Strategic Services

We don’t predict the future. We use our strategic foresight research and
dedicated cultural mapping tools to make it happen.

At The Future Laboratory, our strategic research solution is a simple one: to equip you with the tools, techniques and cultural insights that allow you to navigate change, unlock opportunity and thrive in a world of continuous uncertainty

Our strategists do this by harnessing the combined power of LS:N Global and our Foresight Research System to better understand future consumer behaviour and how you can implement these insights in ways that drive short-, medium- and long-term growth.

Like you, our focus is on the consumer. All of our tools have been created to help harness their thinking, map their behaviour and study those innovations – or early adopter opportunities – that differentiate brand leaders from category followers.

 

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Strategic Solutions

Clients

Combining quantitative and qualitative foresight research with original case studies and innovations, we explore your sector or consumers in detail to identify new product streams and original thinking to enable you to develop leading strategies and disruptive innovations more quickly.
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Tools of Tomorrow

Our strategic decision-making tools have been developed to help align your current business objectives with the future market shifts and scenarios you need to remain agile, relevant and pro-active in a disruptive landscape.
 

Used individually, our tools and services contextualise and explain tomorrow’s landscape. Combined, they become a powerful and unique engine that helps you to build strategies, define growth and unlock NPD platforms that are future-fit.


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Foresight Frameworks

Allow you to profit from forces set to challenge the future of your businesses

We combine the resources of LS:N Global and our Foresight Research System to identify the macrotrends and microtrends and associated consumers behaviours that will redefine and reframe tomorrows new markets.

We provide you with a hierarchy of trends, signals and strategic implications specific to your brand, allowing you to build a solid foundation to shape foresight literacy across your business and to align your internal focus.

All of our frameworks are designed and created in partnership with you and your team this way you can use them to connect easily, practically and strategically across all departments, stakeholder groups and external partners.

The frameworks we create range in timeframe, focus, depth and breadth, depending on your needs but all are designed to provide you with a rich future-focused point of view that maps change and alerts you to new challenges.


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Strategic Programmes

Provide strategic solutions for your future brand or business challenges

They are designed to help you identify key sector opportunities and uncover the most commercial and culturally relevant solutions to your business challenges so that you can build those platforms for growth, innovation opportunities and future strategies.

When aligned with your business aims or challenges, our frameworks can also be used as strategic tools in their own right the approach used allows you to convert identified challenges into new brand, product or service activations.

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: Our Future-fit Planning and Strategic Frameworks help you to determine the short-, medium- and long-term trajectory and framing of those macrotrends and associated consumer behaviours that you will need to align your brand offer in the coming decade

: Our Innovation Platforms, Ideation and Opportunity Prioritisation Programmes – help you to capture and convert long-term growth opportunities into platforms for innovation, development and future-proofing internal and external product creation and execution

: Our Placemaking Vision and Strategy Toolkit – allows you to create a retail and placemaking masterplan that delivers cultural and commercial value in an increasingly complex landscape

: Our Brand Positioning and Principles Road Map – defines what a brand is really in the business of tomorrow, informing a future-fit value proposition and how to differentiate oneself within these future scenarios

: Our Design Directions Toolkit – translates macro-consumer trends into practical toolkits, designs, colour palettes and material futures

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Strategic Research and Future Toolkits

Identify and qualify your knowledge gaps between today’s and tomorrow’s success

Our strategic research and toolkits enable you to refocus your approach to the consumer, category and context of tomorrow with a view to harnessing disruption proactively and strategically.

The Future Laboratory’s foresight research tools allow you to connect with new cultures and future audiences in ways that bring you closer to the people who are defining tomorrows marketplaces.

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: Our Futures 1,000 Panel is our global network of 1,000 academic experts, specialists and thought-leaders spanning myriad fields and industries that enable us to gauge their perceptions and expectations of the future and survey their opinions on the proposed future forces set to affect your business challenges

: Our Cultural Navigators  are active in key cities, sectors and edge communities globally, where their job is an enviable one: to test, validate and identify how our global trends translate and are manifest on a regional and local level, providing you with enriched and cultural informed insights and opportunities

: Our Mobile Ethnographic Networks  are loose-tied client-specific networks we activate for clients who want to capture a more visual, nuanced and emotional understanding of innovator and early adopter consumer lifestyles. These elusive and valuable insights will help you to anticipate and identify the emerging behaviour, motivations and values that will come to define tomorrows mass market tastes

Beyond this, our future tools include Workshops, Horizon-scanning, Driver-mapping, Scenario-planning and Visioning, Backcasting, SWOT analysis and Delphi Studies: all are designed to identify further perspectives, positions, plans and/or patterns for solving clients challenges.

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Bespoke Reports

Bespoke Reports

Stay ahead of the curve in an uncertain world

Our reports offer thought-leadership and disruptive thinking that builds 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.

 
Find out more about our bespoke Foresight Reports and case studies here.


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Case Studies

Warner Media
The Future Challenge: Developing Future-Now opportunities for WarnerMedia

‘How do we understand cultural trends and their impact on our consumers to future-proof our offerings and experiences?’

OutcomeUsing 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 WarnerMedias core offerings across multiple divisions.

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The Future Challenge: Exploring the future workplace with Nespresso

‘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.

Google Play
The Future Challenge: Helping Google Play Drive Inclusivity in Mobile Gaming

‘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.

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The Future Challenge: 
Shaping the Future with Spotify

‘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.

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The Future Challenge: Connecting People and Places with QIC|GRE

‘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.

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The Future Challenge: Helping Future-proof a Leading Premium Vodka Brand

‘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.

Strategists

Rachele Simms
head of strategy

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.

Chris Sanderson
co-founder

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 Buchanan
senior futures analyst

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 Raymond
co-founder

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.

Tamara Hoogeweegen
strategist

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 Stott
futures analyst

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 French
brand and innovation strategist

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.

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