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Future proof april2012

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Welcome to FutureProof – The Futures Company’s regular briefing about current global strategic and …

Welcome to FutureProof – The Futures Company’s regular briefing about current global strategic and
consumer issues with perspectives from our various international centres. Our purpose here is to
broaden horizons and share some of our bigger picture thinking with you.

This issue includes
Sustainable disruption
Strategic sustainability
Listening to cultural frequencies

Published in: Business, Technology

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  • 1. Issue 7 | April 2012Welcome to FutureProof – The Futures Company’s regular briefing about current global strategic andconsumer issues with perspectives from our various international centres. Our purpose here is tobroaden horizons and share some of our bigger picture thinking with you. FutureProof This edition includes: Sustainable disruption How sustainability strategies can disrupt markets and create new value Strategic sustainability Taking on the challenge of redesigning business for a world of scarce materials Listening to cultural frequencies Why mainstream brands need to tune in to leading edge consumers Digital edition contains embedded links
  • 2. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 2 FutureProofUsing sustainability to disrupt markets and categories by Fran Walton and Andrew CurryIntroduction The received wisdom on sustainability and ethical    People are citizens as well as consumers, and sustainability issues is increasingly issues enable brands to changeThis edition of FutureProof has sustainability as its main theme. that they remain a niche concern the dialogue they have with theirThis can be a difficult subject for businesses. Often they’re for consumers, especially against customers.ahead of their customers in understanding its importance and a background of recession. This is particularly true in the United    These issues are often closelyits impact. Many have well-developed programmes to assess States, where (in contrast to other associated in the minds ofthe footprint of their supply chains and production processes. markets) consumer concerns have consumers with other moreConsumers, though, have not rushed to buy ‘green’ products for significantly declined over the personal desires such as healththeir own sake, and in the United States (though not elsewhere in past few years. As a result, the and wellness at one end of the sustainability agenda has becomethe world) interest in and awareness of environmental issues has spectrum, and quality at the other. an operational issue for corporatesslumped. In the first of our two FutureProof articles, Fran Walton which are focussing internally on    We know quite a lot about howand Andrew Curry explore the ways in which markets can be - and supply chain security and input consumer attitudes to sustainabilityhave been - disrupted by innovation based on sustainable and costs such as energy and other segment across markets. Theethical initiatives, and how to avoid being blindsided by this in your resource costs. Futures Company’s Greenprint segmentation, which definesmarkets. In the second article, Hardin Tibbs looks at the scale of This is a mistake. The Futures Company consumers by both their interest inthe coming resource challenges to our current business models, research and analysis suggests that sustainability and by their freedom ethical and sustainability issues canand sets out an approach to address these. to act, was profiled in FutureProof be used as a powerful lever to create differentiation and disrupt categories #1 (September, 2010) and is and markets. There are three important available on our website. reasons for this. © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 3. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 3Used properly, these are powerful sale. Brands have been disappointed The critical issue from a positioning thereby shape their strategic choices.tools. Their function is shaped by the in the past because they have failed perspective is to understand when and The positioning of categories istarget audience and the nature of the to understand how and where how to use these credentials. Timing determined by two factors:category. sustainability fits in the decision-making can be critical. Too soon, and your hierarchy in their category. brand can become detached from its    How big a sustainability impactIt is true that brands which choose category. Too late, and a competitor the overall category is perceivedto position themselves only around Part of the problem is that sustainability could have moved before you and to have.sustainability are unlikely to gain has been seen as a trade off between gained first-mover advantage.widespread appeal; they will remain in citizen and consumer or between cost    ow much sustainability issues H To help companies to do this we haveniche markets defined by the minority and ethics. The solutions that gain matter in terms of product choice. developed a sustainability positioningwho rank their needs as citizens traction move this kind of ‘either/or’ model which allows companies toalongside their needs as consumers. It thinking to a ‘both/and’ model which monitor and manage these issues, andis also true that sustainability is rarely steps out of the apparent dilemma.the primary driver of choice in any For example:category or for most consumers.    