2013 Planning Horizons from The Futures Company


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The Futures Company has been thinking ahead to what 2013 what bring, identifying new sources of growth and exploring their implications for business.

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2013 Planning Horizons from The Futures Company

  1. 1. Recasting SuccessVCs Not Equities 2013 Planning Horizons Looking Forward to 15 New Sources of Growth Read more:
  2. 2. Recasting SuccessVCs Not Equities 2013 Planning Horizons Recasting Success In this period of realignment, aspirations are first to be reconsidered.  How consumers view success and accomplishment is shifting—new symbols, new values, new satisfactions, new fashions and new role models. Read more:
  3. 3. Recasting SuccessThe Feeling of Success Markers of accomplishment are shifting, from what you have to how you feel. In the face of uncertainty, an emotional boost will mean the most. For many in low-growth developed markets, the only currency of success still within reach is feelings. In better- off emerging markets, a feeling of success will make the material break with tradition more reassuring as well as more meaningful. Status often turns on that which is in shortest supply, and, increasingly, that is feeling successful. The scales have fallen from consumers’ eyes. Five years of post-crisis uncertainty have left consumers in tough economies feeling cut off and those in emerging markets feel- ing cut loose. Little feels like success anymore. Even in good times, uncertainty erodes the foundations of optimism, self-confidence and faith in the future, leading to guarded worries that the world is a hostile place. For a while, consumers can find comfort in silver linings, but eventually counting one’s blessings is no longer enough. In good economies and bad, what consumers need now is a sense of possibility and, with it, a new way to connect to brands. Brands can best accomplish this by focusing consumers on the achievements that are still accessible to them, on the little victories to be found in the post-recession marketplace. Nike is pointing consumers to a new definition of success in its new Find Your Greatness campaign. Ads insist that “this is not about lowering expectations; it’s about raising them.” The message is that greatness may not be what is was before, but it is not a lesser greatness. The takeaway is simple: “Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it.” In short, the feeling of reaching for it is the feeling of success. In a marketplace where emotional reassurance is in short supply, this kind of boost is the most valuable thing to be had. 
It resonates everywhere—such greatness “has no fixed address.” The centerpiece of this campaign is the “Find Your Greatness” film linked to the Olympics that debuted on TV in 25 countries on July 27, 2012. It features athletes around the world striving for a personal feeling of greatness, a pan-cultural connection symbolized by the names of the cities where these athletes are found—London, Eng- land; East London, South Africa; Little London, Jamaica; London, Canada; London, Ohio, US; the London School in Qatar; London Bridge in Lake Havasu, Arizona, US. This Nike campaign is illustrative of the transition now underway from success defined by accomplishment and outcome to success as more about process and feelings. This transition represents a reassertion of what really defines success, a shift oc- casioned by the vast material changes, both for better and for worse, wrought by the global downturn. Read more: Happiness – is it your business?
  4. 4. Recasting SuccessRobin Hood Social Activism As times get tougher, Robin Hood social activism is picking up, such as the Spanish mayor who raided supermarkets to feed people, Occupy Wall Street buying debt to write it off or the financial transactions tax under consideration by the EU to fund recovery projects. Bucking the system to help others will find favor, support and emulation. But this isn’t just about the poor; the beleaguered middle-class needs this help, too. In developed markets around the world, middle-class travails are tipping the scales. Acts once regarded as unacceptable are now being forgiven as matters of necessity. Not because of any change in the character of the acts, but because of a change in the context. Theft to help others, not oneself, is finding acceptance. The mayor of Marinaleda, Spain, led raids on local supermarkets to “expropriate basic foodstuffs and give them to the soup kitchens.” New views about old vices are bubbling up. To boost jobs and revenue, the town council of