We help brands prepare for the future

Find out how we can help you:

Consulting

Will's consultancy Next Big Thing offers a complete Futures and Strategy service, providing benefits across functions:

  • providing data to support and inform commercial strategy
  • inspiring more successful new product development
  • predicting future sales and consumption demand
  • identifying the most effective comms and sales platforms 
  • supporting investment and diversification decisions
  • informing recruitment, comms, marketing and sales strategy

Our popular future-proofing tools are designed to answer our clients' biggest strategic concerns:

How do we predict the future?

Behavioural changes are typically triggered by attitude changes, which themselves are triggered by specific (environmental) events. By identifying an attitude change – or, better yet, identifying an event that’s likely to trigger an attitude change – we can confidently predict a behaviour change …

More

Next Big Thing Quiz #1. Take a guess.

In 2005 25% of Brits said they like to be first to try something. What's the figure now?

35%

What proportion of Chinese consumers now view slowing down as a luxury?

82%

What percentage marketshare did Nokia lose in just one year in the early '90s?

93%

What proportion more products globally used the word ’ancient’ from 2011-2016?

269%

How much did Britons spend at festivals from 2010-2014?

£1 billion

“Will really stands out from other future specialists.
He translates trends into commercial opportunities.”

Alex Owens, Head of Insight, Sainsbury’s

Speaking

Will Higham is one of the UK’s most popular and trusted speakers on Futures and Strategy.

Will combines passion with usability and strategic inspiration with reliable insights. He paints practical pictures of tomorrow’s business and consumer landscapes, and explores the implications.

He delivers keynotes, seminars and lectures; moderates and appears on panels; and chairs conferences for a wide range of industries: from finance to fashion, luxury to leisure.

To book Will to give a talk, or find out more, click here

Will’s inspiring talks:
  • help audiences make friends with change: identifying the commercial opportunities disruption offers
  • act as a powerful wake-up call: alerting audiences to unexpected threats, disruption and competition
  • offer insights and examples from multiple industries and 15 years of trends experience
They address key concerns:
  • price vs privacy vs convenience
  • skills needs and shortages
  • online vs offline vs omnichannel retail
  • ownership vs access-ship
  • new luxury and premium drivers
  • how to appeal to new consumers

Make friends with change.

Will’s talks explain how:
  • to take advantage of new opportunities
  • to avoid getting left behind
  • to embed innovation into the enterprise
  • to anticipate and fend off outlier competitors
  • new trends will impact specific industry sectors

Showreel

Audiences come away from Will's talks:

  • more informed about the future
  • with practical, forward-facing ideas they can action immediately
  • feeling confident they won’t get left behind
  • excited, inspired … and ready to innovate

“Will got the brief exactly and delivered just the kind of speech we wanted.”

Laura Kozasvili, Head of Events, British
Property Federation

Talks for all occasions

Will chairs, moderates and speaks at a wide variety of events,
run by global brands, industry bodies and media leaders: from 
Barclaycard
and ABTA to The Financial Times and Retail Week.
Events this year took Will from Manila to Austin TX.

Below are four of Will’s most popular keynotes.
To book him to give one tailored to you, click here.

Don’t be distracted by success. Success today is no guarantee of success tomorrow.

Clients

We've been fortunate to work with some of our favourite global brands

We've inspired and informed effective strategy decisions in a variety of sectors:

  • we identified behaviour trends that convinced a Top 10 global telecoms provider to create a global broadcast strategy
  • we inspired one of the world’s biggest banks to create a successful new pensions product based around Baby Boomer trends
  • our research on early ‘hipster’ culture helped a Top 3 global beer manufacturer switch to a more successful brand image
  • we created a luxury trends report for a global media agency which they used as a successful sales tool for almost two years
  • our research on changing Youth attitudes helped an international media company significantly boost their advertising revenue

Testimonials

What Our Clients Say

You can view change as a threat or an opportunity.
Successful companies view it as an opportunity.

Next Big Thing Quiz #2. Give it a go.

What proportion of citizens globally distrust their governments, businesses, or both?

80%

How much money has been pledged to projects on Kickstarter so far?

$2 billion

What percentage of Spanish consumers typically sleep holding their handsets?

60%

Which company could have bought Netflix for just $50 million in 2000

Blockbuster

What percentage of US Millennials self-identify as “foodies”?

