Our methodology is inspired by something the futurist William Gibson once said, that “the future is already here, it is just not very evenly distributed”. It is informed by a way of reading cultural change that has been applied more than 5,000 times since it was first codified, by a sociologist called Everett Rogers, in 1962. Named the “Diffusion of Innovations”, this describes how new ideas – which could be new ways of dressing, banking, shopping, innovating or healing people – catch on and spread from the innovators to the early adopters and the mainstream.
Here are three examples of our forecasts…
In 2008, our founder James Wallman forecast driverless cars, and that they would be available to buy by 2020. Of course, no one is surprised by the idea of driverless cars now, but in 2008 the idea was still science fiction. Ford, Toyota, and Tesla have publicly stated they expect their driverless cars to be on the road between 2019 and 2021.
Also in 2008, in an interview with the UK's Sky News, Wallman said that autonomous cars will “look a little like a lounge on wheels”. In 2015, Mercedes Benz released a driverless prototype which looks like a “living room”.
In 2009, Wallman forecast that we would be able to 3D print shoes by 2020. Adidas, Nike, Under Armour now have trials to 3D print sports shoes. New Balance has been selling 3D printed shoes since spring 2016.
In 2013, Wallman forecast the cultural shift from materialism to “experientialism”: that people will shift their spending from things to experiences.
This prediction is now constantly being confirmed and corroborated by data and comment from, among others: the Guardian, the Washington Post, the US's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the UK's Office for National Statistics, the European Commission, and investment firm KKR — which made this statement to its clients in January 2016: 'we believe that a major decoupling within retail sales is now occurring, with consumers choosing to spend on “experiences” rather than “things.”'
To find out how The Future Is Here can help you understand what's next, and how to plot a path to a more successful future, get in touch.