Rasquera, Spain, okayed the local cultivation of marijuana for sale to the Barcelona Personal Use Cannabis Association, and more such deals are being negotiated. Proportionality has greater salience. The EU is considering a financial transaction tax to ensure banks “pay their fair share to repair the damage done by the economic crisis both here [the UK] and in poor countries.” Moral hazard is being disregarded. An Occupy Wall Street organization called Strike Debt is raising money to buy distressed debt for pennies on the dollar and then forgive the debtors. People are taking things into their own hands. The best bet for government and brands is to open up before people take what they need. For example, public data initiatives are opening up public data streams for civic hacking that contributes to the public good. Brands must go against the grain of expectations to help people in need, doing for oth- ers before doing for themselves. In the UK, supermarket chains such as Sainsbury’s and restaurant chains such as Pret-a-Manger have begun donating the tons of edible food they throw out each day to homeless charities and food banks. Dove has created a Facebook app that enables women to create positive, esteem-building ads that the brand then shows to other women, using its own media budget to outbid other adver- tisers targeting women with negative body-image messages. Read more: GLOBAL MONITOR Global Enraged
  5. 5. Recasting SuccessNordicool As the climate warms, the cool places get cooler.  Witness the Danish crime drama The Killing, remade into a US cable TV series and sparking a craze for the heroine’s hand-knitted Scandinavian sweaters. Swedish writer Henning Mankell’s Wallander novels have been popular on British TV. The Danish political drama Borgen has been picked up by US network NBC. For the past three years, Noma in Copenhagen has been voted the world’s best restaurant. Melting ice caps and vanishing ski resorts will lend colder areas additional catch-it-while-you-can charm.
 Scandinavia has emerged as the new global hot spot of cool, with an outbreak of Nordic sensations that have become fashionable around the world. First and foremost is the international blockbuster, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by the late Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson. It is a wide-reaching cultural phenomenon, touching upon many contemporary issues including violence against women, sexual politics, corporate responsibility, racism, genocide, data security, privacy, computer hacking, international intrigue, political media and investigative reporting. Danish TV shows like The Killing and Borgen have found audiences worldwide, while fictional Swedish police inspector Kurt Wallander is the much-loved protagonist of Henning Mankell’s bestselling novels that have been successfully adapted for both the big and little screens in Sweden, the UK and other markets. Copenhagen’s Noma restaurant, recognized for the last three years as the best in the world, has put Nordic cuisine on the map. Swedish food sales in the UK are up 30 percent over the past five years; Norwegian food sales are up 18%. Nordic design first captured the public imagination in the 1950s with its sleek, stylish, compact lines and functional finishes, but it is on the rise again with new interpretations and fresh ways for 1950s modernism to meet the demands of 21st century sustainability. And sitting behind this is a deeper story. In a world where people are starting to understand (through books such as The Spirit Level or the work of British geographer Danny Dorling) that more equal societies are better for everyone, rich as well as poor, the Nordic countries’ success in promoting better social outcomes is part of their appeal. The minimalist essence of Nordicool and its social and economic roots are a natural fit for developed markets facing austerity and prolonged retrenchment. Nordicool minimalism offers practical solutions with an aspirational overlay, showing how less is actually more in terms of design, attitude, discriminating tastes and social awareness. Read more: Future of the Eurozone
  6. 6. Recasting SuccessCarrying On Over What’s Going Away Look at what’s disappearing to see what people will start to care about the most. Three things over the near term: (i) Frogs—due to the accelerating collapse of amphibian species. (ii) Undivided attention—as more and more things demand notice, it will replace applause and formality as the ultimate display of appreciation and respect. (iii) Water—due to climate change and booming pressure on aquifers, water efficiency will be a new measure of brand value.
