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Insight + Innovation Exploring the influences and approaches to uncover, understand and anticipate what’s next.


Kelly O’Connor

Kelly Dawson



Trevor Brinkman

James Darios



FOREWoRD Welcome to our latest Innovation and Insight Focus, asking the ubiquitous question – what’s next? In a world where insurgent brands and new business models surround us, everything needs to be faster, cheaper, more convenient and compelling to the user – so where to start? We often find, regardless of sector, business challenges remain the same and key learnings and experiences can be applied to provide competitive edge. In working more creatively and flexibly with our client partners we can test and iterate ensuring a successful tangible outcome quicker, yet without compromising on important steps to guarantee success. We hope you find this content useful and thought provoking. As always, any comment or feedback would be welcome: merle.hall@kinneirdufort.com Merle Hall CEO


Lucy Baldwin


Craig Wightman CDO


Uncovering Insights

User Centered Design Thinking

Delivering Impact

Sharing the expertise that KD brings to Insight & Innovation challenges


Team Integration

Power of Collaboration Our KD team share how and why integrating Insight & Innovation create impactful outcomes



Beyond The Process

Exploring user centred design thinking: an approach, a mindset, an attitude


The Greynaissance Debunking Stereotypes

Busting myths & identifying opportunities surrounding Baby Boomers



Getting to Know People

Understanding Empathy

Global Insight

Insightful Conversations

Investigating methodologies to tackle cultural and language barriers

Five considerations for creating and building empathy

18 Pioneer or Prepare Megatrends

Understanding the influence of megatrends on innovation and business


focussed contextual research to understand opportunities and competition in growing categories USA



Why are we an integral part of KD? The insight and innovation team identify unmet needs and user pain points, to define and frame clear opportunities for design or innovation. We take a human-centred approach to all projects, ensuring that we enhance or improve lives and experiences. We gain a deep and immersive understanding of users’ lives through first-hand observation and discussion. We believe the person observing can be as important as the person being observed when looking for breakthrough insight. We deliberately balance mixed discipline teams during fieldwork, to bring different perspectives.

How do we frame and define what to do next?

Kelly Dawson

By looking at things from multiple perspectives, we see more, and we see differently. We use a broad range of approaches to projects that are appropriate for the scope and scale of the challenge. We uncover unmet needs by engaging with people on a global scale, to gain insight. We scan and synthesise trends that might impact relevant markets and categories. We frame and define new opportunities and ideas that deliver or address a user benefit or need. We also learn and understand what users think or feel about ideas to iterate and evolve. We collaborate closely with other disciplines within KD to envisage and bring to life new compelling ideas and concepts.

What value does that bring? This enables a seamless human-centred approach throughout a project journey to land compelling ideas, concepts and solutions that are grounded in evidence from user insight. Using design thinking we deliver value and impact for both people and business growth.


Researching new opportunities in the dairy category Shanghai

Premiumising the packaging experience study KD, Bristol

Understanding sleeping rituals and patterns to uncover innovation opportunities China & Poland

Ideation workshop for a packaging innovation pipeline Sweden Gaining insight into the growing food service sector South Korea & UK

User-led insight and innovation programme defining the future of safe and sustainable drinking water India, USA, Turkey, UK


Insight & Innovation

Team Integration We asked some of the team to share their thoughts on how our expertise areas integrate effectively with Insight & Innovation, in order to help us create more compelling and engaging products and experiences for our clients...

team and LL integration Vaida Vysniauskaite

prototypingConsultant The prototyping team are often involved directly during client ideation sessions here at KD. With our onsite prototyping capabilities members of the team are able to produce tangible versions of the ideas generated ‘live’, be it a quick handmade model or more detailed 3D print.

