Category Archives: Team

SXSW Interactive : The best bits

27 : 04 : 2013

Researchers from our consultancy division Joanna and Bella went to SXSW earlier this month to sample delights and bring back the insights, here’s what they discovered:

After returning from Austin, Texas and sifting through our collection of promotional goodies, technological t-shirts and stickers, we have rounded up our best bits from SXSW Interactive. The four days were inspiring, engaging and exciting, full of inspirational talks and discussions, and a great place to talk to some fascinating people.

Ideas that came out of the talks reflected some of the trends we have reported here at The Future Laboratory, and it was great to hear other opinions and analysis too.

Here are some of the best things we saw :

: A full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope was on display, which is due to be launched in 2018 as the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, 100 times more powerful and able to scan planet atmospheres for signs of life. Demonstrations of Microsoft’s interactive World Wide Telescope also showed how Webb will inspire to push the boundaries of science and technology.

For more information on how science is inspiring consumers, see our Re-Enlightenment Rising trend, explored at this month’s Trend Briefing event

Ed Hunsinger presented report-creating software Splunkstorm and showed its ability to create reports of all the data you collect on mobile health-tracking apps including RunKeeper, Zeo, LastFM and Fitbit all in one place.

To read more about Self-Quantifiers see our Personal Information Economy trend

Toby Shapshak and Gareth Knight discussed how innovation is born out of necessity in Africa, and the strength of its mobile payment industry. A Focus on East Africa showed that the region accounts for about 80% of the world’s mobile money transactions, and these are projected to grow to $617bn by 2016. First used in Kenya, text messaging is used to send digital money through the M-Pesa payment system, which has led to half of Kenya’s GDP now moving through mobile money.

Read more about Africa’s mobile banking revolution here .

: Founder of MakerBot Bre Pettis launched the Digitizer, a 3D scanner that turns objects into a digital CAD file that can then be modified and replicated on a 3D printer – bringing product design to the general public.

For more on domestic 3D printing see our Home Factory trend

Douglas Rushkoff discussed Present Shock, the idea that we no longer have a sense of a future, goals or direction as we live in an always-on culture ‘where the priorities of this moment seem to be everything’. This is the concept covered in his latest book, alongside the idea that information overload is not too much information or too much stuff, it is having multiple instances of ourselves across social platforms.

To read more about information overload, read our New Sublimity trend

Eat Together: Street Food Fiesta

26 : 04 : 2013

Every few months we clear the company’s afternoon diary and sit down to eat together – hence the name for the occasion.

For last week’s Eat Together the Consultancy team were the hosts. The menu and theme were kept a surprise until lunchtime, but once the Afro-Caribbean beats started pumping out of the workshop it was clear a street party had come to The Future Laboratory complete with chicken wings, mac and cheese and a tasty homage to the Gourmet Junk food movement. There were no complaints.

A lively lunch was followed by an appropriate round of party games that involved a competitive session of musical chairs in which our finance controller ousted our managing director for the final chair. To leave the lunch, staff had to limbo their way out. We’re not sure whether it was the music, the party poppers or all the sugar, but it was certainly our most inventive, animated Eat Together to date.

Who will be next in line to host and how will they follow up the Gourmet Junk-a-thon?

Click here and here to check out some hilarious Vine videos from the festivities and check out our Instagram:@TheFutureLaboratory.

Introducing James Maiki, LS:N Global Video Journalist

19 : 04 : 2013




Did you always want to get into film production?
I have always been interested in film production. I thought acting was my calling until I tried it and realised how awful I was in front of the camera. I decided I should stay behind the camera and focus on making other people look good instead.

Tell us about your role at LS:N Global
It involves researching what is new and next across the lifestyle industries and translating this into film. I will also be interviewing inspirational thought-leaders, compiling in-house films and visiting innovative design studios, brands and events.

Where have you worked previously and in what roles?
I worked for more than four years at the Apple store in Regent Street as a Mac specialist, lead Mac specialist and Mac genius. Before joining LS:N Global I was shooting and editing short documentaries for Monocle.

Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Venezuela to Lebanese parents in a very tropical environment, so we spent a lot of time outdoors, especially in places with swimming pools and little islands in the Caribbean. My family then relocated to Lebanon during my teenage years and I attended high school in Beirut. This was a big change, as you can imagine, but looking back now, I see how lucky I was to have had that opportunity.

Who is your favourite film director?
I would never pick just one, it depends which genre. I love Pedro Almodóvar and what he did for Spanish cinema. And, of course, Steven Spielberg for creating such iconic, unforgettable childhood characters. There are far too many people in the industry that I truly admire.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
All I need is sun, beautiful people and a cold drink to have a good time. Mykonos, Beirut and Barcelona are top of my list.

Here are James’s tips for his favourite cities:

For drinks: Cavo Paradiso – watch 180-degree views of the sunrise on the Aegean while listening to house beats.
For dining: Interni restaurant in a courtyard painted Cycladic white.

Beirut’s nightlife is second to none.
For drinks: Skybar offers amazing views of the city and the Mediterranean.
For dining: Trendy Lebanese cuisine at Leila restaurant.
Great home-made Lebanese dishes at Tawlet.

For drinks: Cool outdoors club near Sitges, Atlàntida, by the sea of course.
For dining: La Santa Maria in Sitges makes a killer paella.

Where would we find you on a sunny day in London?
Having fun with mates in a park somewhere – at outdoor music events or concerts or simply stuffing myself at a BBQ in someone’s garden.

Do you cook? If so, what is your signature dish?
I can cook but I don’t like to unless it’s for a group of people. I can make mean chicken fajitas though.

Introducing Helena Balls, LS:N Global Account Manager

11 : 04 : 2013



Q: Describe your role here at The Future Laboratory
I work as a sales and account manager for LS:N Global. My job is to spread the LS:N Global message to potential new clients and to work with our other account manager, Trish, to make sure existing members have everything they need and to support them throughout their membership.

Q: What’s the best part about being an account manager?
Getting to know the members, understanding how LS:N Global can help their businesses and making their day a little easier. It’s also really varied as you can get requests from clients to help with anything from recommending content for pitch preparation to training them on how to make the most of the network.

Q: Where have you worked and in what roles in the past?
I worked for WGSN in a similar role for a long time, so I’m no rookie in the trend forecasting business. But more recently I have also worked with Nielsen Online, heading their client service department, and just before joining LS:N Global I worked at Melcrum as a key account manager supporting companies’ internal communication functions.

Q: When you are not at work, where are you most likely to be?
I’ve rediscovered the gym, so I spend a lot of time there at the moment. But I like the pub as well, so I’m hoping they even each other out. I also have a really annoying shopping habit and I probably spend way too much time browsing stores and buying stuff.

Q: What is your favourite part of London?
I’ve lived almost everywhere, but mostly in Southwest London. I love a good stroll along the King’s Road, a pub lunch along the river in Putney or having a picnic in Battersea Park. But apart from Southwest London, and as a true Swede, my favourite little gems in London are Scandinavian Kitchen on Great Titchfield Street or Nordic Bakery in Marylebone.

Q: What is your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere that is sunny, but I go to Portugal a lot. I was married in St Lucia so that will always be extra special.

Q: What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
I think it was The Hobbit or Life of Pi. I am childishly fond of watching movies in 3D at the moment so if it wasn’t one of the above it was something else in 3D.

Introducing Laura Fry, The Future Laboratory’s Consumer Insight Consultant

25 : 03 : 2013

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Q: Describe your role at The Future Laboratory

I lead global insight projects, most of which are large-scale qualitative pieces. Basically, I get to do one of my favourite things in the world, to find out why. It involves designing tailored research solutions for brands that want to make the future happen. I then implement them with our team of talented researchers in a way that engages consumers in creative, meaningful ways. Every project is different and requires getting under the skin of businesses and brands, and the lifestyle and needs of consumers and cultures around the world. What I love about my work is that every day I leave the office having learned another incredible thing about the world in which we live.

Q: What road led you into the strategy and consumer line of work?

I have always been a geography geek, from a very young age. I used to love maps and, thanks to a wonderful geography teacher, I quickly learned there is a lot more to the subject than glaciers and rivers. At university I thrived when given the opportunity to research a topic of my choice. I chose something close to my heart: the emotional and psychological impact of rural to urban migration among students, mainly because I wanted to explore some of my own experiences and make sense of them. That was my first real experience of social and cultural research and I was hooked. I continued researching in the academic world until I felt it was time to apply what I had learned about people, places and cultures to businesses and brands.

Q: Where did you work before The Future Laboratory?

I spent three years at GfK, working as a qualitative specialist in its Technology division. I previously cut my teeth as a commercial researcher in a small PR research and communications agency, Loudhouse. At GfK I ran international research projects and programmes for global technology brands in areas of innovation and NPD, brand and customer experience, loyalty and brand strategy.

Q: What was your first job?

I worked during the summers at high school with my dad. He is a dry stone waller, a skilled craftsman who spends his days on mountain tops building walls and land boundaries using very traditional, labour-intensive methods. My dad never paid well, but at least we had long lunch breaks together.

Q: When you are not at work, where are you most likely to be?

Doing something triathlon-related: swimming, cycling, running or in the gym.

Q: What is your favourite part of London?

The South Bank. I love the 60s architecture, the opportunity to see some incredible, free performances at the National Film Theatre and Festival Hall, people-watching, wandering around and reminding myself of that incredible skyline.

Q: What are you reading at the moment?

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

Q: Given that we are talking about Re-enlightenment at the moment, do you think it is possible that you will visit space in your lifetime? And would you want to?

Yes, I think it will be possible in my lifetime. I think we will see some interesting challenges and debates emerge around this area: the ethics of exploration and inhabitation of space, the need for alternative spaces and places for our growing population, and the geopolitical implications of spreading our societies and cultures into space. I would love to see space and to be able to see some of the things that have fascinated me when watching Sir Patrick Moore as a child and now, Brian Cox.

Life inside the lab: Thoughts from a graduate trainee

12 : 03 : 2013

Hello, I’m Victoria, the second graduate trainee at The Future Laboratory.

I have been at the Elder Street offices in Spitalfields since October 2012, after graduating in Fashion Marketing from The University of Northumbria.

As part of the year-long trainee scheme I will be working my way round the company, experiencing each department (reception, LS:N Global, The Future Laboratory consultancy team and sales & marketing) in bite-sized, three-month chunks. I’m learning each department’s ways and processes – and loving every minute.

My first three months saw me working along side James Witt, where I experienced setting up for events, lunches and meetings, helping to run reception and coordinate the logistics of our events. One of the highlights was working on the Consumer Futures Forum where LS:N Global’s own consumer insight experts joined industry leaders in marketing, advertising and retail design for an intensive look at what’s new and next in consumer thinking. Working with Joanna Tulej LSN’s visual editor I helped to source vintage cake stands and exciting new flavors of macaroons and chocolates to curate a fantastical display for our guests. It’s safe to say that our guests left full of knowledge and cake.

I’m currently residing in LS:N Global the online news and consumer insight network. Day to day I research and pitch ideas for LS:N Global’s Seed and Insight sections, learning from the rest of the team about how and where to find the best and most relevant ideas.

I am also working on some bigger features on the network, visualising in-depth and visually driven case studies in the Innovate section, discovering the most inventive projects, brands and talented studios in Australia for a country-specific market report, and researching the most exciting shops and experiences for a client who has commissioned a bespoke retail brief.

In three weeks I will move to The Future Laboratory to work with the consultancy team to create bespoke trends for a range of exciting clients. I’m excited to see how they help clients to develop, drive and manage strategies that embrace consumer change

I will continue to write about it here, so look out for updates.