 The principle is simple: People put more stock in what’s scarce. The rarer the stone, the higher the price. The more limited the edition, the greater the status. No surprise, then, that pop-up retail first appeared during the heyday of over-abundance in the early 2000s. With so much to be had at the time, the only way to sustain value was to rein- vent and then reintroduce scarcity. But nowadays scarcity doesn’t need to be invented. In an era of limits and declines, it will be a feature of the marketplace. Much of the coming scarcity will be in the natural world. Frogs and other amphibians have been in decline for many decades, but the rate of this decline is now triggering alarms: some scientists have called it “terrifying.” Frogs feature prominently in popular culture, so as their numbers wither, their following will increase, especially as a symbol of other environmental threats. Much of the coming scarcity will be in the social world. Technologies of all sorts are commanding more of our time, focus and mental energy, thus creating a competition and trade referred to as the “attention economy.” Researchers at the Global Information Industry Center at the University of California at San Diego estimated that in 2008 the average American consumed a torrent of 33.8 gigabytes of information each day, up from 9.8 in 1980. As this amount of data increases, people are starting to put a premi- um on the times when they can go offline—and are creating new social codes to allow themselves to do that. Much of the coming scarcity will be the result of hitting limits. Shortages of many sorts are forecast, but perhaps the most worrying is water. Even with an overflow of every- thing else, nothing can survive without water. Many things contribute to water scarcity: poor infrastructure, depletion of natural reserves and climate change. Nearly 3 billion people are projected to live in water-stressed areas by 2025. This will make it impera- tive for brands at a minimum to practice water conservation or face a loss of goodwill, with negative economic consequences. But good water practices will also offer smart brands a point of difference to enhance value. Read more: World in 2020: The Business Challenges of the Future
  7. 7. Recasting SuccessHome Economists More skill with numbers is essential for an increasingly data-rich, apps-driven economy. High-school home economics will have to keep up with the shift to smart homes run by consoles and to smartphones synced to monitor and optimize every aspect of daily life. Brands must use a new vocabulary to sell to data-savvy consumers equipped with the tools to quickly rumble empty claims based only on gut feel and emotion.
 The era of Big Data has arrived. An Economist video reports that the quantity of global data is forecast to be an eye-bugging 7,910 exabytes by 2015, over 60 times greater than 2005. Twitter alone generates over 230 million tweets each day, equivalent to 46 megabits of data per second. In this future, people will live in a world of sensors and software in which their “every move is instantly digitized and added to the flood of pub- lic data.” No surprise, then, that Deloitte projects nine in ten of the Fortune 500 will have Big Data initiatives underway by the end of this year. For consumers, Big Data means apps to manage it. The “app economy” is estimated to be a $20-billion industry that in the US alone has created 466,000 new jobs since 2007. The number of US software development jobs is projected to grow twice as fast as jobs in the rest of the economy over the rest of the decade. This mind-boggling scale of exabytes, zettabytes and, soon to come, yottabytes is well beyond intuitive grasp. To remedy that, photographer Rick Smolan has launched “The Human Face of Big Data” to translate this abstract reality into tangible particulars by helping people see the world anew through the “data exhaust” of contemporary digital immersion. By enlisting thou- sands to participate in one or more of six projects, along with a website, smartphone apps, high-profile events and a book, Smolan is making Big Data more accessible to ordinary people. One consequence of this shift to a data-intensive world is a shift in education. Estonia has begun a pilot program to teach all six-year-olds computer programming. In the UK the Raspberry Pi, a programmable computer selling for tens of dollars, has sold close to a million units in just a few months. High school home economics will have to be reinvented to keep up with the shift in skills needed to navigate life in a Big Data world. In doing so, people will become smarter, savvier consumers, better able to sort through brand claims and competing offers and share competing versions of what’s happening in the world. Read more: Technology 2020 Personal Worlds
  8. 8. Recasting SuccessVCs Not Equities 2013 Planning Horizons Navigating New Life Stages Consumers’ lives are realigning and unfolding differently.   The expectations and milestones that define the trajectory of life is in transition, with new meaning and significance to everything. Read more:
  9. 9. Navigating New Life StagesA No-Life Crisis Many Millennials may never get to a mid-life crisis because they may never start out on the road there. They now face a crisis of self—a no-life crisis. Obstacles beset them, odds are against them—poor employment prospects, demands for more (debt-loaded) education, lower wages and multiple jobs, career competition with aging Boomers. Their existential question will be, “how do I get going?” not the mid-life worry of “where am I going?”
