Crystal Balling

I was reading a great article about the WGSN Futures conference in London this week and it got me thinking about the future… At JAK we spend just as much time immersed in corporate culture as we do designing. These worlds collide regularly. What we do day-to-day is create an intersection where art and commerce meet. It’s weird but it works. 

The WGSN Futures conference invited senior executives to a day of keynotes, panels and discussions focused on The Future Consumer. The event opened up a number of big ideas that brand leaders and creative thinkers should take note of as they develop their future strategies.

Below are some of the key take aways from some pretty cool people and some additional thoughts from me about how these ideas relate to events:

James Poulter, social technology lead at LEGO
  • AI intelligence & AE artificial empathy are the future.
  • Technology needs to become more playful, creating more socially connected experiences.
  • There is a need to design safe, non addictive experiences for future generations – so that their relationship with tech, as well as being more intuitive than ours, can also be more healthy.

I like the idea of technology being more fun. Certainly a shift toward more playful and socially connected technology is something that will greatly benefit the Events Industry. I’ll be keeping my eye out for examples of this as they begin to emerge. As a person who struggles naturally with technology (I’m not a Digital Native), I look forward to a future of more intuitive and healthy relationships with technology

Lorna Hall, Head of WGSN Insight

Says we live in the ‘Age of Anxiety’. “Engagement with tech is creating a world where we’re too busy to process our own emotions.” The result is the emergence of the mood market, where emotion can – and increasingly will – be designed for, and experiences should centre around helping consumers to understand and optimise their state of mind.She described how brands are designing for Joy (“In today’s climate, optimism must become a strategy”); Calm (“Customers are always searching for that feeling of calm. If we can help them at all with that, we must”); Curiosity (including a VR experience from Sotheby’s that “lets you enter the artist’s brain”), Comfort/Discomfort (“Breaking out of your comfort zone, for your clients and your customers, will be key”); and Belonging (“Kindness is a key word”).

I hear you Lorna! I sometimes do feel like I’m living in the Age of Anxiety. Even Social Media is moving so quickly that I feel left behind on a regular basis. Disconnection and interruption are part of our lives. No wonder we don’t have time to process our own emotions 😦  While these other brands are designing for Joy, Calm, Curiosity, Comfort/Discomfort and belonging… I think we should do it too! There must be simple ways we can adapt our own corporate cultures to align with this new future and begin to create a better experience for our clients and colleagues.

Abigail Rappoport, CEO of Emoquo

Says another place where brands will increasingly be tackling anxiety will be within the workplace. Workplaces of the future will revolve around wellness.

This seems like a natural extension of Lorna’s keys points. I’ve also been hearing a bit of a buzz about this in podcasts and other articles. Wellness in the workplace is being taken super seriously right now which is awesome! At JAK we strive to add little and thoughtful touches to make the work environment welcoming, supportive and fun. We work in a hub style environment which can be chaotic but fun. We make sure everyone has their own personalised space inside of our hub. We are not running yoga programs or providing in-house masseuses, but we do give everyone matching knitted coffee cosies and fingerless gloves in winter. Cosy Ugg Boots and gorgeous blankets for everyone ensures that anyone can be comfy in Winter no matter what temperature the office is and we all love the personal touch.

Joy, Calm, Curiosity, Comfort/Discomfort and belonging also belong in the workplace. As mentioned in previous blog post. The events industry is rated one of the most stressful industries  We say there is always time for cake (and we make time for it too!). These are only small things, but we are always looking for ways to make our work environment a happier and funner place.

Here are some links to places and businesses focusing on Wellness in the Workplace:

Workplace Design Tips

Simon P Lock, CEO of online showroom provider ORDRE

“VR and AR are going to have a huge impact on the future of fashion”

The next generation of virtual reality technology will bring in interactivity.

This is certain to translate into the events space. I imagine a future where 3D renders will be replaced with VR experiences to allow clients to step right inside of our proposed ideas. We may be taking our leads from fashion initially, but I expect a great deal of innovation to be sparked once the ball gets rolling!

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