Future Laboratory Trend Briefing 2017


7 April 2017

A few weeks ago we went down to The Future Laboratory Trend Briefing 2017. A stimulating afternoon allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the key trends that are set to transform the business landscape and provided us with an invaluable strategic toolkit. We left energised and inspired to further question and explore the discussed trends and insights, below are some of the highlights from the day.

Civic Brands

Businesses are increasingly stepping in where governments are failing. Trust in banks, government, and media is at an all time low. 

The Just Nots are an aspirational consumer group identified by LS:N Global who are struggling to make ends meet. These consumers feel forgotten and are fuelling the belief that the system is 'no longer working for me'.

Millennials and members of generation D are altruistic, eco-conscious and tuned in to peer-to-peer networks.

Consumer distrust is widespread. Brands need to re-establish themselves as trustworthy, for people to look up to for guidance and leadership.

We can see the breakdown of our nations but through this struggle there is a resurfacing of the city as a place that is almost self-governing.

Brands are beginning to create real social action. Private and public sectors are increasingly working together, harnessing the power of peer-to-peer platforms to create value for societies.

And moving to the future...

Post ownership products are being developed for the collaborative economy. Mini Vision Next 100 is a much more sustainable, shareable offering for communities.

The utilities market is being disrupted by new companies that want to make sharing energy peer-to-peer, easy, efficient and affordable. Nissan and Foster + Partners concept allows consumers to power their cars and homes through one system.

Businesses will need to become part of the peer-to-peer economy to remain relevant.

Focus Filter

We now live in an attention-based economy, the constant buzz of screens and technology are filling up all our time. A culture of distraction is severely affecting our ability to maintain focus, the human attention span has now diminished from 12 down to all but 8 seconds...that's less than a goldfish! 

With these never-ending distractions, companies are beginning to frame their products and services as tools to help consumers regain concentration. 

Reconsider minimalism as a pro-focus solution across audio, graphics, interiors and architecture. 

Communication strategies are being rethought, companies are looking for deeper engagement with consumers. Companies are giving over creative control to their collaborators to tell captivating stories, such as, Believe In More for Nike directed by FKA Twigs.

Skip culture is prevalent, but it can be countered with audacious and expressive advertising. 

Bold artist partnerships.

Dare to blur genre boundaries.

For all the fear surrounding artificial intelligence...

Automation is good for creativity. 

We will spend less time being distracted by keeping things running, opening up space for us to apply focus. 


Todays family is changing, technology is fostering and enhancing more fluid and complex forms of kinship. A screen-first lifestyle is reducing our ability to create meaningful connections, whilst today's work culture makes it difficult for us to spend time face to face with loved ones. It may seem terrifying but, according to Gartner, by 2020 the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouses. 

We are increasingly using tech to help manage relationships, embedding it within the family home. VoiceLabs predicts that there will be 24.5m voice-activated devices sold in 2017, up from 6.5m in 2016. 

Consumers are increasingly comfortable talking to artificial intelligent bots, opening up opportunities for brands to deliver personalised, one-to-one customer service to scale. 

Mayfield Robotics' recently released Kuri robot uses its 'emotive' eyes and glowing heart to create a reassuring presence.

Humanise to capitalise. Rather than focusing on basic utility, recent advances in the domestic robot market have been based around designing devices that can provide a convivial presence.

*Future Laboratory, 2017, 'The Age of Re-engagement'