 In 2001, a much-ballyhooed book about the emergent, newly named Millennials genera- tion declared that twenty-somethings were facing a quarter-life crisis. This idea about Millennials is now old hat. The unprecedented pressures and challenges facing young people today in their teens and twenties force them to face down anxieties and self- doubts that prior generations faced only as adults in a mid-life crisis. Millennials now face the conundrum of not being able to get started at all. It’s not early onset of a mid-life crisis as a quarter-life crisis; it’s a no-life crisis. This predicament cannot be resolved by finding a better way forward. Increasingly Millennials are looking for different ways altogether. Unemployment is devastating young people’s prospects. Pundits have dubbed today’s 20-somethings Generation Jobless, a label that is particularly true for young people in the EU. But as figures reported by the International Labour Organization make clear, this is a global problem affecting every region of the world, not just the hard-hit devel- oped West. The interplay of aging workers and young hires will play out differently around the world depending upon the relative sizes and growth rates in different countries. But even where this dynamic favors young people, companies are worried about the very daunt- ing challenges of competently filling roles without a large reserve of senior expertise on hand to help bring along the next generation. At a minimum, good jobs are going to require more—and more expensive—education. This adds yet another layer of hardship on Millennials, who will struggle to afford it. Col- lege debt is weighing heavily on US Millennials, and tuition increases sent UK Millennials to the streets in protest in 2010. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Millennials are starting to opt of the economic mainstream and do their own thing. Read more: Millennials in Crisis
  10. 10. Navigating New Life StagesLease-A-Life With many Millennials facing significant difficulties affording education, finding work opportunities and start-up money, watch for a revival of indentured servitude in new guises to finance a start in life. In exchange for some work, Millennials will get cash they need to make a go of it. This is the devil’s bargain many Millennials already make with the military. Look for it to expand, as brands and institutions adopt new lifecycle strategies to accommodate this new situation.
 Steep unemployment among young people could mean that this generation is fated to endure the modern-day equivalent of indentured servitude. Investor and Internet bil- lionaire Peter Thiel sparked a Twitter frenzy this summer with his pronouncement that skyrocketing college costs were an “education bubble” turning an “entire generation into something close to indentured servants.” The same thing has been said about the proliferation of unpaid internships that emerged immediately after the financial crisis. Jobs were scarce and employers were strapped. Employers offered unpaid temporary positions that young people were willing or forced to take for the training and résumé-building experience. This situation has been decried by many labor advocates and movement groups like Occupy Wall Street. Yet in a low-growth job market, the underlying dynamics are not going to change. But the longer this situation persists, the more likely it is that those affected will transform it from a survival tactic into an advancement strategy. There is an analogue for this transformation. One of the biggest selling points for today’s volunteer Army is money for school. In short, serve your time to earn educa- tion benefits that you couldn’t otherwise afford. Now, of course, the catch here is the same old one of finding a job after school, but the idea is carrying this sort of reciprocity forward from school to the workplace. Increasingly, serious questions are being raised about the ethics of unpaid internships, but few would argue with the value of legitimate work experience. So as pressures mount to find non-exploitative alternatives employers can afford, reciprocity will shape future arrangements. Young people will be willing to commit themselves in return for a specific opportunity or other benefits. While this kind of reciprocity is distasteful to older workers who got started in less try- ing circumstances, and may be viewed with more resignation than enthusiasm by many young people, it will offer a new way forward, and thus, as employment stays soft, is sure to emerge. Read more: Unmasking Millennials
  11. 11. Navigating New Life StagesVCs Not Equities Stock markets worldwide will be under pressure from slowing population growth, resource scarcity, rising energy prices and declining returns from innovation. The next generation of consumers will have to look elsewhere to put its money to work. More attention will be paid to project-based and venture investment. With the scarcity of jobs, young people are being forced to find ways to make it on their own. This entrepreneurial orientation is well suited for building a do-it-yourself future.