Tyres which reduce emissions Different Choices Critical to Choice High Impacts are perceived to be low and Impacts are perceived to and fuel costs by reducing rolling environmental initiatives can reinforce the be high and essential to choice or resistance core positioning. participation in the category. We can make mistakes by misreading people’s    Beauty creams that are naturally The priority given to social and environmental issues as good both for our skin and for the stated concerns planet in relation to the    Teas that are healthy and refresh environment factors determining choice our conscience as much as our bodies Low impact production Sustainably sourced Free fromFrom day to day, people are largely    Chocolate which tastes good and Feel Good Better Choicesdriven by their consumer interests, rewards cocoa farmers more fairly. Categories where the impacts are Impacts are perceived to be high but there is perceived to be low. a lack of alternative choice.placing greater emphasis on price, The role of sustainability within brandconvenience, and so on, rather than on positioning, therefore, is often aboutmore public concerns. But this duality creating differentiation or underpinningcan mislead researchers. In research, the reason to believe in the primarypeople are more likely to respond benefits the brand offers. Sustainabilityfavourably to questions which make can also act as a choice editor. Otherthem feel that they are good citizens. things being equal, consumers will moreProducts with good intentions can often make the sustainable choice. For a good cause Incentivized ways to Recycled and Fair wages Low save water solar poweredreceive a glowing response in research Many social campaigns supported by Low Perceived level of negative social and Highgroups only to fail when they are brands have worked in this way and environmental impacttested against the customer priorities have been strong catalysts for growth.that drive decisions at the point of © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 4. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 4 When combined, these create four Categories will map to a particular The impact so far has been modest, quadrants. As we’ll discuss later in quadrant today, but they can and do but in a world of social media, it doesn’t this article, understanding how these shift between quadrants over time. Most take much for an issue to explode. quadrants play out in brand terms of the factors which push these shifts A well-timed campaign on the issue allows you both to manage brand come from outside of the category. of child soldiers and ‘blood minerals’ risks connected to sustainability, and They may include awareness of external could quickly increase the glare on the potentially, to re-shape your category. shocks and the strength of emerging electronics sector. While impact plays out across the whole sustainability issues. Many campaigning Bottled water is a good example of a category, brand owners can use issues NGOs are also in the business of pushing category which has taken a beating as to segment the market and develop categories to the right hand side of the a result in the whole category moving to new capabilities. chart, increasing the perceived level of the right when consumers became more Feel Good (impact low, issues low): negative impact of a category or a brand. aware of underlying sustainability issues. Categories where the impacts are A particular risk is that many issues Historically, positive actions within the perceived to be low. Sustainability to do with sourcing, supply chain and category tended to focus on feelgood initiatives are not expected but can production remain poorly understood factors such as recycled bottles, or create a more positive feeling around by consumers. This creates scope actions that raise money for good choice. These are categories where issues are yet to surface or have low impact. Better Choice (impact high, issues low): Categories where the impacts Social and environmental factors don’t drive are perceived to be high but there is consumer choice directly. But when leveraged a lack of alternative choice. Products effectively, they can still create growth and brands need to show they are responding to the issues, so those that are seen to be better can do well here. Different Choice (impact low, issues high): Categories where the impacts are for activists and others to shape causes such as clean water in poorer perceived to be low but sustainability perceptions of a category by improving communities in the developing world. initiatives can reinforce the core consumer information about their But the landscape for the category has positioning of a brand, i.e., offer a higher production processes. For example, been fundamentally disrupted by rising perceived benefit to the consumer. both Greenpeace’s ‘Greening My Apple’ concern over the environmental impact campaign and the Enough Project of shipping water (especially where Critical to Choice (impact high, issues campaign on the ethics of electronics adequate piped water exists, particularly high): Categories where the impacts supply chains have attempted to push in most of the richer world). Alternatives are perceived to be high and addressing the electronics category to the right. have emerged, including doing without, sustainability issues created through (There is more on this in our Future using refillable bottles, or asking for tap production or use is essential to choice Perspective report, The World in 2020.) water. Where demand has remained or participation in the category. © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 5. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 5for bottled water, consumers have also being caught with assets which have such as Fair Trade and Organic havepreferred locally produced water. been substantially devalued. underlined the quality of the cocoa used in the chocolate, while highlighting goodWith hindsight, it is hard to think that But this is not just about brand risk. social and environmental credentials.the category could have avoided this There are opportunities here as well. The combination - when supportedcrisis. Here, the sustainable model Leading brands can rewrite the category by Cadbury’s distribution clout - haswould have acted as an early warning rules if the sustainability actions help created a new category within chocolate,that investment in the sector should reinforce the products’ primary reasons for ‘everyday premium’ It is worth noting .be scaled back. Brands need to for being chosen. Chocolate is a good that initially Green & Blacks brandunderstand what these issues are, example. Brands such as Green & occupied the ‘Different Choice’ space,monitor them for signs of changes, and Blacks have reshaped what consumers as a niche product, before Cadbury’saddress them at the right time to avoid expect from the category. Aspects decided to shift the market. There are opportunities for learning, and building Different Choices Critical to Choice capacity and sustainability equities High Impacts are perceived to be low and Impacts are perceived to environmental initiatives can reinforce the be high and essential to choice or while assessing the scope for category core positioning. participation in the category. development. The disruption caused in the category by the Green & Blacks brand is striking The priority given to social and environmental issues as for three reasons.  Firstly, the chocolate category has always been dominated by well established brands yet Green & factors determining choice Blacks successfully disturbed this by introducing a new aspirational decision choice into the category for consumers Feel Good Better Choices (buying Green & Blacks swiftly became Categories where the impacts are Impacts are perceived to be high but there is perceived to be low. a lack of alternative choice. a status symbol in many social circles).  Secondly, they shifted the price and quality parameters of block chocolate significantly upwards, something that had been the Holy Grail for key players. Thirdly, they acted as catalyst for more fundamental category change with all the current major chocolate producers having announced either Fair Trade Low or Rainforest Alliance certification. Low Perceived level of negative social and High environmental impact The category rules have changed fundamentally as a result of Green & Blacks’ success. © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 6. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 6Brands are acutely vulnerable as sustainable propositions which focus has been on supply side analysisconsumer values associated with a differentiate from competitors by and innovation. This has partly beencategory change, or when perceptions delivering high quality and performance driven by the opportunity to take costof the sustainability impact of a category in multiple dimensions. out, but, as we have suggested in thischange. One of the benefits of the article, it has also been shaped by a Critical to Choice (impact high, issuesSustainable Positioning model is that fundamental misunderstanding about high): ‘Both/and’ innovation whichit enables brand and insight managers the relationship between consumers and reconciles product and service attributesto handle this. The different quadrants sustainability. Because of this, brands with sustainability attributes.require different responses. are missing a valuable opportunity to Business leaders increasingly argue that innovate and find new sources of corporations need to take the lead in growth. Fran Walton is a Director in The Brands are acutely addressing sustainability. Much of the Futures Company’s London office. vulnerable as the Fran writes: the challenge of consumer values sustainability is near and present. It associated with a As the world changes, will your brands have the is a question of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ it will impact consumers and markets category change ability to adapt? alike. The most notable challenge is a mindset challenge that faces any organisation seeking to instil Do you understand the potential emerging issues in sustainability at the heart of itsFeel Good (impact low, issues low):Basically categories need to monitor the your category? approach to business. Once the cost savings are gained, sustainabilitylandscape for emergence of underlying presents marketers with a constraint.issues and use the time to address or Do you have sustainability equities that you can use to Within the confines of current businessbuild strategies to deal with the issues start rewriting the category rules? models this can appear to be at oddsthat may emerge. Here, there is chance with the desire to sell consumers moreto support social and environmental (more volume or more premium addedinitiatives that are unrelated to the brand As the world changes, will your brands have the ability value benefits). Those taking a linearor category, e.g., breast cancer. to adapt? view of their futures see nothing more than threats to business performanceBetter Choice (impact high, issues and category building by embracinglow): Little scope for differentiation, track sustainability. The smart companiesthe external environment, and ensure can identify new sources of growththat your performance is in line with based on new business models andbest practice of competitors. Address more radical innovation solutions.secondary issues as heightened scrutiny This article is based on our Future Perspectives report (How to Sustain Sustainability? Why These are the companies that will winis likely to raise questions over other companies need to engage their brands in the drive toward more sustainable living), which can in the future.practices in the sector. be downloaded from The Futures Company’s website at: http://www.thefuturescompany.com/page/free_thinking/Different Choice (impact low, issueshigh): Identify markets for high value © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 7. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 7Sustainability: Seeing the strategic target by Hardin Tibbs It is hard to gauge the And judging sustainability by consumer importance of sustainability desire for sustainable products assumes Three of the planet’s ‘nine ecological boundaries’ are already either by working from a that consumers understand the breached. A fourth is close.dictionary-style definition, or by underlying issues better than business. This is unlikely to be true, becausecanvassing consumers. Asking although about half the population nowconsumers sets up a misleading accepts the importance of sustainability,target because consumer priorities a much smaller percentage grasp thenaturally shift with changing underlying strategic challenge ineconomic circumstances. Managing any detail.sustainability by relying on consumer A better approach is to set asideperceptions is a bit like trying to definitions and consumer views for atake aim in archery by watching moment and work directly with a veryspectators point at the target. simple description of the core problem addressed by sustainability. This deep problem is not something that comes The global industrial and goes like a fashion choice, to be economy will collapse tracked by opinion surveys – it is a real- within 20 years if world showstopper coming soon to an we don’t reinvent it industry that could be yours. to work on different technological principles Source: Nature 461, 472-475 (24 September 2009) © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 8. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 8The basic problem is driven by threefundamentals of the overall globalsystem: Put together, these three fundamentals mean that within 20 years the volume of consumption would be (if it could get From the Blog there) twice the size of the biosphere. 1 The fixed size of the global But this is implausible, since today’s Doing good and doing well environment (i.e., the area of the economic consumption ultimately draws planet surface and the size of the Vera Kiss writes: More than 50% of Millennials believe on resources from the biosphere, which the primary purpose of business is innovation and biosphere – the planetary network would collapse under the load. societal development. This resonates with The Futures of ecosystems – is not expanding). This crunch of factors makes existing Company’s 2011 Global MONITOR survey, which found The scale of industrial industrial society unsustainable on a that 63% of Millennials believe that companies have 2 a responsibility to support the society in which they production worldwide (which timescale of one to two decades. Or, put differently, the global industrial operate. is now literally as big as nature, as measured by comparing the economy will collapse within 20 years if volume of industrial flows with we don’t reinvent it to work on different the flows of the various chemical technological principles. Reframing well-being elements in and through the The foreshocks of this potential collapse Amy Tomkins writes: Our Global MONITOR data tells us biosphere; for example carbon). are already reverberating. The price of oil that emotional well-being is declining, from 54% in 2011 The exponential growth of is rising as it gets scarcer, in turn driving to 46% in 2010. With this in mind, we’ve recently explored 3 up food and commodity prices, and how in a Future Perspectives report consumer attitudes economic consumption (it is doubling every 20 years, as a helping to trigger the next global financial to well-being are being reshaped. Our research suggests crisis. we are seeing the emergence of four new consumer result of the combined growth of wellbeing mindsets. population and affluence). Can this be fixed? And if so, who has responsibility for fixing it? The deep problem is not made visible to The world’s resource consumers through traditional media, Library futures so consumer priorities tend to be driven problems are not by short-term pragmatic factors. Even Andrew Curry and Victoria Ward write: So many long visible to consumers when consumers can see the problem, term trends are running against the library that it is easy to assume that is an anachronism of the 19th and 20th through traditional for them to do anything about it requires centuries. But look again, and some emerging trends media - consumers different consumption choices. But if come into focus. The value of the local is increasing; manufacturers look to existing consumer are locked into system choices to decide whether to offer the rise of digital rights management fuels campaigns around openness; the number of books published every that requires growth alternatives, a ‘chicken and egg’ standoff year continues to rise; issues of access and equity – and and consumption emerges. Consumers remain locked into affordability – come into sharper focus as one austere a system that depends on conventional year rolls into another. growth in consumption – leaving only Picture taken by Victoria Ward the (so far) unthinkable option of turning © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 9. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 9 for industry is to produce them without and resource provision can’t keep up,The global ecosystem overshot by 50% in 2007 – and climbing frying the planet. then resource provision needs to change. The obvious broad brush way to do this The solution involves addressing the is by turning the flow of all resources into three global system fundamentals head a continuous loop. This has been known on, and treating them as a strategic for years, but has begun to be taken challenge that business has to meet, and seriously only recently. Business needs urgently – not just for altruistic reasons to design and adopt sustainable product about the future of humanity, but to platforms based on what are coming ensure its own survival as an institution. If to be called ‘parsimonious materials consumer demand is rising exponentially The Club of Rome forecasts look remarkably accurate with hindsight: on current production patterns we are heading for economic collapse in the 2020s Historical TrendThe biologically productive area required to provide renewable bio-resources Trend Prediction by 1972 Studyused by the global human economy. By 2007, the most recent year with available Observed Trend Non-renewabledata, the Global Ecological Footprint had exceeded the Earth’s biocapacity – the resources 2030 1970-2000area actually available – by 50% remaining Population declines followingSource: World Wildlife Fund 2010 economic collapseaway from the industrial lifestyle entirely This leaves business in the hot seat – andto ameliorate current conditions. fortunately it owns and controls the part of the economy that needs fixing. WhatShould government mandate a Food does industry need to do? per capitasolution? Democratic governments POPULATIONseem increasingly populist rather Global-scale sustainability will not bethan strategic, and wait for electoral achieved by trying to push consumers Services Globalpressure before risking policy initiatives. towards austerity. The solution is not per capita pollutionIn any case, setting a path towards to offer lower performance products Industrialsustainability depends on governments’ but to reinvent the material basis of output per capitaability to distill the essence of the high performance products. As Amoryproblem – not much in evidence so far Lovins put it years ago, people want– and on actions that would have to be ‘warm showers and cold beer, not coldtaken by industry. showers and warm beer.’ The challenge Source: Meadows, D.H., Meadows, D.L., Randers, J. and Behrens III, W.W. (1972)/ Smithsonian © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 10. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 10pathways’ which permit it to leapfrog the ,environmental and scarcity problems Business design for customer-centric value creation based on cyclicthat will soon snare all conventional resource flowresources.The sustainability task for industry starts Closed loop Cyclic value Product/serviceby recalling Steve Job’s maxim that it’s resource flow creation dematerialisationnot the consumer’s job to know whatthey want. What consumers don’t wantis to experience unnecessary austerity. Environmental Resource Offering Customers/What they do want, though mostly impact Usage design Human needs Hardin Tibbs is a thought leader and futurist who helped pioneer The challenge here the concept of industrial ecology. He is CEO of Synthesys Strategic Resource Loop Value Loop Design Loop would be to use the Consulting Ltd. power of design and innovation to Reducing the number of Folding the value chain Use of design to minimise Hardin Tibbs writes: “I keep seeing attempts to apply sustainability at reconfigure your different materials used and developing scaled-up into a loop and optimising the business model for the materials-intensity of product and service a level that’s way too superficial existing supply chain, return and reprocessing continuous rather than offerings, including and won’t come close to solving the business model and platforms one-pass value creation synergies of context problem. So I think it’s worthwhile to articulate this way of quantifying the offering to adapt to a Resource productivity Business model Product/service design challenge and at the same time put resource-constrained Copyright Hardin Tibbs © 2010-2012 forward solutions that would address it. Hopefully this perspective is a useful complement to various other ways ofthey don’t yet know it, is products and thinking about sustainability. This is aservices that deliver their personal achieve closed loop resource flow. The to pressure on the three global system critical issue, often poorly understood,development and well-being goals, based value loop focuses the business model fundamentals, forming a core set of but I am confident that as a globalon new industry-wide parsimonious to link resource usage with offering sustainability metrics comparable to the society we can deal with it in time – butproduction methods that can deliver design to achieve cyclic value creation. Balanced Scorecard. only just.”abundance for everyone. The design loop focuses offering Consumers have a right to expect that design for the context of customerOrienting a business around the three business will find a way to transcend Further reading: See Hardin Tibbs, needs to achieve product and serviceglobal system fundamentals means the three global system fundamentals, ‘The value loop – a new framework for dematerialisation. In effect, this meanssetting products and services in three to make both companies and high- business thinking’ using the power of design and innovationinterlocking processes: a resource technology society sustainable in the to reconfigure your existing supply chain,loop, a value loop and a design loop. process. This is the big ‘shared value’ business model and offering to adaptThe resource loop involves reducing strategy all C-Suites should have at the top to a resource-constrained world. Ratiosthe total number of materials used and of the agenda. This is where to aim. derived from the three loops can thensourcing them from a cyclic platform to directly relate business performance © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 11. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 11DatawatchBoomers and DivorceA recent analysis of US Census data who have always been defined by theirfound that, while the divorce rate is individuality, youthful perspective and Bucking the Trenddeclining in the overall population, it has focus on self-fulfilment, will continue tosurged among Baby Boomers. Even if the challenge the established way of doing Increase in the U.S. divorce rate among those ages 50+ vs. a declinedivorce rate for over 50s is still below the things well into the future, even if that in the U.S. divorce rate overallnational average, the trend is sharp. One Boomers means living a single, andin four divorces in the United States now potentially lonely, lifestyle. Divorces per 1,000 married peopleoccur among those 50+, up from 10% in But as Carl Bialik noted in a report in1990 (Source: “The Gray Divorcés,” The the Wall Street Journal, older people areWall Street Journal) more likely to be at risk of divorce for two reasons: First, “one of the biggest risk factors is getting married for the As Boomers look second or third time .Second and ahead to the kind of subsequent marriages have a 150% life they way, they greater chance of ending in divorce than do first marriages.” The second factor: are, in true Boomer more recent marriages have a bigger fashion, reluctant chance of break-up. “One half of those to accept barriers or who divorced in 2009 had been married limits along the way fewer than 20 years; of those who stayed together, nearly three in five had been Source: ‘The Gray Divorce Revolution,’ Susan Brown and I-Fen Lin , Bowling Green State University married for more than 30 years.” As George Harrison’s wife Olivia once putAs the oldest Baby Boomers enter their it. “People ask me the secret of a longmid-60s, it may be tempting to expect marriage. The secret of a long marriage fashion, reluctant to accept barriers to speak to their desire to treat life as anthat the generation that reinvented is not getting divorced” . or limits—financial, emotional or adventure to be lived to the fullest.everything facing them will, at long last, physical—along the way.” Sacrifice of As we noted in our recent MONITOR self has never been and never will besettle down and act their age. Yet the Brief, ‘Snapshot of Baby Boomers’ “As , a part of Baby Boomers’ generational This Datawatch is adapted from Futures Five,news of increasing divorces among Boomers look ahead to the kind of life character. Marketers wishing to engage a new trends service delivered to clients asthose 50+ is further proof that Boomers, they want, they are, in true Boomer with Boomers will do best by continuing part of Global MONITOR. © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 12. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 12The value of the leading edge by Yannis Kavounis Businesses can misunderstand the value of “If we are willing to behave like all the others, we will see the understanding leading edge same things, hear the same things, hire similar people, come upconsumers. Even for businesseswhose customer base is solidly in with similar ideas and develop identical products or services. Wethe mainstream, the leading edgehelps to position brands ahead of will drown in the sea of normality. And Normal Inc. is bankrupt.”mainstream market change and to Jonas Ridderstrale and Kjell Nordstrom, The Deviant’s Advantageidentify opportunity spaces earlyenough to have an impact in the world around us, on brands and on Leading edge consumers should not 62%). In terms of their attitudes, they’remarket. businesses. be confused with youth. Leading edge more likely to believe that they can make is a mindset, not a demographic. It is a difference through their actions (70%This is because such analysis is The benefit of leading edge analysis possible to identify some demographic vs 54%).not about niche or leading edge such as The Futures Company’s characteristics. The leading edgeconsumption, which can be identified Cultural Frequencies programme, then, It is also the case that leading edge consumer is slightly younger than thequickly enough through conventional is to capture trends before they reach consumers - on average around 5% of a mainstream (38.5 years old againstresearch. The bigger, and less the mainstream, identifying early on given market - are spread globally, only 42); they’re quite a lot more likely topredictable impact of leading edge the subcultures, cultural ideologies slightly over-represented in America and be single (48% against 36%), andconsumers is about the economic and consumer movements which will Europe and slightly under-represented accordingly, they’re also less likely toand cultural affect they have on the influence the mainstream. in Asia and Latin America. be parents (50% against an average of © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 13. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 13Leading edge consumers are found across global marketsSource: The Futures Company: Global MONITOR survey, 2011.* Global= 17 country tracking average; Base: all respondents from 21 countries, n=28,077; Leading Edge base, n=3189; Non-Leading Edge base, n=24888We have identified through analysis of    Self Innovation: Always looking to It is possible to trace the history of Hippie movement of the 1960s (andGlobal MONITOR data and our Global expand horizons and create new leading edge culture across the last their political expression in groupsStreetscaper Network the four main solutions half century, as it runs in parallel with such as the Yippies and in the Frenchattitudes that define them. They can be the development of consumer culture ‘soixante-huiters’), the DIY culture of thesummarised as follows:    Status New: Constantly curious, since the 1960s, as different counter- 1970s Punks, the post-Franco Movida seeking the next new thing. Have a cultural groups have challenged Madrileña in Spain, running through to   Status No: Pushing the boundaries high sensation threshold mainstream thinking and offered the emergence of hip-hop in New York in of the status quo to break away different interpretations of society. So, the late 1970s and early 1980s. from the crowd    Creative Expression: A way of life the history of the leading edge runs seeking new, alternative, and unique through the American Beat Poets, the ways to express self. © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 14. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 14These different movements can be We are seeing a new era of ‘Re-design’ , Painting Project. About one-third of will become a massive work of art,thought of as part of the era of ‘Creation’ , in which those in the leading edge have Rio de Janeiro’s population lives in drawing attention to the needs ofwhere leading edge culture challenged moved beyond being consumers to favelas, urban slums overrun with the poor and filling the communitythe status quo to create new values and becoming actors, looking to new ways to gangs and drugs. To prevent kids with pride.influence every aspect of global or local organise society. It is not too fanciful to from getting caught up in the drug    In Berlin, Carsten Höller transformedculture. say that the leading edge is redesigning trade, the Favela Painting project the Hamburger Bahnhof museum the fabric of our culture around us. Often, pays Brazil’s youth to create murals in Berlin into a laboratory populated artists are at the forefront of this process. for their communities. Armies of by live reindeer, canaries, mice, flies For example: teenage artists are giving their “It is forbidden to forbid” neighbourhoods new faces—ones and giant resin mushrooms. Visitors    Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and could spend the night in the venue, Paris slogan, May 1968 covered with bright, cheerful colors. Dre Urhahn are bringing vibrant art to experiencing alternative way of The hope is that within the next few unexpected places with their Favela primitive living. years, the entire landscape of favelasDuring the ‘90s and ‘00s, however,leading edge culture seemed to someextent to have been co-opted by thewave of globalisation. In the face ofstability and prosperity, most of thecounter-cultural movements subsided.Leading edge culture became morereactive, more recessive, less politicaland less about creation. Instead, theleading edge was characterised byrecycling and cultural re-use, fantasyworlds and playfulness, fragmentation,and blurred blurred boundaries betweencreators and followers. At the sametime, however, the rise of the internetand the web created new connections.This period can be thought of as era of‘Participation’.However, as globalisation reached itslimits - and there is evidence whichsuggests that consumer culture waspeaking in rich markets for a few yearsbefore the financial crisis - the leadingedge has re-emerged as a counter-cultural force. © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 15. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 15In our analysis of the leading edge, we Taken together, these represent a How to use Cultural Frequencieshave identified five critical trends, which fundamental challenge to the notion ofrepresent our Cultural Frequencies. To the brand that emerged in the second The Futures Company’s Cultural To help you answer these questions,summarise these, they are: half of the twentieth century, which Frequencies programme synthesises we can use a range of methods: was tightly controlled, tightly managed, the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of   Life Inc: Converting consumers from Cultural Frequencies Bootcamp: and evolved only slowly. In the era trendsetters and tastemakers into an passive participants to active owners A highly customized, interactive of Re-design brands need to be as actionable trends framework that you of ideas. It’s about turning ideas and workshop that can be used for capricious as consumers. Consistency in can easily apply to your business and passions into niche brands, fast and inspiration for brand strategy brand equity is less valuable than brand communications strategies. creating the culture without the need and planning, ideation for brand for brands or other intermediaries. positioning, NPD, packaging and   Reinventing Reinvention: Treating “A living system It is designed to help you address the communications, or foundational following