Russell Beard Head of Design

The design team are integral to any Insight & Innovation programmes as the more we as a team hear early observations, user comment and contextual insight, the better we can carry these creative continuities across the project as it moves from insight, through innovation and into creative design exploration and resolution. The fewer times information has to be relayed, the fewer opportunities there are for things to be missed and genuine opportunities exploited. Design ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ upfront are essential if we are to translate nuggets into gems.


Dave Twomey

Digital Consultant Whether we’re gathering requirements for a digital project or testing a prototype, insight is that essential thing that helps designers understand how and most importantly why consumers use a product in a certain way. Insight & Innovation can elevate a digital product away from the humdrum and into a class of its own.

team and LL integration

Chris Jones

Software engineer

In a recent project we worked closely with the Insight & Innovation team and rapidly prototyped a set of working software mock-ups, using technology like speech recognition. These technologies were demonstrated to people in a workshop scenario, letting them use and interact with the technologies naturally and without our help; this way of working quickly allowed them to come to a decision on the path our client should follow for developing the technology.

Ben Arlett

Head of engineering

Elena Massucco

Head of Consumer Our Insight & Innovation offer is about helping our clients to create big ideas for differentiation and growth, rooted in user needs. From strategy to idea generation and getting products to market we have access to a great array of tools and methodologies that deliver value to our clients, across market categories and geographical locations.

Challenging engineering issues can often be solved with the creativity and focus that a thorough innovation process brings to the table. This is why the Insight & Innovation team are so important in any product development, and critical to the kind of technical problems that the KD engineering team has to solve on a regular basis.


James Darios

getting to

know people Methods & techniques to help gain insight


We develop methods and tools to help us better engage with people, often in their home environments. Considerations such as language barriers or a personal topic that requires sensitivity and empathy calls for a bespoke way to learn and investigate. Here are a few examples methods we have recently created and explored.

More silent barriers come in the form of religion, traditions and beliefs. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking off your shoes before you enter someone’s home, other times it’s about treading carefully when talking about sensitive subjects. We need to be conscious that what may be acceptable to discuss in one culture, may be taboo in another.

Language can be the obvious hurdle, but even talking about everyday routines can be tough, they’re so integral to life we can forget about the little things, and where do we even start when trying to articulate our emotions? How can we possibly put what we feel into spoken word?

Add the complexity of information getting lost in translation and before you know it our capacity to learn can become stifled. We’ve developed methodologies to allow us to cross the language barrier on multiple levels whilst creating an environment that encourages fresh thinking. In part this comes through immersing ourselves in a new world, whether it’s in the lives of new parents, a new culture like China or into the hands of surgeons saving lives.

Sliding Scale Digital Diary It’s nice to imagine that we can remember all the finer details and mental processes involved in our day to day routines, but the truth is we simply don’t. These thoughts are happening subconsciously at a system one level and sometimes need to be captured to be explained. When appropriate, diary studies give us access to peoples’ daily lives, in their own words and behaviours, without the presence of onlooking researchers. The depth of information to explore post study gives us the best chance of truly understanding the thoughts that drive these everyday decisions. As technology becomes synonymous with every aspect of living, our ways of working have mirrored this. We can drive engagement and immediately step into consumers’ worlds using video to capture lives through the eyes of those who live them, as they live them. This gives a true sense of honesty in the data we capture and let’s be frank, who doesn’t carry their phone around with them all the time? We recently ran a study looking at consumer behaviour and attitudes related to monitoring food product freshness. We asked people to document their interactions with a few specific products over the course of two weeks in a diary study before meeting them in small, like-minded groups. In this case, we asked them to download an app and simply snap, comment and film away. It seemed people had a lot to say about their daily routines when given the time, opportunity and a little guidance to uncover their everyday. This formed a solid foundation for conversation at the focus groups and led to rich new insights we could feed into design.