 George Mason University economist and Marginal Revolution blogger Tyler Cowen set the blogosphere afire in early 2011 with The Great Stagnation, in which he argued that the global economy has reached a technological plateau that is going to depress inno- vation and slow growth for the foreseeable future. Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon sparked a similar furor with a mid-2012 paper in which he argued that future US economic growth would be anemic because of intractable economic head- winds and progressively less productive technological innovation. The story told by Cowen and Gordon about the US seems likely to be true for most rich- er economies. There is little disagreement that future prospects will be challenging, and this will weaken the proposition underpinning our pensions: that economic growth—re- flected in the value of stocks and shares—will pay for our retirement. Earnings deter- mine the value of equities, and productivity is the key to sustained earnings growth. With productivity slowing, or even declining, the next generation of investors may find that equities don’t grow fast enough anymore. This will force Millennials to consider other options for putting their money to work to afford future needs and aspirations. Already, financial services firms are seeing a different attitude about investing from Millennials. They are savvier about saving for retirement than their parents and they are investing with social impact and corporate responsibility more in mind. So as challeng- es arise, Millennials will not shy away from non-traditional alternatives. Online crowd funding is one example of this experimental attitude at work. The Federal JOBS Act signed earlier this year removed some of the barriers that have kept many young people from more actively investing in crowd-funded startups. Peer-to-peer lend- ing schemes, which provide a more direct return on loans made to borrowers, are also beginning to take off. But what will really distinguish Millennials is their entrepreneurial spirit. If stocks prove to be disappointing, then Millennials put their money and time in entrepreneurial ven- tures. They will maximize returns by investing in themselves, or in others who reflect their own values and entrepreneurial initiative. In low-growth markets, everyone needs to think like a venture capitalist. Read more: Quickening the Pace
  12. 12. Navigating New Life StagesThe Boomer Bridge Job Boomers will not move into retirement as early or as seamlessly as their parents. They will need a job to bridge them over a transition period and to help stretch out their retirement savings. And they’ll want to work as well. The silver lining is the opportunity to do something enriching. As a life stage expectation, a bridge job won’t be just any part-time job, but a goal to plan for. This will keep Boomers active as consumers longer and create new needs for brands to fulfill.
 Lifespans are longer than ever and fertility rates are declining, exacerbating the balloon- ing numbers of older relative to younger people. The global economy is reeling under this unprecedented shift, a transition made more difficult by the deep global recession of 2008/09. Decades of retirement programs and other social safety nets for older people are being eroded by austerity cuts. One result is that older people will need to remain in the workforce longer. Due to medical advances and better overall health, a larger proportion will be able to do so, compared to prior generations. But many older people will stay in the workforce out of interest as well, especially given the high health-related quality of life true of developed economies as well as many of the faster-growing emerging economies. However, those who work longer are not likely to keep doing the same things or start from the bottom and begin a whole new career. Rather, they will be looking for “bridge jobs” to carry them over a gap in their finances while offering something engaging to stay active, involved and interested. With aging populations now hitting a critical mass, bridge jobs are the biggest workforce trend to come. Other trends add momentum to the growth of bridge jobs. In particular, they make room for younger workers to advance on career ladders, thus easing inter-generational tensions. And they provide employment at a pace in keeping with the physical realities of older people. Perhaps the biggest impact of bridge jobs will be a new life stage to anticipate and plan for. For many older people, this will shift emphasis for their senior years from one mostly about finances and legacies to one with a bigger focus on personal fulfillment and career engagement. Bridge jobs will be a separate ecosystem of work. Older people will need retraining late in life, with education and skills development, healthcare for prolonged active lifestyles, and more robust financial advice. Perhaps most of all, though, the rise of bridge jobs will force employers to take a different attitude toward older workers. At many places, respect for elders stops at the threshold to the office, but that will change with the structural shift ahead toward bridge jobs. Read more: Generations
  13. 13. Navigating New Life StagesThe Un-Drivers’ License Technology has replaced the car in the imaginations of young people. Cutting-edge electronics are more likely to deliver the immersive experience of freedom, interaction and maturity that were once the domain of driving your first car. Financial pressures, concerns about carbon footprint and innovative options to lease on demand all mean that attitudes to cars are taking a big fork in the road.