50%

About

Will Higham is one of the world’s most respected consumer futurists.

He’s informed 1000s of business leaders via his talks, his consultancy, his articles and his book ‘The Next Big Thing’.

He’s spent almost 30,000 hours over the last 15 years analysing consumer trends and their implications for business.

Will’s first trends role was at seminal consultancy Breaking Trends, helping clients from British Telecom to Levis.

He was later appointed MD of research agency OnePoll, running campaigns for clients like Kelloggs, Findus and Hilton Hotels.

He wrote the first UK handbook for trend strategists: ‘The Next Big Thing’ in 2008.

More

Blog

  • A good day out of the office, dear?

    Article by Will on the workplace in The Economist. "The traditional office environment, where a set number of salaried employees work 9-5 in fixed silos, feels increasingly at odds with the contemporary world ..."
  • Old is the new young

    Article by Will in Ad Week on demographics. "Standard age-related targeting can't be relied on any more. Today many adolescents act like they're 'middle-aged', while older consumers maintain 'adolescent' interests, outlooks and behaviours ..."
  • Will Prog Rock be the new Folk?

    Article by Will on trends in Huffington Post. Today's youngest generation happily embraces the 'uncool', swords and sorcery are no longer dirty words and technical skills are being lauded. Is Prog Rock due a revival?

"The brain is the most rational thing in the universe.
But the way it solves problems is ad hoc and very local."

Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science, Warwick Business School

Next Big Thing Quiz #3. Try your luck.

What proportion of CEOs expect major disruption in their sector in the next 3 years?

48%

What proportion admit their organisation doesn’t have the means to respond?

50%

How many requests per week does Apple’s voice-activated service Siri get?

One billion.       ** Voice activated assistance is a huge growth area **

How many Germans think social justice more important than the economy?

52%

How many Americans say their ‘family’ now includes friends who aren’t relatives? 


75%

Media

  • Second Life Crisis?

    An interview with Will in The Daily Mail. "Trends analyst William Higham says life's becoming more complicated today. 'We begin one life, but we're increasingly starting a second, through choice or accident...'"

FAQs

What actually is a consumer futurist?

Consumer futurists study evolving consumer attitudes and the influences on them, and predict how consumers’ behaviours, expectations and needs are likely to change in future.

Can anyone predict the future?

Everybody forecasts the future to an extent. Predicting whether an event will be worth going to, a shopping mall will be busy or a supplier will deliver what we need. We make judgement calls based on the facts we have, our knowledge of human nature and our previous experience. Futurists take a similar approach. And like all skills, the best in class tend to (a) have a natural affinity for it and (b) spend a lot of time honing their craft.

How do we predict the future?

We analyse available data (from research reports to box office receipts), combine it with an understanding of social psychology and consumer behaviour and explore how similar situations have played out in the past, to build potential future scenarios of how consumers are likely to respond to changing environments, technologies and economic situations.

Have we ever got it wrong?

When Will first started, he’d sometimes get over-excited and expect trends to hit the mainstream more quickly than they did. But he soon learned that the leap from Early Adopter to Early Mainstream can take a long time. The trends we predict today have typically already begun somewhere: the skill is to tell our clients how quickly – and how widely – they’ll spread.

Do all our predictions come true?

No-one can guarantee the future. But we only highlight trends that are likely to occur. And to enable clients to manage risk, we base each of my predictions on most likely outcomes, and give a percentage chance of if/when/how strongly each trend might happen.

Will you get the same advice as everyone else?

No. Every client has different needs. So every project or presentation is at least partially tailored towards a client’s individual needs. Workshops, audits etc are almost entirely bespoke.

Will you be able to deal with Will Higham directly?

Yes. Will only takes on projects he has the time and knowledge to fulfil himself. When you hire him, you get him. But the team provides him with all the data, analysis and/or administrative assistance he needs. Scouts scan news, reports and other media to help identify trends.

Can your company afford to use Next Big Thing?

Probably. We offer a broad range of futures services, and are able to offer strategic benefits to suit most budgets.

Contact

To learn more, get a quick costing, or book Will to speak:

+44 (0) 20 3542 1900
info@next-big-thing.net


The Hub,
27 Dingley Place,
Islington,
London EC1V 8BR
United Kingdom