questions: insight on leading edge culture. transience as a virtue, while re- needs something to appropriating, mixing and mashing fight against. A body How can we quickly tap into leading Cultural Frequencies the ideas and raw materials of the edge trends and consumers to TrendTreks: A city-specific tour of past to create new culture and needs good and bad keep our brand relevant to leading edge retail, entertainment, reinvent the future. bacteria to evolve” today’s culture? and community spaces that brings   Permanent Beta: Testing new ideas to life relevant Cultural Frequencies Sem Devillart, Futurist How can we become a brand of in public without apology, celebrating and immerses you in the leading choice for cultural trendsetters the rawness of works in progress. edge culture. and influencers? Continuously adapting and improving flexibility and cultural malleability. Brands Customised leading edge which understand this, for example, are How can we learn from other upon what it has created. Success is reports: Focused on leading edge likely to have the confidence to launch successful, leading edge brands? being redefined as experimentation in consumers in your category and life and in business. a beta product/service first and let their Where can we find fresh market, with tailored category-   Highbrow Hedonism: Getting a high brand advocates work on finishing the inspiration to fuel our brand specific and geographic analysis by looking beyond the face value of product for you. positioning, packaging and of the most relevant Cultural pop culture to add layers of depth Brands need to weave themselves communications strategy? Frequencies, supported by and meaning through critical and into the fabric of these hyper-local Where can I find provocative, quantitative data from our leading intellectual thinking. leading edge communities to challenge leading edge stimuli for ideation? edge sub-sample from Global traditional mass advertising and media MONITOR.   Identity GPS: Imprinting your identity on the spaces where you models, as well as the more modern live, and serving as a catalyst for notion of ‘amplifying’ local activations. It is local cultural products to transcend not about a ‘digital media strategy’ but a Yannis Kavounis locality. Transporting the local and complete integration of IRL (In Real Life) Director, The Futures Company’s London office’ authentic to the masses. and URL (the virtual world). Yannis writes: I admit that I get a high from the game of looking at how subtle and edgy manifestations spread The leading edge is creating a new system and is around our culture – and then connecting the dots to identify redesigning the fabric of our culture around us interesting patterns. And it’s a field oozing with creativity. © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com
  • 16. Issue 7 | April 2012 Page 16Streetscaping examples from Cultural Frequencies Programme NEWS The future of travel is collaboration The Futures Company has partnered with travel technology provider Amadeus to co-author a report, From Chaos to Collaboration, which takes a look at the future The green curtain was created to make shade of ‘collaborative travel’ through 2020. The report argues that over the next decade, and save electricity. Many people started this by thanks to a range of technologies as well as changes in social and economic contexts, using plants that grow in just a few days. there is great potential for travel to be enhanced at every stage of the journey by greater and more fluid interaction with other travellers and travel providers. The report has received coverage from the BBC, Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post, and can be downloaded here. The Futures Company launches a new trends site Trend & Tonic is a new one-stop site for the best articles, advertisements, videos and pictures each day that signal an emerging trend. A team of analysts and consultants from Futures Company offices on both sides of the Atlantic are scanning the web Uniqlo’s “Super cool biz” campaign encourages and curating the curators to provide a succinct perspective on what today’s trends mean for tomorrow’s markets. It’s on the website: visit http://trendandtonic. businessmen to dress coolly over the summer. thefuturescompany.com/ to find out more. The clothes allow business people to feel more comfortable, and promote important The rainbow on the other side of the Eurozone crisis energy-saving by reducing the need to use air conditioning. The height of the eurozone crisis in Europe saw The Futures Company publish a new set of scenarios on the future of the eurozone – looking beyond the crisis 15 year long term impact on Europe. Surprise findings: Italy and Poland are likely to be long term winners. A second economic-themed report, Quickening the Pace, explored how brands should respond to living with slow growth markets. Older people – still working – represent a significant market. And business models will start to change. To subscribe to FutureProof please Editor: Andrew Curry visit http://www.thefuturescompany.com/page/FutureProof/ Production: Tomi Isaacs Comments, feedback and requests to unsubscribe should be sent to futureproof@thefuturescompany.com Design: Kelley Zeller © The Futures Company 2012. FutureProof is published by The Futures Company at 6 More London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2QY. Copying, redistribution and display is permitted under a Creative Commons licence for non-commercial purposes, provided articles are properly attributed. Please notify us of any such re-use by emailing futureproof@thefuturescompany.com