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Future proof september2011


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Future proof september2011

  1. 1. Issue 5 | September 2011Welcome to FutureProof – The Futures Company’s regular briefing about current global strategic and consumer issueswith perspectives from our various international centres. Our purpose here is to broaden horizons and share some of ourbigger picture thinking with you. This edition includes: China is meeting consumer concerns over quality and safety in the rapidly expanding domestic markets. Ten Years On Looking back at consumer attitudes in the decade since 9/11. Social Networks The future of social networking will be FutureProof driven by consumer preferences for interaction.
  2. 2. Issue 5 | September 2011 Page 2 FutureProofChinese growth: bursting at the seams China’s economic growth In Shanghai, home ownership doubled even though optimism is running high, to promote consumption. Milk over the last 30 years has between 1997 and 2004.4 IKEA and because it hasn’t convinced people supplemented with melamine, pigs been explosive. Between B&Q entered the Chinese market that it will catch them if they fall. On reared on Clenbuterol and condoms1982 and 1997, per capita income in 1998. Just over half of urban the one hand, The Futures Company’s lubricated with vegetable oil are amongnearly quadrupled.1 Foreign direct households had a colour TV in 1990, Global MONITOR 2011 survey reveals the more conventional cases to have hit but by 2005 this figure had more than that 92% of Chinese people believe that the headlines in China in recent years.8investment, negligible before 1978, doubled.5 By 2008, almost half of the financially, things are going either ‘veryreached nearly US$100 billion in Similarly, the high speed rail crash population owned a mobile phone. well’ or ‘fairly well’ in their country these1994, as the economy grew by more that killed 39 citizens has caused days (the 21-country average is 40%),than 9% per year.2 Investment But the rapid economic growth seething anger. The decision to recall while 69% say the same about theirin infrastructure between 1990 has sharpened inequality and led 54 bullet trains was symptomatic to repeated safety and production personal financial situation.6 of fear of the public mood, a moreand 1999 increased total length On the other hand, China has one of scandals of which the recent high important factor in China thanof paved roads by 50%, doubled the highest household saving rates in speed rail crash is only the most recent. outsiders sometimes realise.electrical output, and tripled the the world (around 30%), partly due to China’s leaders are learning, quickly,length of civil aviation routes.3 insecurity caused by rising property And again, apparently legitimate goods that markets need institutions andConsumer change has followed. prices, lack of welfare provision, and are not what they seem. In July this governance as well as entrepreneurs limited investment options.7 year, the blogger Bird Abroad wrote and infrastructure. a post documenting her visit to what And the government is struggling to Repeated graft and safety scandals proved to be a fake Apple Store in the convert investment into consumption, have also undermined attempts city of Kunming. The international1 IMF, Why is China growing so fast?, 1997 4 Gallup, ‘Home Ownership Soars in China’ 1 March 2005 ,2 Ibid. 5 China Statistical Yearbook, 20103 Shuanglin Lin, ‘Public Infrastructure Development in China’, Comparative Economic Studies, 2001. 6 Global MONITOR 2011 is a proprietary attitudinal survey of 21 markets around the world. © The Futures Company 2011. 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
  3. 3. Issue 5 | September 2011 Page 3interest sparked by the story led to Reassurance This circular signalled an change of equipped to offer reassurance thanthe discovery of 22 such fake stores in tactics from the Chinese government. their domestic rivals because manyKunming alone. In November 2009, the Chinese Previously it had been deliberately have well-established reputations. government launched a 30-second TV opaque about the details of product For example, Amway deliberately sellsThe Chinese government appears to advertisement shown on BBC News safety violations, but now it recognised its cleaning products at a premiumhave responded with a determination and CNN around the world. Titled ‘Made that the issue was becoming price in China to emphasise quality;to tackle these problems. It seems to in China’ the ad drew attention to the , inflammable. By taking responsibility for it takes fat margins by reducing therealise that the next phase of growth high quality goods made by Chinese it, the government acted as a lightning unit size.11 L’Oréal uses its own brandwill require trust and accountability. manufacturers, including mp3 players, rod for anger. By encouraging citizens name, rather than the Elsève tag that’s sports shoes, and jet engines. By the to help with the fight, the government time this ad made it to air, delayed by acknowledged that there was only so “China’s leaders are several scandals9, 09 it looked like a much it could do, and put power in the learning, quickly, defensive response. hands of its people. that markets need But the scandals also had a direct Clearly, there are two issues at play. economic