What actually is a behavioural futurist?

A behavioural futurist studies people’s evolving attitudes, and the influences on them, and predicts 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.