience working with a broad spectrum of clients, particularly focused on FMCG. With her creative background she uses design thinking and a collaborative approach to develop simple and innovative solutions, and identify and implement tangible outputs for brand activations, innovation programmes and strategic foresight frameworks.
Momo is an expert in consumer and cultural research, winning the MRS’s Young Researcher of the Year Award in 2018. They are our senior consumer foresight lead, building bespoke consumer research and ethnographic projects for clients across all sectors and leading on LS:N Global’s Communities features.