effect. Each one led institutions and to a sharp drop in exports, and On the one hand, high profile export scandals such as the Mattel toy recall of governance as well as threatened the long-term credibility 2007 are a threat to economic growth, entrepreneurs of manufacturers in sensitive sectors with some diplomatic implications. This such as food, drink and children’s toys. and infrastructure.” So, in 2009, the Chinese government threat grew when President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization introduced the death penalty for food Act in December 2010, increasing the safety violators, passed a sweeping used elsewhere, for hair care products US Food and Drug Administration’s new food safety law and inaugurated it sells in China. We expect to see power to perform inspections on a risk evaluation system capable of foreign FMCG companies operating in foreign manufacturing facilities. monitoring 500,000 companies China investing in independent, ‘gold- More worrying for the government, standard’ certification processes in the As significantly, in March 2011 the however, is the potential for damage near future. government issued a circular urging to domestic confidence in Chinese ‘procuratorates’10 across the country Domestic Chinese brands are unwilling goods. Even brands that apply the to work with the courts to “severely to see foreign rivals sail effortlessly to most scrupulous standards to their punish” violators of food safety the top of their categories on the back production processes will be negatively laws. What was unusual about this of reputation alone, and are redoubling affected by the minority who cut directive was that, for the first time, the their efforts to promote their own corners. This, in turn, will limit domestic government urged citizens to use all uncompromising standards. consumption and foreign investment. the means available to them (including In June 2009, investment website social media) to expose scandals. Foreign manufacturers who sell to Seeking Alpha made Chinese company the Chinese market have been betterThe Chinese survey of 2,488 respondents was conducted during April and May 2011. 8 Clenbuterol is an additive that speeds up muscle growth and fat burning, producing leaner pork.For more information, please contact Deniz Erdem or call +44 (0) 20 7955 1873. 9 Including several recalls of lead-coated toys, exported to the US in 2007, the notorious melamine milk7 Nielsen, ‘Saving a Top Priority for Chinese...But Why?’, October 2011. scandal of 2008, and an incidence of dumplings contaminated with insecticide that made 10 people ill in Japan in 2008. © The Futures Company 2011. 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
  4. 4. Issue 5 | September 2011 Page 4DatawatchSelf-reliance: one of the most striking trends in our Global MONITOR data this year Victoria, one of our network of Global Streetscapers, based in Russia notesIn most of the 21 major markets we surveyed a reluctance to depend on anyone else for available resources to greater scrutiny. People “The general mood [in Russia] is uncertain.for The Futures Company Global MONITOR, protection and guidance in an increasingly are prizing the savviness and skills needed to Most people feel they can count only onthere is a significantly higher premium being unpredictable and unstable world. build their own networks of trusted advisors themselves and do not expect support fromattached to self-reliance. While this may not around themselves. government or social structures. There is Self-reliance does not mean turning away 3. Self-reliance: one of the “advice from experts” but subjecting all in our Global most striking trendsgo as far as holing up in a cave with a supply of from uncertainty about the general situation inbottled water and tinned food, it does indicate MONITOR data this year the country, including politics and economics. Everybody keeps in mind that the overall situation might change tomorrow, and so will your personal future. What will better increase your chances of succeeding in “Those who are more optimistic and capable of todays world? % answering: Becoming as self-reliant as possible estimating the situation in the country are more (vs. seeking the help and guidance of experts or professionals): clear and rational. They are connecting their future with other countries, trying to protect their families and assets by transferring the 2009 2010 2011 last ones abroad. 74 70 70 68 “Resourcefulness and persuasion are very 64 66 65 specific values about our country, as you 61 63 59 sometimes may get into a situation without a 57 57 57 solution. And then you have to be very creative, 51 53 51 50 and only resourcefulness allows you to 48 settle your issues, even if the environment 41 42 40 40 and regulations are against you.” 38 31 26 28 30 GLOBAL USA CAN UK JAP IRL RUS SKO BRA © The Futures Company 2011 1 ‫׀‬ Source: The Futures Company: Global MONITOR survey, 2011The latest edition of our future-focussed insights program, Global MONITOR 2011/2012, launches with a global webinar on 13 September 2011.Global MONITOR is designed to inform strategy development, inspire innovation and guide communication across multiple markets worldwide. It is basedon consumer research in 21 countries. For more information on Global MONITOR, please contact (in the US) Simon Kaplan, +1919 932 8858( or (in Europe) Deniz Erdem, +44 20 7955 1873 ( © The Futures Company 2011. 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
