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28/01/2020

Fora Trends and Insights Briefing – Spitalfields


Computer scientist Alan Kay once famously said, ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’ That’s certainly something we’re doing here at Fora, but we also know how important it is to look at how people’s behaviour is changing today; what technology is beginning to impact on how we work and live; and what these emerging themes mean for all our futures. So, it was a natural fit for us to host The Brand Network’s 2020 Trends and Insights Briefing at our Spitalfields house, delving into the macro-trends that will be affecting us in both the short term and in the decades to come.

Tom Savigar, the founder of futures consultancy Avansere highlighted how sustainability will increasingly dominate every aspect of our lives and how brands will need to respond to the climate crisis - not least because their customers are increasingly demanding that they do so. Brands that build sustainability into their businesses can grow rapidly. Tom highlighted Allbirds, an environmentally-friendly shoe company based in San Francisco which went from launch in 2016 to a $1.4bn valuation in just two years.

Industry giants like Nike are paying close attention to such upstarts surfing on changing trends in customer behaviour. With 170 million members across the company’s apps, Nike already has a loyal following but it needs to use that loyalty to gain true insights into what their customers want. And meeting or exceeding those expectations has never been harder. Tom also talked about a growing trend of Urbanity, in which both city and countryside dwellers were clamouring for a more urbane, courteous and refined lifestyle. One embodiment of this, Tom explained, is people’s desire to be closer to nature, as he gestured to the biophilic designed plant-filled atrium around him.

As a third trend, Tom emphasised connectivity. Data now allows us to gain a more granular understanding of customers and to tailor products, services and experiences to their needs. He illustrated this with the Equinox Hotel in New York which personalises guests stays, from room lighting and temperature to menus and exercise regimes, all to their unique specifications. This all-encompassing relationship will increasingly allow brands to build entire ecosystems around their customers, but they will need to think systematically or risk becoming a ‘legacy braggart’ said Tom.

Many of Tom’s observations were backed up by Pete Cape, Global Knowledge Director of Dynata. Showcasing the company’s Global Trends Report 2020, Pete talked about the Fora audience through the data illustrating our changing world. For example, 54% of workers in China expect their job to be done by a robot in the not too distant future. 27% of British workers think the same. Only about 20% of people thought this would be a good thing, although workers in China and Japan were much more positive about the prospect. In fact, Chinese respondents to the survey were very positive about life in general. 83% expect life to be better in five years’ time. This compared to 41% of people in the US, 30% of people in the UK and a depressing 18% in Japan.

There’s no question that the future holds many challenges - although the survey found a stubborn 13% of people still seem to think climate change is not one of them. But there is also optimism to be found in this issue, as with other trends covered by the research. 63% of respondents in the UK, 65% in the US, 75% in France and 80% in China believe that the climate crisis can be fixed. Let’s hope so! Ultimately, we all need to anticipate what the future holds. Fora events like the Trends and Insights Briefing help us gain a true insight into how our world is changing. As Alan Kay rightly points out, it’s what will enable us to invent the future.

28/01/2020

Fora Trends and Insights Briefing – Spitalfields


Computer scientist Alan Kay once famously said, ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’ That’s certainly something we’re doing here at Fora, but we also know how important it is to look at how people’s behaviour is changing today; what technology is beginning to impact on how we work and live; and what these emerging themes mean for all our futures. So, it was a natural fit for us to host The Brand Network’s 2020 Trends and Insights Briefing at our Spitalfields house, delving into the macro-trends that will be affecting us in both the short term and in the decades to come.

Tom Savigar, the founder of futures consultancy Avansere highlighted how sustainability will increasingly dominate every aspect of our lives and how brands will need to respond to the climate crisis - not least because their customers are increasingly demanding that they do so. Brands that build sustainability into their businesses can grow rapidly. Tom highlighted Allbirds, an environmentally-friendly shoe company based in San Francisco which went from launch in 2016 to a $1.4bn valuation in just two years.

Industry giants like Nike are paying close attention to such upstarts surfing on changing trends in customer behaviour. With 170 million members across the company’s apps, Nike already has a loyal following but it needs to use that loyalty to gain true insights into what their customers want. And meeting or exceeding those expectations has never been harder. Tom also talked about a growing trend of Urbanity, in which both city and countryside dwellers were clamouring for a more urbane, courteous and refined lifestyle. One embodiment of this, Tom explained, is people’s desire to be closer to nature, as he gestured to the biophilic designed plant-filled atrium around him.

As a third trend, Tom emphasised connectivity. Data now allows us to gain a more granular understanding of customers and to tailor products, services and experiences to their needs. He illustrated this with the Equinox Hotel in New York which personalises guests stays, from room lighting and temperature to menus and exercise regimes, all to their unique specifications. This all-encompassing relationship will increasingly allow brands to build entire ecosystems around their customers, but they will need to think systematically or risk becoming a ‘legacy braggart’ said Tom.

Many of Tom’s observations were backed up by Pete Cape, Global Knowledge Director of Dynata. Showcasing the company’s Global Trends Report 2020, Pete talked about the Fora audience through the data illustrating our changing world. For example, 54% of workers in China expect their job to be done by a robot in the not too distant future. 27% of British workers think the same. Only about 20% of people thought this would be a good thing, although workers in China and Japan were much more positive about the prospect. In fact, Chinese respondents to the survey were very positive about life in general. 83% expect life to be better in five years’ time. This compared to 41% of people in the US, 30% of people in the UK and a depressing 18% in Japan.

There’s no question that the future holds many challenges - although the survey found a stubborn 13% of people still seem to think climate change is not one of them. But there is also optimism to be found in this issue, as with other trends covered by the research. 63% of respondents in the UK, 65% in the US, 75% in France and 80% in China believe that the climate crisis can be fixed. Let’s hope so! Ultimately, we all need to anticipate what the future holds. Fora events like the Trends and Insights Briefing help us gain a true insight into how our world is changing. As Alan Kay rightly points out, it’s what will enable us to invent the future.

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