 For many, especially in developed economies, car ownership is less aspirational. In de- veloped countries, where car ownership has plateaued and the middle-class is suffering setbacks, cars have lost cachet, especially among young people. For teens, a car is no longer the rite of passage to adulthood that it was for prior generations. Nor do teens depend on a car for freedom of expression and independence from the watchful eye of parents. Technology now delivers the peer power central to youth culture, usurping cars’ traditional status. This loss of aspirational value is also true for adults, as financial pressures have taken their toll. The average length of US car ownership is at an all-time high and nowadays consumers are focusing more on product and less on symbolism when buying a car. Car ownership continues to skyrocket in emerging markets and is a good cross-cultural proxy for middle-class status, so cars will be a proud part of the new economic and lifestyle status of the expanding the middle-class in developing countries. Nevertheless, limits are coming. The explosion of car ownership in emerging markets is overwhelm- ing local infrastructure with congestion and pollution. Consequently, many emerging market authorities are capping car ownership with auctions and lotteries, taking much of the real and perceived value out of ownership. The result is a flowering of alternatives to ownership. Zipcar, an on-demand car shar- ing service has become popular in the US, UK and Europe and is expanding into China. WhipCar utilizes a peer-to-peer lending model. Even car manufacturers are developing rental schemes as consumer alternatives to purchasing, such as Peugeot’s Mu pro- gram. These new arrangements are particularly attractive to young people for whom sharing is already an entrenched part of their cultural economy. Combined with their aversion to the costs, hassles and environmental impact of cars, the trend ahead is one of de- motorization, in which consumers look to technologies to help them manage car use and provide the status and symbolic value previously associated with cars. Read more: The Future of Sustainable Transport in Europe
  14. 14. Recasting SuccessVCs Not Equities 2013 Planning Horizons New Nurture With realignment comes stress and worry, which puts well-being front and center.   It’s more than healthcare: it’s how well consumers feel in every aspect of their lives: the physical, emotional, spiritual, social and intellectual. Read more:
  15. 15. New NurtureThe Soothing of the Sea The next horizon for nutrition and well-being is the deep blue yonder, a rich source of food, medicines and even fuel. The burgeoning interest in wellness is sending people in search of healing and restoration. The sea, long associated culturally with powers of renewal, will offer a wealth of ways to deliver this. For example, marine algae contain high levels of protein. Its healthy properties mean it has been a dietary staple in many parts of Asia for hundreds of years.
 Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth and are one of the richest sources of food, medicines and even energy. The biodiversity of marine ecosystems is vast with more than 300,000 known species of plants and animals. The contributions to human health are multifaceted—as a source of food and nutrition, a reservoir of traditional health remedies, a mine of pharmaceuti- cals, a barrier against pathogens and infectious diseases, and a regulator of climate and associated health threats from climate change. But we still know very little about the sea, particularly the deep sea. We have sampled less than one percent of the seafloor, yet what we have found there is spectacular and eye-opening: magnificent deep-sea corals; life teeming in hydrothermal vents; many unique species of aquatic life in underwater mountain ranges. The little we know and the enormous value we get from that tiny fraction draw us to the sea as the next fron- tier of health and wellness. As interest grows in new solutions and fresh thinking about wellness and quality of life, the sea beckons as a new world—and the next big trend—where these riches of nurture and soothing are to be found. Its bounty is evident already. For example, marine algae have been a dietary staple in many parts of Asian for hundreds of years, renowned for being rich in bioactive, health- giving compounds that include vitamins, omega-3, fatty acids and anti-oxidants. More than 15,000 new chemical compounds have been discovered in algae in recent years. With their high levels of proteins, algae are an exciting potential food source as well. Additionally, algae oil is now being studied as a fuel, potentially replacing biofuels like ethanol due to algae’s higher output per acre farmed, faster cultivation cycles and abil- ity to be farmed on arid land unsuitable for food crops. Read more: Reframing Wellbeing
  16. 16. New NurtureVeggie Vending As snacking continues to shift to healthier items like fruit and vegetables, expect such healthy snacks to show up in vending machines, together with the dip to go with them. Already, these items are showing up in locations such as airport kiosks and corner stores. Vending machines are next. At root, this trend is a manifestation of the long-term remaking of store shelves and retail logistics to carry a wholly new style of food, and the change in access to healthy eating that goes with it.