  5. 5. Issue 5 | September 2011 Page 5American Dairy (ADY) its stock pick After the Clenbuterol pork scandal swept Trusted advice: the opportunityof the day, based on two stunning China in early 2011, Yurun Food, one of Demonstrate your brandquarters of growth after the melamine China’s largest meat manufacturers,milk crisis. The company was one of the invited 100 consumers from Nanjing Consistency in-store. Look the same everywherefew industry beneficiaries of the crisis, to visit its food production plants and Endorsements: Cool or trustworthy?as emerged with an unimpeachable report back on the standards it enforces.record for quality. The company had Each was given a copy of Yurun’s 400- Don’t just pay someone to parrot you. Challenge yourself to come uphighlighted this with an aggressive page manual, covering every check with a genuine benefit that will walk on its own.advertising campaign in early 2009, built into the production process. Yurun Monitor what people are saying about you but learn from and engagerunning on Chinese Central Television officials taught the visitors about pig with it, don’t censor it.(CCTV) channels 1, 2, 3 and 6, and on certification, slaughtering hygiene, liquid Be brave – host people’s opinions about you.six provincial channels across China.12 chromatography, microbial sampling and hand disinfection.13 The forensic attention to detail demonstrated by Yurun received positive coverage in the Trusted advice is the most valuable resource available press and online, and reinforced the to them in everyday life, more than Of course, a large consequence of all of money (25%), energy (24%), time company’s reputation for quality. this for Chinese consumers is that it is (19%) and space (2%). The same is China’s safety problems are not impossible to know where to get reliable not true for the more affluent markets unique. They mark a particular stage of advice. When we conduct qualitative which we track. The problem is finding economic growth. What’s different for research for product launches in China, information they can trust; as we have China is the scale and complexity there’s a consistent theme – confusion. already seen, Chinese consumers have of its supply chain; keeping track of Inundated by information about brands more reason for scepticism than most. every component or ingredient is nigh and products that burst onto the scene on impossible. then disappear, Chinese people don’t This explains the importance of word- know where to turn for advice about of-mouth in the Chinese market. In order to build confidence in its Distrustful of claims made by brands, which products are best, or even safe. produce, however, we expect that people are increasingly relying upon domestic brands will have to invest Reinforcing confidence over the next a messy network of trusted or semi- heavily in independent certification, ten years, particularly in domestic trusted advisors to inform their buying scientific analysis, quality control brands, will require brands to provide choices.14 There are three main avenues and public relations. Foreign brands, better access to trusted, impartial and for this: friends and family, internet meanwhile, will sustain an advantage filtered information about products and forums, and point-of-sale. over local rivals by emphasising quality, services. resisting price pressure, and – who A 2010 survey conducted by McKinsey The Futures Company’s Global found that 66% of Chinese consumers knows – perhaps even working together MONITOR 2011 survey reveals that 29% on quality standards. say that they would consider friend of Chinese people say that information10 Procuratorates are public bodies responsible for legal supervision and enforcement of state laws. 1311 ‘Amway’s China Redux’, Forbes Asia, 7 September 2009. 54% of Chinese people, for example, agree strongly or slightly with the statement: “Most companies 1412 Seeking Alpha, ‘American Dairy: Finally Something Positive about Chinese Baby Milk’ 22 January 2009. , only make claims about their socially responsible efforts to try to sell me more of their products”. © The Futures Company 2011. 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
  6. 6. Issue 5 | September 2011 Page 6and family recommendations when guarantees the importance of trusted for advice from friends and family. Achoosing a moisturiser compared with advisors. recent McKinsey survey found thatjust 38% of respondents in the US and 56 percent of Chinese consumers Internet forums and social networks,UK.15 Indeed, The Futures Company’s say that the information they get at though less reliable, are still seen asqualitative research shows that younger retail outlets is essential to make up valuable sources of advice.Chinese consumers are leading their their minds.18 The opportunity to have The explosive growth of Sina’s Weiboelder family members by the hand a salesperson rub cream into your service heralds a new era for digitalwhen it comes to product attributes. hand, or demonstrate the benefits of word-of-mouth, because it is set up a stain remover, presents as trustedThe search for trusted advice from as a vehicle for opinion. Threaded advice, even if the salesperson worksfriends and family seems to be partly comments and one-click micro-polls