Let’s take the issue of language itself – how can we overcome a barrier so concrete? Learning a language for a project clearly isn’t a viable option but we can use local teams and simultaneous translators to lessen the effect of those barriers. It may seem obvious to say ‘keep things simple’ but in these cases it really is necessary. Just think about noughts and crosses and how simply it can be enjoyed without language or words. We try to take the user on a journey through the relevant task or experience using visuals that easily register and stimulus that hints at new discoveries. For example, a board game can act as the centre piece to our discussions, ensuring all parties are actively involved and engaged in conversations. The board game can also give people a sense of ownership over their role in a setting that can sometimes feel more like an interrogation.

Image sort Getting people to recount their emotions on the spot to a small team they met earlier can be tough. A projective image sort allows a feeling to speak for itself and reduces the difficulty often found in articulation. This technique involves assigning various feelings to a range of images. Respondents can then choose the image they feel most connected with which immediately gives us an understanding of their frame of mind, uncovering hidden dimensions regarding cultural emotions and feelings.

To Summarise So what does all this mean for the future? New methodologies allow us to engage in real-time conversations with respondents all over the globe, whenever and wherever they are. With more people documenting their lives on social media and constant technological developments, new types of global projects are opening their doors. With new tech like live translation on Googles’ Pixel Buds our approach to gathering insights could look completely different in the next 10 years. There’d be no need for translators, making it more accessible to get people on the ground, in the heart of the action. Methods and techniques enable us to engage in meaningful discovery with people worldwide. Creative consideration as to how we seek to learn and apply findings into design directions is what sets us apart at KD. Insight-led design and innovation ensures a continual thread will take you from an observation into an insight and evolve and manifest into new ideas and value propositions.


design thinking the importance of adopting a user-centered approach

Craig Wightman Design Thinking is often illustrated in diagrammatic form as a five-step process: Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. In reality, Design Thinking is both more complex, and simpler, than this. It’s more complex, in that the “process” of creative problem-solving, or innovating and developing successful new products and services, is rarely a straightline one, or even one with well-defined iterative loops, it’s often very messy and unpredictable, with influencing external factors as well as stakeholder and business needs to be balanced. It’s simple in that Design Thinking is not really a process, it’s an approach, a mindset, an attitude. It’s about having an unwavering commitment to submit to end users – those who we are designing for – in conceiving, developing and testing your ideas. But surely that’s obvious? Isn’t it just common sense to ask people what they want before designing for their needs? You’d think so, but in McKinsey’s report: “The Business Value of Design”, published in October 2018, over 40% of the 300 publicly-listed companies researched were still not talking to their end users during development of their products.

In-home research Mumbai, Coca-cola


In a recent project developing solutions for patients with a chronic medical condition, our team found a startling example of this. One patient said that in 20 years of having, and being treated for, his condition, no-one had ever talked to him about his needs or asked him what he wanted. Whilst it’s easy to understand why this might be the case – all his touchpoints over those 20 years have been with healthcare professionals, not the manufacturers of the products used – it illustrates the tremendous opportunity that exists in finding ways to unlock the value of the real-world end user experience in designing new and better solutions. But it’s not just a simple matter of asking end users, customers, what they want. Steve Jobs was very sceptical about the value of market research noting that: “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. This is certainly true, but having a user-centred, Design Thinking “attitude” is not a market research tool, it’s about building an innate understanding of your end customers’ needs and finding meaningful ways to engage with them throughout the innovation and product development process. How can this be achieved?

walk in your users’ shoes The first “stage” in the Design Thinking process is about empathising with who we are designing for. When we installed a research viewing facility at KD 15 years ago, it wasn’t just about providing a convenient space for user insight research and for testing new concepts, it was about providing a facility to allow our design team to relate more closely to the people we are designing for. In our view, if you are a fit and able 28-year-old professional designer, you can’t really start to design a product for a 72-year-old with rheumatoid arthritis without spending some time understanding what that means in your daily life. Conducting insight research in peoples’ homes, social situations or workplaces provides greater opportunity for empathetic insight. By getting alongside people in more naturalistic settings, insights are more likely to be revealed through demonstration or observation, as well as by questioning. Sometimes this can lead to powerful empathy, such as when one of our design team was visibly moved relating the story of a home visit to a research participant of his own age, whose life was contrastingly different to his own, due to the medical condition we were researching. In situations like these, it’s important to be professionally dispassionate, and to filter and evaluate insights objectively, and not be unduly influenced by a “sample of one”.

