Looking back 12 years, what were you doing in 2006? Facebook had just opened up its social network to the world, the first iPhone had yet to be released and apps like LINE and WhatsApp hadn’t even been created. It’s always interesting to think of what the future will look like, particularly in today’s fast-moving world, but could you have foreseen these technologies becoming the norm in the world of 2018?

Clinical trials: how technology is driving digitisation.

As my colleague AJ van Bochoven mentioned in his recent blog, we have applied our visioning approach to combine our deep knowledge of technologies, and our understanding of megatrends affecting businesses and consumers, to bring our “what-if” creativity to the world of 2030. Visioning is a tool that we use to help our clients foresee change and position them as leaders in creating world-changing products and services. We have created two distinct visions of what society in 2030 could look like and brought them to life as scenarios for future innovation…

Visions of 2030

We grounded both visions in real insight. In the ‘Discover’ phase we uncovered the drivers for change, built on trends research and ethnographic insight and combined these with our view of the next disruptive technologies, drawing on the experience of our 800+ engineers, scientists and designers, all of whom have opinions on the ‘next big thing’ – it’s a great resource for those of us in the technology strategy and innovation team! But we didn’t just take their word for it… we gained real insight from those who will be the major consumers of the future by discussing the themes with a Generation Z focus group. Our insight specialist Johanna Martin will talk more about this process and findings in her next blog.

Vision 1: Greater awareness of mental wellbeing

We imagined that across the next 12 years mental health would come to be recognised more on a par with physical health. We recognised the potential for more digital lifestyles leading to increased isolation and presenting a barrier to ‘real’ social interactions, resulting in reduced mental wellbeing. However, by 2030 we believe new technologies will be used to help maintain mental wellbeing. These products and services will promote good mental health and maximise support by helping consumers find time to ‘connect’, ‘learn’, ‘be active’, ‘be mindful’, ‘eat well’ and ‘give’.

There will be a sophisticated understanding of the link between digital behaviour and mental wellbeing, with consumers seeking ‘real’ connections. In 2030 employers will recognise the impact of mental issues on productivity and introduce measures to reduce ‘digital noise’ and better support employee stress management. Technology can clearly be an agent for good in Society 5.0.

Vision 2: Adapting behaviours in the face of climate change

Water scarcity and food insecurity are increasingly pressing issues as a result of climate change. It became apparent that preventing temperature increases should no longer be our only concern and that we will have to use innovation to adapt to the new climate while continuing our efforts to minimise temperature increase. In 2030 people will want to make a positive environmental impact and we predict they will exercise their collective power through micro-changes in behaviour. In the commercial sphere, businesses will thrive where they’re able to decouple growth and profit from ever increasing consumption. This is not a choice; the consumers of 2030 will demand it.

A little on our approach

The findings from our primary and secondary research were used to flesh out our visions through creative workshops with a variety of people from our organisation: business developers, innovation and insight consultants, technologists and designers. Those with the latest knowledge about markets and technologies played a key role in making our visions more credible, whilst the designers provided inspiration and brought them to life.

Having a variety of contributors enables us to generate diverse scenarios and we actively encourage our clients to co-create with us on these type of projects – it needs to be real and inspire their organisations. However, although we try to predict and picture future society, it’s almost impossible to get it right. Therefore, it’s an important part of our approach to come up with distinctively different visions which then allows us to think of wider issues and unmet needs. By allowing us to envisage and be stimulated by future scenarios we inspire future success.

Our two distinctively different visions around mental wellbeing and climate change led to six very different technology concepts for 2030, which we’ll be presenting at CEATEC in Tokyo next week. The details of these concepts will be described by AJ van Bochoven in his next blog.

Yasuko Abe
Senior Analyst

Yasuko is a senior analyst in our Strategy, Innovation and Process group. She has more than five years’ experience in technology research and consulting, providing creative product development, trend landscaping and new market insights for many of our large multinational clients.