I started room44 as an innovation consultancy with a vision that we could train teams to plan for their future success by seeing changes in their markets through the eyes of consumers. That we could teach them to look proactively at world trends for signals that would be useful in product development planning.

We called this ‘innovation consulting’ and we’ve just had our fifth anniversary. Happy birthday us.

What happened five years ago?

Have a look at Google and remind yourself of the news in 2014. David Cameron was starting to talk about Brexit. Barack Obama was criticised left and right for Obamacare. Drug companies were facing tougher price-based patient benefit scrutiny. Zoella was 14, and had just published her first book. Plastics pollution was in the press – but less so.

If your teenager was doing A-levels, they’re out of university now. If your baby was going into primary school, they’re going to big school in September. It was three years after the App Store opened and RBS collapsed, so you can begin to see where this is going.

Since then, digital technology has gained speed and complexity of development. ‘Algorithm’ has become the new buzz word across news channels, 5G is about to unleash another acceleration in digital development. The baby boomers are about to head for the golf course to make way for Gen Ys at a board table near you.

Banking has seen disruption with apps taking chunks of business away from Personal and Business Bankers, and there’s more upheaval to come. Monzo launched in 2015 and Starling has since taken off; other new disrupters are established. Some will succeed, some won’t. New brand offerings will build on these innovators.

Pharma faces exponential disruption as consumers find new ways of accessing treatment and even undertaking self-diagnosis. Take this idea into a drug brand’s head office and see how 99% of the people react. It won’t be a long meeting. 

We know of teenagers performing their own dentistry and orthodontics after watching YouTube videos. Dangerous? The standard professional view is, ‘of course’. But trying alignment correction and getting it wrong only puts someone into a dentist’s chair later.

Macro is dead.

These are small examples of consumers being offered, and seeking out, new ways of consuming products and services. Trends that used to fall into buckets labelled Mega, Macro and Micro now fall into just two.

Mega trends are those things happening at a global scale and that you won’t change. These are developments that used to be thought of as happening over longer time periods, whereas macro trends were seen as the multiple children of Mega parents and more easily dealt with.

Right now, I am convinced that the rate of change is so rapid that the things we traditionally imagine will be market and consumer factors in five years, are happening in eighteen months (except Brexit, of course).

There simply isn’t time for macro to be a thing anymore. What we are left with are mega trends and your micro response.

Future proofing

room44 specialises in seeing trends and company need in this way. We train teams to be aware and to respond to their changing environment. We train you to fish because giving you a fish is not the answer.

If you want to be in business in five years’ time, you must work on it now. Why not get in touch? Click here to book some time to explore your options.

Future thinking. Future proofing. It’s what we do.

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