listen Graphic artist Anthony Birrill’s poster “Ask More Questions” adorns the wall of one of our rooms at KD for good reason, but in terms of user-centred Design Thinking, it’s about asking the right questions, and listening carefully to the responses that can be the most revealing. Returning to Steve Jobs, and the famous quote attributed to Henry Ford that he referenced: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. Had this been a summary of some research with horse users at the time, an insightful interpretation might have focused on the word faster, rather than the word horse, and a skilful researcher might have probed about other desirable attributes, such as comfort and safety. It’s easy to miss significant insights without careful listening to the user’s responses from different angles. Crafting a framework for how to ask the right questions is important too. Spending a longer time with someone in their home, or with healthcare professionals in a busy clinic environment might reveal more about contextual needs, in real-time, as well as providing valuable observational insight opportunities. When working on new technology products for Sony, we adopted a “speed-dating” method for testing concepts with early-adopters – this allowed us to maximise the number of concepts tested, as well as the end user contact time with the KD and Sony team. In this case, the energetic, fast-paced session suited the respondents and the subject matter perfectly.

Speed-dating concept testing with leading-edge consumers New York, Sony

meaningful prototyping & testing

GE Healthcare Drytec production line

The user-centred mindset can, and should, continue throughout the product development process. In the conceptual stage, a prototype may take the form of a clickable App mock-up, or a simplified handling model. As products are developed, testing increasing fidelities of prototype will confirm and verify decisions made on the basis of reactions to earlier stage mock-ups. As projects progress through the product development process, time becomes increasingly important. Sometimes, it’s necessary to parallel-track prototyping and testing, to gain user feedback whilst technical development effort is continuing. Working with the Mars Drinks team on a new Klix vending machine, the KD team produced a full-size functional mock-up of the machine fascia to test the user interface. Similarly, KD’s electronics engineering team replicated the necessary pressure sensing functionality to facilitate the testing of the user interface in the Vivatmo Pro asthma diagnostics device for Bosch Healthcare Solutions. The results helped us refine and improve the design as well as informing technical development teams, ultimately saving project time and money.

Vending machine interface, prototype testing Mars Klix

choose your users

UI prototype testing Bosch Vivatmo Pro

In certain product categories, such as industrial, professional and business-to-business products, the end user may not be the customer (i.e. the person, or group, making the buying decision). In these cases, working out who to engage with and listen to in a usercentred, Design Thinking mindset is more complex and challenging. The right approach is to consider all stakeholders, whether they are end users, managers, purchasers, influencers, installers or service engineers, and to carefully analyse and prioritise their needs and feedback. In approaching the design of GE Healthcare’s Drytec technetium generator (used to prepare radioisotope injectable samples for use in medical imaging), the needs of the production line operatives (who assemble, as well as disassemble the units when returned for safe recycling) were identified as being key to achieving a successful product. By understanding their needs, and incorporating ideas into the new design, KD and the GE Healthcare team were able to significantly reduce assembly time and double the capacity of the plant.


The Design Thinking Toolkit

The creative process by its very nature is flexible and dynamic. It is always valuable to search out new, better and disruptive approaches. Here are just a few of the techniques we may use during a design thinking approach, which give a flavour of how you can tackle the creative process. Each one can be used in isolation but often it can be of more value to use them together, in order to tackle a design challenge. These are just a glimpse of some of the multitude of techniques, tools and processes we use at KD. To find out more about these tools and many more, contact kelly.dawson@kinneirdufort.com

Choice Exercise What?