for a particular brand. It is reassuringa function of aspiration. With rising encourage debate, while content filters to be able to talk about a product with someone. Consumer goods companies“Inundated by information about brands are particularly well-known for using thousands of in-store salespeople toand products that burst onto the scene recommend their products.then disappear, Chinese people don’t Becoming a conduit for trusted advice is one of the great opportunitiesknow where to turn for advice about available to brands looking to grow inwhich products are best, or even safe.” China during the next decade. Brands that get it right will float to the top, while those who control their message toodisposable incomes, many people are and categorised trends cut through it. remotely will sink. In some categories,willing to spend a high proportion of The ability to follow trusted advisers, engendering confidence will be a criticaltheir salary on key items, but do so such as celebrities, friends and brand attribute. Growth in China mayjudiciously. A 2009-10 study by Pao reviewers, allows for greater intimacy. depend on it.Principle, cited in Forbes Magazine, According to The Futures Company This is an extract from a Future Perspectivesfound that the average female Chinese data, 65% of Chinese internet users thought piece on China to be published atluxury consumer will spend roughly (versus a 21-market average of 48%) the end of September in the New Thinking section of our website11% of her income on handbags alone.16 agree with the statement: “The internet www.thefuturescompany.comTaking advice from friends is seen as a helps me to connect with other like-way of improving the chance of success minded individuals” 17 We expect this .when making such a large purchase. figure to grow.Even for the purchase of smaller items, Finally, point-of-sale marketing isthe dizzying pace of product launches successful because it acts as a proxy15 Max Magni and Yuval Atsmon, ‘The Power of Word of Mouth in China’ Harvard Bus. Review, 30 April 2010. , McKinsey & Co., ‘China’s In-store Wars’ August 2010. 18 ,16 Forbes, ‘What Chinese Shoppers Want’, 8 March 2010.17 Data from The Futures Company’s Global MONITOR 2011 survey © The Futures Company 2011. 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
  7. 7. Issue 5 | September 2011 Page 7 The events of September 11 have had very 2002 2011 little effect on my day-to-day life Total Disagree 65% 47% Strongly Disagree 23% 14% Disagree 42% 33% Total Agree 35% 53% 9/11 ten years on Strongly Agree 5% 10% By J Walker Smith Agree 30% 43% Futurists and trends In our initial assessment in September the ideological spectrum foresaw a see it in the echo chambers of politics, analysts rarely get the 2001 assessment, we argued that 9/11 withering of cynicism, incivility and media and information that people now opportunity to go back and would have only a limited impact on lack of respect for authorities. This inhabit. We see it in the intensifyinglook at how they called the future. the American consumer marketplace. was perhaps post-9/11 punditry’s interest in localism from local foods toUsually, there’s too much else going Pundits were almost unanimous in biggest mistake. walk-able neighborhoods to craft beers declaring otherwise, yet our view is how to community banks to regional tourism.on which obscures the picture. things have turned out. It was apparent We see it in people coming together withBut the tenth anniversary of 9/11 even then. communities and families for support inprovides such an opportunity to “What has weakened their financial struggles. Intimacy is the In early 2001, well before 9/11, thelook at how we did and how the since 9/11, is the belief elemental character of life as peopledecade evolved. overwhelming majority of American consumers were more interested that “all human beings look ahead.Shortly after 9/11, Yankelovich, now part in balance and time with family and are Americans under Our bottom line in September 2001of The Futures Company, conducted community along with integrity was that 9/11 would contribute to thea teleconference open to all in which and authenticity. the skin.” direction of the future but would notwe took stock and offered guidance The mainstreaming of affluence, wholly, or even mostly, set that direction.about the future. (That September 26 or trading up, was gathering This was because, as we said, in almostteleconference was later released as a momentum. We felt that nothing no time, 9/11 would lose its grip onwhite paper entitled, “Trying to Get Back about 9/11 would daunt it. In fact, Our forecast was an American people. This is also how things haveto Business as Usual in Trying Times.”) it burst into the ensuing housing marketplace in which people would turned out.Of special interest are the half-dozen boom and accumulation frenzy of live in ever-tightening circles of close, As can be seen in the above table, inquestions specially included in the the mid-2000s. intimate connections. This future is 2002, nearly two-thirds disagreed withfirst-quarter wave of the 2002 U.S. upon us. We see it in social networks, We said that paradox and irony the idea that 9/11 had “had very littleYankelovich MONITOR and asked again first to aggregate friends then to winnow were too deeply rooted to give way, effect” on their day-to-day lives. Toin the 2011 third-quarter wave. them down into clutches of closeness. even to something as sobering as restate it in a more straightforward way, We see it in the booming happiness fad 9/11. By contrast, pundits across two in three felt that 9/11 had, indeed, for which relationships figure first. We © The Futures Company 2011. 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
  8. 8. Issue 5 | September 2011 Page 8 NEWS affected their ordinary lives. But by 2011, 9/11 was losing its grip, with the majority now agreeing not disagreeing that 9/11 has “had very little effect” on their daily lives. Additionally, looking closely Our latest research on the future of at the distribution of agreement and health and wellness was recently featured in Marketing Week in the UK. [http://www. disagreement, a notable lessening of the intensity of feeling is apparent. brands-serve-up-a-personal-lifestyle- The real terror of the post-9/11world plan/3029178.article] was not apparent at the time. 9/11 Our Executive Chairman, J. Walker was simply the first thing out of Smith presented a paper on The Culture Pandora’s 21st century box. What has of Contentment: The New Context of Consumption at the CDC (Centers for DiseaseJ Walker Smith is the Executive Chairman weakened since 9/11, to quote politicalof The Futures Company. Control and Prevention) National Conference philosopher John Gray, is the belief that on Health Communication, Marketing, and“Ten years ago, I stayed up all night with “all human beings are Americans under Media in Atlanta, GA.the newscaster Peter Jennings. The entire the skin.” 9/11 was the strike against The IIPS, The Futures Company’s publicnight after 9/11 the ABC cameras were that presumption that legitimized a services insight thinktank presents itspointed straight down at the wreckage of new context for debate. Everything fifth annual review of values, attitudes andthe World Trade Center towers. Floodlights that followed, much of which was aspirations of the British public. What thelit the devastation in an unearthly glare immediately recognizable as utterly Citizen Wants: Beyond the Big Society takesas smoke seeped up through the tangled venal, was seen in a different light, one place in London on 27 September and willgirders and emergency responders that brought out the shortcomings unveil new research on attitudes to community engagement. For info and invites, pleasesearched furiously for survivors. Only of the established order as much contact karen.kidson@thefuturescompany.comdays later did I begin to emerge from the as the malevolence of the events or Futures Company Director Andrew Curry Source: Kineticshock to see that the pall over me was perpetrators themselves. spoke at the launch of Kinetic’s reportcasting a dark shadow over everyone In the decade since 9/11, the post-WW2 on the future of out-of-home advertising,else, too, especially the clients of our firm, world order has lost its moral authority. “On The Threshold of Change” [http:// .many of whom had been immobilized That world of assurance has collapsedby the events of 9/11. So, partly for our what-are-we-thinking/moving-minds/ into a world of volatility.benefit and partly for the benefit of others, environmenstinsight/11-07-06/The_future_ The world order which is now emergingwe conducted a teleconference later in of_Out_of_Home_media_in_the_UK_to_2020. is still coalescing. But already we know aspx]. Andrew’s presentation looked at theSeptember to offer thoughts about a way enough about it to know that it requires technology context of 2020. He described follow us onforward through the trauma of that day.With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 at hand, new rules and new assumptions. a world in which consumers’ portable and locatable devices communicated with a smart twitterit is useful to revisit our perspective of the This article is based on our Future city which was both a platform for competing @futurescomoment and assess whether our counsel Perspectives thought piece Looking Back to technologies and in which data was open Look Ahead: A Ten-Year Update on 9/11 recentlylooks wise in retrospect. We can do a and hackable. published in the New Thinking section of ourbetter job of looking ahead by learning website.from looking back.” © The Futures Company 2011. 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
  9. 9. Issue 5 | September 2011 Page 9Reimagining social networks By Alex SteerThere’s a moment in the ‘People want to go on the internet and were systems like Usenet for online would transform social networking. Tofilm The Social Network check out their friends. Why not build discussion with strangers, and instant some extent they have: many of thewhen the Mark Zuckerberg a website that offers that? Friends, messaging for online discussion with changes over the last decade havecharacter realizes what pictures, profiles, whatever. You can friends. But there was nothing quite been technology-driven. But what’shis new website, ‘The visit, browse around, maybe it’s like the ‘find-and-friend’ model that often missing is the simple, human somebody you just met at a party. Facebook made famous. The scene in question: how do we want to interactFacebook’, is really I’m not talking about a dating site. the film transports us back to social online, and how is this changing?all about I’m talking about taking the entire networking’s Big Bang – the revelation Our work on the future of social social experience of college and that what people want to do online is networking starts with the conviction putting it online.’ to interact in a certain way. that the future of social networking will In Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay, that Fast forward to the present, and be shaped less by technology change, moment is so powerful because it it’s a shame that so much of the and more by understanding how takes us back to a time, less than conversation around the future people’s online interaction choices ten years ago, when social networks of social networking focuses on are changing, and reimagining social barely existed. There was MySpace, technology. In the last few years networks and social media content to of course, which at its height counted we’ve heard that real-time access, meet those changing needs. one in four people in the US in its mobile apps, geolocation, near-field active membership; and there communication and other innovations © The Futures Company 2011. 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
  10. 10. Issue 5 | September 2011 Page 10 Global Streetscapes are our eyes and ears on the streets of cities around the world: a networkWe have identified six critical Each of these choices involves a of culturally connected individuals in over 40 countries and 60 cities capture new examples of emerging and evolving trends and innovations. This source of continually updated observationaldecisions – known as Pivot Points trade-off. For example, the issue of insight and local intelligence provides a straightforward way of connecting to product and service– that consumers are making now, online privacy is clearly a rising point innovation and examples of consumer and brand behaviour.that will shape the social networks of consumer concern right now. Taken Cycle-in-Cinema Screenings, UKof the future, and the media to its extreme, a concern for online A new form of pedal powered cinema screenings have been poppinglandscape for businesses, brands privacy would mean abandoning up around London in 2011, where consumers take in their bicycles,and marketers. In brief, these are: networks entirely – but there is no sign hook them up to a dynamo which acts as the energy source for that most consumers are interested 1 Scale. Will we want the scale the movie screening. Promoted and organised by a not-for-profit in this nuclear option. We use a simple education project called Magnificent Revolution, the screenings are benefits of large networks “Four Cs” model to explain why people held in public places and arranged through social media callouts. The screenings are getting popular (a so-called Big Net future), or the find value in online interaction – it not only with bicycle and green enthusiasts, but also with those who are looking for a fun way to spend intimacy benefits of small ones lets them communicate, collaborate, their evenings in a exciting social environment. The idea has gained positive coverage in the press, (a Tight Knit future)? as the Evening Standard noted in August that ‘With their relaxed bring-your-own booze, picnic-style 2 Privacy. Will we value atmosphere, pop-up cycle cinemas have been a hit all over the capital this summer’ . convenience of use and access (Open Hand), or safeguards on “Much of the Using social media to track illness, Brazil As the number of social media users grows across the world our private data (Closed Fist)? conversation around the data generated is increasingly being used to track infectious 3 Specificity. Will we want to the future of social diseases in the population. According to an article in the New spend time on a few networks Scientist in July 2011, Twitter status updates are being used to track (One for All), or divide time networking focuses on the growth of dengue fever in Brazil enabling better deployment between many (One for Each)? technology.” of medical services to control the outbreak. The article also notes that while social media and web behaviour has been used previously for generic surveillance of global pandemics, the research in4 Pervasiveness. Will we want to Brazil has been the first to collect data at a local city level. Similar to this are more consumer centric be ‘always on’ (Turn On), or to mobile apps like the Swedish Myggrapporten, which highlights mosquito activity by tapping into access our networks only when the geo-tagged status updates of consumers around world and the website Sickweather, which we need to (Tune Out)? create/curate and consult together, aggregates sickness mentions from across social media networks and overlays this information on and as long as these needs exist, and real time maps to better inform consumers 5 Utility. Will we see our networks are met, online social networks have more as entertainment (Play), or Recycling used cooking oil, Spain a future. But will privacy concern pull The Barcelona City Council has started distributing containers to households to as utilities (Plug)? us towards a Closed Fist future, or will make the recycling of used cooking oil more convenient. The Olipot campaign was6 Worldview. Will we want our desire for ease of access (and our launched in February 2011. The free Olipot can be obtained at the local Punto networks to reinforce our habits dislike of remembering passwords) Verde, a network of public recycle points around town, that are called ‘Green (Confirm), or to challenge our bring us back towards an Open Hand Points’ Consumers are encouraged to collect used cooking oil in the handy . preconceptions (Challenge)? future in the end? containers instead of dumping them into the drain which can pollute the water system. The Olipots can then be taken to the local recycling center that recycles There will be no single answer to these the cooking oil in a eco friendly way. questions. Social networks will evolve in different ways in response to the This is aimed at getting consumers do their little bit for the environment in their everyday activities. particular needs of particular groups of The Olipot initiative has received positive mentions and consumer interest is growing with reports consumers. Using our Pivot Points indicating that the recycling centres ran out of the stocks for the Olipot as early as March 2011. © The Futures Company 2011. 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
  11. 11. Issue 5 | September 2011 Page 11 framework helps businesses, brands From the Blog Alex Steer “What does and marketers imagine different Facebook have to possible futures, understand the do with medieval decisions their consumers are making, My Millennial generation: monks? Well, and decide how to act. Lawrence Wykes writes Facebook originated “The question of whether the Millennials are a coherent cohort Looking back at Facebook, we can see as a way of enabling is still open – the data has never quite added up. And our recent that from the beginning it’s relied ongossip and interaction between US Ivy analysis, based on our Global Monitor data, suggests that as people making certain choices about a group the Millennials are a fragmented cohort, refracted byLeague college students, starting at Harvard. how they want to interact. It depends technology. ... Millennials look like a generation to researchersHarvard, of course, was founded in 1636 and on scale, openness, ubiquity (we’d say because there is a social-technology breakpoint between theirmodelled after the Universities of Cambridge it’s Big Net, Open Hand, One for All), cohort and all previous generations. But, in terms of social analysis, defining a group by technologyand Oxford; and these, with their thirteenth- and on people’s desire to spend more – rather than their underlying attitudes and values – has problems.century origins, were based on an ideal of their online time socializing and Read more: by England’s great religioushouses, the monasteries. The scholars of getting content and recommendationsOxford and Cambridge (and by extension filtered by their social graphs (Turn Piercing the Shard:the Ivy League universities where Facebook On, Play, Confirm). Mark Zuckerberg’s Andrew Curry writeswas incubated) took as their inspiration vision of a network for people who “The Shard is inescapable from our London office. The city’sthe monastic ideal: a group of people living want to ‘go on the internet and check soon-to-be tallest building, a piece of concept architecturetogether, in close quarters, sharing out their friends’ has gone global. by Renzo Piano, can be seen from our office windows and most of the approaches to the office. Size matters. As theeverything, trading knowledge, having But just like MySpace’s idea of a economist Andrew Lawrence has demonstrated with hisfew secrets from each other. completely open, highly customizable Skyscraper Index, announcements of buildings billed as“Ring any bells? Underpinning Facebook, network, today’s leading networks will the tallest are an unerring leading indicator of the top of thestill, is an undergraduate culture - and find themselves at risk if they don’t market, that boom is about to go bust.”underpinning that is a monastic culture. Little anticipate – and adapt to – people’s Read more: http://blog.thefuturescompany. com/2011/07/19/piercing-the-shard/wonder the network still struggles with the changing interaction choices. In theidea of privacy. I’m a medievalist by training, end, technologies create possibilities,and in Facebook’s wrangles and mis-steps but our decisions shape the future. From Cash to Commitment:over privacy I pick up echoes of the intimate, Amy Tomkins writesgossipy world of the monasteries. We still A longer version of this work can be found “Hermione Taylor’s new sponsorship site The DoNation seekstend to treat Facebook as a guide to the on our blog, in the week starting 1 August to replace cash with action and help people inspire theirfuture of social networking - but the social 2011. It has also been published as a booklet friends to live more sustainably. By harnessing the social in the New Thinking section of our website. and viral nature of sponsorship, The DoNation encouragesmodel that underpins it is centuries old. As wedeveloped the Pivot Points framework, I had people to engage with environmental issues and take action to change their behaviour. This changes the traditionalto shake myself and realize I’d grown up with sponsorship model and makes the whole transaction morea model of social networking that’s essentially direct and efficient.medieval. Is it really that surprising that as it Read more:, the idea of the network might changequite radically?” © The Futures Company 2011. 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
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