 Vending machines are one of the oldest forms of retail, going back in history to at least the first century AD. "Modern-day vending machines have been used to dispense a wide variety of products, even life insurance and iPods, and now in Beverly Hills, caviar, truffles, escargot, blinis, Mother of Pearl spoons and gourmet salts." Vegetables are the number one restaurant food trend of 2013, according to foodservice consulting firm Technomic. So it’s no surprise that veggie vending is on the rise, too. Consumers who want healthy food options want them within easy reach. Vending technology continues to improve, with companies in the US and Europe devel- oping state-of-the-art equipment to dispense fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods in schools and universities, office parks and government centers, stores and bodegas, airports, hospitals and health clubs. Veggie vending is growing in Japan and China, too. Food companies like Del Monte are creating a range of whole and cut produce for distri- bution and sale through vending machines. Companies that install and manage vending machines are jumping on board as well, both to satisfy demand and to protect their image from charges that they only dispense empty, unhealthy calories. Of course, the real driver for this trend is consumer demand. Vending companies are struggling already from a large drop-off in sales during the global recession. Consumer interest in health will get support from employers who are looking to reduce rising health insurance premiums by getting employees to live healthier lifestyles. Adding veg- gie vending to the company break room is one way that employers can shift the context of choice to do so. Veggie vending is a rapidly emerging shift in retailing that fits with a broader social and economic need to recalibrate consumer perceptions about healthy eating, specifically, that it is not a challenge or an inconvenience but something within easy reach in a vend- ing machine, just like anything else. Read more: FutureProof – the Health issue
  17. 17. New NurtureSmart Clothes It won’t be enough anymore for clothes just to be smart-looking; they will have to be smart as well. Increasingly, sensors are being woven into fabrics and linked to ambient networks of monitors, databases and apps that will provide active feedback and guidance, even intervention, about everything from exercise to diet to disease to your golf swing. And germ-free fabrics are becoming commonplace, enveloping people in a sterile cocoon that fights off contagion and contamination.
 Clothing is no longer just fashion. It is now expected to make a person better, not merely better looking. Embedded sensors and specially treated fabrics will soon be a standard part of a person’s health regimen. First to hit the general market is Nike+, a suite of shoe and wristband sensors that mon- itor athletic performance by pairing the sensors to apps running on smartphones and iPods or Kinect for Xbox 360. AT&T is pushing for partners to track people’s vital signs through wireless sensors embedded in clothing. Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK, recently opened P3i, a research center to develop ‘smartware’ to treat medical con- ditions, ‘senseware’ to detect medical problems and technology-embedded ‘bioware’. These are just a few of the many efforts now underway. Expect also more everyday ap- plications, such as a handbag that can point you in the right direction. Some of these smart clothing innovations are just the latest development in the broad- er arena of personal informatics, which is the growing trend of people tracking their own personal data in order to improve their health or effectiveness. Wired co-founder and tech guru Kevin Kelly has dubbed it the “quantified self” and maintains a blog by that name on the latest technological developments and new ways of putting personal information to use. Smart clothing brings personal informatics to a whole new level. Monitoring becomes easier as data are wirelessly and continuously uploaded. Algorithms and rules-based evaluative systems can respond in real-time with alerts and notifications. And not only for health but for all physical activities, from getting to work to running errands to play- ing golf to managing energy levels. These new smart fabrics will be even stronger guardians of health when also treated with newly developed anti-microbial technologies that can render clothing permanently germ-free. Ridding clothing of residual bacteria and germs is something many deter- gents, like Ariel Antibac, promise already. But fabrics that come pretreated to prevent germs from adhering in the first place will, like smart sensors, create more of the sort of convenience that will make wearables more popular as a way to nurture and manage health in the future. Read more: Golf’s 2020 vision
  18. 18. New NurtureNice Vice A confluence of trends is forcing vice out of the shadows. The Shades of Grey books, with plotlines tied to kinky sex, are bestsellers. A male stripper movie, Magic Mike, is a big hit. Two states in the US legalized marijuana in the 2012 elections. And things like out-of-wedlock births and gay marriage, once anathema, are now accepted and celebrated. Rudeness, too, has been become routine. Little is off limits anymore.
 Boundaries are blurring. Vices no longer hide in the shadows, 
shielded from prying eyes. This is not a recent development. Taboos have been mainstreaming for decades. 