Giving people a specific scenario then asking them to make a product choice from a selection of options.


“Product choice exercises were used to understand the shopper appeal of an innovative iron concept relative to traditional alternatives.”


To identify how product concepts are likely to perform in a competitive, real life context.

Traffic Light What?

Gaining direct feedback in review meetings in three categories based on the traffic lights principle: Go, Stop, and inbetween.



“Feedback was gained from key client stakeholders to identify what early packaging innovation ideas to progress into concepts along with a brief for what to explore.”

Structuring direct feedback when new ideas are shared with stakeholders to help prioritisation and next steps.

Thematic Analysis What?

Condensing a large quantity of raw data into a framework of themes, insights or trends.


Highlights key opportunity areas for focus and exploration, supported by a clear structure and rationale.


“Extensive analysis of cross-market data and insight was used to identify key opportunity areas for packaging innovation for a manufacturer of premium cooking oil.”

© Linda McLean via Instagram @greynaissance


Greynaissance Debunking stereotypes around Baby Boomers Baby boomers are still very much in their prime. Aged 57-73, they are living longer, healthier and more active lives than previous generations; they are embracing all that life has to offer. So, what are baby boomers doing with their time? You might think they’re planning for retirement, or busy already enjoying it, perhaps practising a round of golf, or relaxing on a cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean. Wrong! Far from twiddling their thumbs, baby boomers in fact make up 64% of business owners in the US and are twice as likely to start a new business than millennials. In between driving their new businesses forwards boomers are likely to be found travelling the world on one of their 4-5 annual holidays! In the UK they account for 58% of total travel spend. They’re not the technophobes they’re often taken for either. Baby boomers spend more online than any other generation.

In spite of all of the opportunity that baby boomers provide, they are woefully neglected and misunderstood by the media and marketers. Only 1% of global innovation and 10% of advertising spend is targeted at the 50+ generation. And when they are targeted, 90% of boomer women feel misrepresented. It only takes a quick sweep of the news and media to understand why. You could be forgiven for thinking baby boomers spend all of their time funeral planning, looking at retirement homes and going for long walks in the countryside. Even the brands who try to challenge the ‘old wrinkly’ stereotype get it wrong. The dating app Lumen, which is dedicated to a more mature audience, recently got 12 boomers to bare all in a campaign intended to challenge ageism. Unfortunately the campaign massively backfired with consumers complaining it pigeon holes older women as grannies.

Lucy Baldwin


Living The Dream As today’s wealthiest generation, with longer life expectancies and better levels of health than any other generation before them, baby boomers can expect a high quality of life for years to come. Far from relying on others to look after them, baby boomers lead active, independent and sociable lives.

© Allure

These high flyers are responsible for 80% of luxury travel spending . When it comes to boomer women, a surprising 28% are single (not including widowed women) and the economy has seen a boost from women in this age group spending more on beauty than ever before. In fact, female baby boomers spend more than any other generation on fashion. This group reject dated and derogatory language such as ‘anti-ageing’. They’re positive about their age, and focus on looking their best, rather than looking younger. In line with this, beauty magazine Allure hailed the end of anti-ageing on the cover of its September 2017 issue, stating:

“We know it’s not easy to change packaging and marketing overnight. But together we can start to change the conversation and celebrate beauty in all ages.” So how do we communicate with a generation with more time and money at its disposal than any other? And, how do we tailor goods and services to them? It’s time brands stopped pigeon holing this group as grandparents and ageing couples, and start to think of them as independent individuals looking for new adventures and experiences. Brand language must be checked and imagery must get real.

So, now that we’ve bust the myths surrounding this lively and industrious generation, what are the opportunities that they present?

All Under One Roof As house prices soar further out of reach, and the economy struggles on, multi-generational households are on the increase. The boomerang generation is particularly prevalent in the UK, where 26% of young adults aged 20-34 live with their parents . Multi-generational households present constraints and tensions which create an opportunity for brands. More mouths to feed under one roof increases the need to buy in bulk, however this competes with the increasingly limited household space with which to store it. How can brands get smart with the way their products are packaged and stored to capitalise on this? Indeed, in households with multiple primary decision makers, whose priorities come first? How might brands tailor their offer to the needs of multiple generations?


© www.elle.se


Xavier Arnau

City Slickers As today’s wealthiest generation, with longer life expectancies and better levels of health than any other generation before them, baby boomers can expect a high quality of life for years to come. Far from relying on others to look after them, baby boomers lead active, independent and sociable lives. An escape to the country is no longer the retirement dream. Instead baby boomers are trading in their large countryside pads for smaller, slicker rented properties in the city. Drawn by convenience, cultural attractions, lifestyle amenities and the prospect of being closer to family, urbanisation is rapidly on the increase. In 2017 in the US, the number of city renters aged over 55 rose by 21%. Property developers are cashing in on this, with luxury developments exclusively for the over 50s popping up in trendy neighbourhoods in London and New York. As the clientele of cities shifts to wealthier consumers with different functional and emotional needs, this will bring with it renewed opportunity for convenience stores, cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues. DTC (direct to consumer) services such as Deliveroo and Uber will have to reconsider their offer, as their captive audience evolves into a more mature consumer. In addition, the burden on urban health care providers will increase.

Š Advanced Style

Summing Up When it comes to baby boomers, the wealthiest generation of all time, there are three key themes to think about:

1. All Under One Roof The increase in multigenerational living adds to household constraints and tensions, with an increased need to buy in bulk, less space in which to store it, and a need to balance the priorities of multiple decision makers.

2. Living The Dream Contrary to popular belief, boomers are more likely to be starting businesses and booking luxury holidays than writing wills and planning their funerals. It’s time to stop pigeon holing and patronising them which requires a reappraisal of the language and imagery brands use.

3. City Slickers The retirement dream has shifted from rural countryside manor to super convenient city apartment living. The increased urbanisation of boomers will transform the audiences of cafes, restaurants, shops, bars, entertainment venues and DTC services, and the demand on city health care provision will soar.

For more insight on how to tailor your offer to suit this vibrant generation, contact Lucy Baldwin lucy.baldwin@kinneirdufort.com 15

UNDERSTANDING WITH EMPATHY At KD we take a human centred approach to design, ensuring the products and experiences we design are rooted in the needs of users. Key to this is getting to the heart of people’s wants and needs, going beyond the functional detail of what people say to a deeper understanding of what makes them feel, think and behave in the way they do. To get to this deeper level of understanding we need to nurture a connection with the people we’re speaking to, creating a bond that is built on trust and mutual respect. How do we do that? We build empathy. The big question of course is how do you build empathy? While there is no one perfect recipe the five considerations below will go a long way to creating the right environment for a rich and insightful conversation.


PARKING PRECONCEPTIONS As a team we often find ourselves in unfamiliar territory during projects, it might be a completely foreign subject matter or that we are looking at a familiar scenario but from the perspective of a particular stakeholder. Unfamiliarity may at first blush seem a hinderance but it does ensure one of the most important steps to building empathy and that is to be free of any preconceptions. It is only by looking through fresh eyes that we can gather meaningful insights, by limiting our assumptions our eyes are opened to how people are actually behaving.






Wherever and whenever possible get out and spend time with the people you are speaking to in their surroundings. Not only does this give context to the conversation and help with clues and visual observations but it will also help to put your interviewee at ease. This also creates an opportunity to observe people in their natural environment where often they will be doing things unconsciously without realising the importance of their actions. Engrained habits such as how chefs speedily open cartons of tomatoes by slicing them open with a knife, or the route that people follow when shopping in a supermarket can easily be missed in conversations, but could be key insights that shape a design ethos.

We want our interviews to feel like conversations. We are not there to work through a checklist of questions but instead trying to create a guided but flowing dialogue. As it’s a conversation, we need to make sure that we’re listening to peoples answers and reacting accordingly. There is a real art to working through a discussion guide, thinking of the next questions, while still maintaining a natural flow. This is especially true when covering sensitive subject matter.

Trevor Brinkman





To really understand the people we’re talking to we need to go deep. Yes, they prefer the more premium brand of milk but why? There will be several layers to their decisions and the questions we ask need to be carefully chosen to unravel the detail in order to reveal what lies at the heart of the matter. Broad open questions allow us to establish the landscape, whereas more targeted, focused questions home in on specific details. Why did they buy premium milk? Because:

So we’ve established that rapport, dialogue and open questions are all vital to building empathy but what happens when we don’t speak the same language? As 60% of our work is done outside of the UK this is a situation that presents itself on a surprisingly regular basis. While we often work with interpreters to help us with our conversations, we also develop tools and methodologies that cross language barriers so that we can have natural interactions with the people sitting across from us.

1. They thought it came from the best source and therefore has the best quality nutrition. 2. Which meant their children would have the best start in life. 3. Which made them feel like they were doing everything they could as a parent for their children.

Memorable examples include an immersive board game used in China, Poland and the US to define the common language of comfort and a collaborative construction exercise with children to understand what they want from a piece of packaging.

to conclude Empathy is the key to seeing the world through the eyes of others, it is only by delving deep into the thoughts, feelings and actions of our users that we can uncover the insights needed to create truly impactful design that makes a difference to people’s lives. By uncovering and understanding the hidden wants and needs that often never materialise beyond the subconscious, we can glean the clues that allow us to identify what really matters. Key to building empathy is the development of trust between us as guests, in the lives of our respondents who are the experts. One thing we must never forget is that it’s a privilege to be given a glimpse into someone else’s personal world and that we must enter this new relationship with a mind devoid of preconceptions.

4. Because they wanted to be a good parent. Layers beneath layers beneath layers.


Kelly Dawson

The Influence of megatrends on innovation and business “If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem, and only 5 minutes finding the solution.” Albert Einstein


are predictions that we could soon see the official launch of a commercial ride sharing service comprised entirely of autonomous vehicles.

Megatrends are one of the largest influences on business. They are driving forces that are defining the world today and will shape our future. Significant megatrends in the world today include climate change and resource scarcity, rapid urbanisation, demographic shifts, and advancements in technology.

Megatrends can often be found at the core of company strategies to drive sustainable business growth; ensuring global consumers’ changing needs and behaviours underpin the decisions they make. However, as the change driven by megatrends develop over many years, they can be overlooked, particularly in businesses that have a near-term mindset rather than taking a long-term view.

Megatrends are influenced by shifts in behaviour, attitudes and changes in society. They will ultimately have impacts that unfold over many years. For example, while driverless cars may have seemed like science fiction until recently, we now have these vehicles on our streets and there

Innovation should be driven by a deep understanding of the implications of emerging trends and longer-term projections of change. All too often we jump to solutions before we’ve defined the problem or opportunity. To shape

innovation, one approach is to consider whether you are preparing for global change, OR pioneering change that will shape the world. Are you solving a problem such as the challenges caused by water shortage? Or, do you have an idea that might change the way we interact with the world around us, such as the emergence of voice recognition?

Preparing for indeterminate forces in a changing world Whilst we don’t necessarily have the foresight to determine the full extent of future consumer needs and the extent of change on the horizon, it is possible to define and prepare future scenarios on how global change might impact your brand and consumers. For example, climate change and water shortage is perhaps closer than we might think. We are already seeing the impact on people around the world. People in São Paolo, New Delhi, Cape Town and California are having to prioritise water usage in the home, reusing where possible. Fourteen of the world’s twenty megacities are experiencing water scarcity or drought conditions. Combine water shortage with rapid urbanisation and the world will have just 60% of the water it needs by 2030. The impact will no doubt be felt throughout households, effecting peoples’ behaviour to how often they shower, clean the home, wash clothing and flush the toilet. Attitudes are already changing to a resource that is often taken for granted.

“I think twice about every single choice I make – do I really need to wash that top? I feel like we’re having to learn the value of every drop the hard way, and maybe in the long-term, that’s a good thing.” The world’s first dry-wash spray, Day 2, launched last year by Unilever, signals a preparation for the changing needs on the horizon in the laundry category. Whilst the product innovation claims many benefits, its purpose is to extend the wear of clothing. As this example highlights, by innovating, a new platform and business opportunity is growing where global challenges have emerged.

pioneering new technology. Technology-led companies can also see disruption impact them and change the industry. Kodak failed to capitalise on the opportunity when they created the digital camera. They did not market and launch the technology for fear of impacting their film business. They failed to realise that online photo sharing was a new business opportunity, not just a way to expand the printing business. They lacked the foresight on where consumer behaviour was heading and didn’t pioneer innovation that could have driven significant growth in their business. Pioneering innovation requires a deep understanding of people. It requires insight on how individuals, families, communities and countries are changing and how they might interact with emerging technology. Pioneers must understand people, as well as understanding the technicalities of how technological change might progress.

To prepare or pioneer? At the start of an innovation process, it’s worth actively considering whether you are preparing for significant change that will impact your sector or whether you are pioneering new technologies that might shape our future. If global change will impact your business, there is a strong likelihood you need to prepare an innovation strategy for future horizons. Conversely, if you develop and pioneer new technology, there will need to be a compelling need and use case that will aid product or service success. Understanding problems and pain points on the horizon should signal how best to prepare an innovation funnel. Defining what might make you irrelevant over the next ten years poses a great opportunity if considered strategically. Of course, some innovation will sit at the intersection of preparing and pioneering. For example, renewable energy opportunities are drawing on advancements in technology, but they are also a response to a clear compelling need for urgent energy alternatives for the good of the planet. The intersection between preparing and pioneering is perhaps where some of the most exciting game-changing innovation can be found.

Pioneering new technology and innovation An alternative direction to approaching innovation is through focusing on the opportunities associated by


Dates in our diary Birmingham Design Festival 6th – 8th June

Head to Birmingham from the 6th of June to attend a celebration of all things Design at the Birmingham Design Festival, with dozens of talks, workshops and exhibitions and where our very own Merle Hall will be appearing in a panel discussion, representing Kerning the Gap and sharing thoughts and ideas to encourage greater equality across the design industry. https://birminghamdesignfestival.org.uk/

Packaging Innovations 11th – 12th September

With four stages from eco-friendly to luxury, and exhibitors from all disciplines, London’s Olympia is the place to learn, network and buy in the packaging world. https://www.easyfairs.com/packaging-innovations-london-2019/

London Design Festival: 14th - 22nd September

For one week in September, we see all things design take over the capital, from the V&A to Trafalgar Square, to the Design Museum itself. London Design Festival celebrates and promotes the City as the design capital of the world and returns from 14th-22nd September 2019. https://www.londondesignfestival.com/

Global Innovation Forum 20th – 21st November

Each year, we look forward to attending and presenting on some of the latest innovation trends that will be impacting brands and consumers in the future. Back in 2018, we presented the 6 Big Questions for Innovation Today, and will be returning in 2019 to deliver more thoughtprovoking insights. https://giflondon.com/

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Focus by Kinneir Dufort: Insight and Innovation special  

Exploring the influences and approaches to uncover, understand and anticipate what's next. To subscribe to receive FOCUS electronically, re...

Focus by Kinneir Dufort: Insight and Innovation special  

Exploring the influences and approaches to uncover, understand and anticipate what's next. To subscribe to receive FOCUS electronically, re...

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