A vari- ety of macro factors are responsible—the elevated value now put upon unfettered self- expression, a long-term decline in the authority of religion to moderate public behavior, the atmosphere of intimate candor rife on social networks, the harsh tenor of talk-show debate and discussion about politics and sports, the tell-all tabloid culture of paparazzi media, and the need people feel for escape and exhilaration amidst difficult economic times. But nowadays, we’re seeing new extremes. Welcome to the ‘nice vice’ era in which decadence and debauchery are considered normal. The bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey, and its two sequels, have brought BDSM (bondage, discipline and sadomasochism) into the mainstream. The Web site Ash- leyMadison.com is an online dating service with the explicitly articulated purpose of helping married people arrange extramarital affairs. Steven Soderbergh’s film about a male stripper, Magic Mike, starring Matthew McConaughey, was a box office hit, gross- ing $113 million in North America and another $45 million in countries across the globe, from France to Thailand to Mexico, and more. In China, sex is being discussed more openly than ever in every context and forum. In the 2012 election, voters in two US states, Colorado and Washington, voted to legal- ize marijuana. New kind of lifestyles and living arrangements, while far from becoming mainstream, are find greater acceptance and observance. The next boundary to blur is civility. Ranting and rudeness are becoming routine. A coarsening of language in popular media have made incivility the norm. A May 2011 survey sponsored by PR firm Weber Shandwick found that 55 percent of Americans expected civility to worsen over the next few years. Only nine percent expected civility would improve, down substantially from 26 percent in 2010. Far from being something people go out of their way not to do, incivility is becoming the new norm of engagement, the next vice to go mainstream. Read more: Moral decline and moral panic
  19. 19. New NurtureCatharsis With people feeling on edge about prospects and opportunities, they need to vent. Holding back weighs you down, so people will find ways to express anger and frustration. Brands will find that success lies as much in managing negative consumer energy as in inspiring positive energy. Catharsis will grow in importance as a brand benefit because this outrage will need to be spent before optimism can be felt. This psychological ‘sunshine after the storm’ will keep people engaged even as they are enraged.
 All over the world, people need to vent. Frustration with the depth of the recession, plus the time it is taking to recover, has boiled over into exasperation. Fear has fueled confrontation and protest. The easy confidence people felt before the downturn has given way to an uneasy foreboding that finds ready confirmation by looking around and seeing so many who have been devastated. People remain emotionally brittle about their prospects, notwithstanding some prog- ress and more improvements on the horizon. People feel shaky, and this makes them angry. Public anger is easier than ever to express and thus increasingly common, mak- ing it a big risk for brands. This boiling point has not been reached yet in most emerging markets, but experts are betting this will change soon. For example, Brazil has been a booming exception in a tepid global economy, but many economists view its near-term prospects with caution. Forecasts of Brazil’s 2012 GDP growth have repeatedly been revised downwards. Simi- larly, China has worked hard over the past year to sustain its growth, yet prospects are unclear. Chinese authorities monitor this carefully, because even strong growth can be too weak to keep its rapidly growing labor force from becoming restless and angry over too few jobs. Outbreaks of unrest are commonplace. Frustration and anger are evident everywhere. Catharsis is a global dynamic, so brands must step up to channel these demands. This goes beyond mere customer service. For example, it is better to invite and reward consumers to find product or marketing flaws than to mount a defensive response after flaws have been exposed through social media. Increasingly, it is important for brands to communicate a base level of expectations about problems, rather than pretend everything is always perfect. Brands must prac- tice a new level of candor and perfect a light touch to minimize sources of conflict. Even better: offer consumers venues where catharsis is welcome behavior. You will learn much more about your markets and your customers. Read more: GLOBAL MONITOR Global Enraged
  20. 20. Recasting SuccessVCs Not Equities About the Futures Company The Futures Company is a leading global strategic insight and innovation consultancy. The Futures Company unlocks new sources of growth through its unparalleled global expertise in foresight and futures. The Futures Company is a Kantar company within WPP with teams in Europe, North America, Latin America and (from 2013) Asia. Telephone + 44 (0)20 7955 1800 Telephone +1 (919) 932 8858 unlockingfutures@thefuturescompany.com www.thefuturescompany.com www. twitter.com/futuresco http://www.linkedin.com/company/the-futures-company Read more: