Foresight & Trends unites the most forward thinking, creative and innovative people from across the globe to discuss macro trends disrupting how business gets done. It reveals what's coming next and translates that information into actionable insights. Discover how to identify what is relevant for you and how to synthesize that information so you can challenge the status quo and ensure commercial success.

Learn best practices on taking action on foresight
and getting your organization to align with that vision


Foresight & Trends 2014 Invitation

RSVP to Foresight & Trends 2014 in Los Angeles this November! Foresight & Trends unites the most forward thinking, creative and innovative people from across the globe to discuss macro trends disrupting how business gets done. It reveals what’s coming next and translates that information into actionable insights. Discover how you can challenge the status quo and ensure commercial success. 

Learn more about the event here:

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Exclusive Interview: The Importance of Foresight & Trends in Business

Today, foresight is the secret weapon of success. Without foresight, we can’t prepare for what the future has in store for us. This concept has always been important, but now more than ever, it is more difficult to come by because everything in our world is constantly changing. Our technologies, jobs, institutions, even some of our treasured values and ways of thinking are shifting radically, making it very difficult to prepare for future challenges and opportunities.  I caught up with Frank Spencer and Yvette Montero Salvatico of Kedge, LLC, to discuss this rapidly growing importance of using foresight and trends in business.  

Spencer and Salvatico will be speaking at the upcoming Foresight & Trends 2014 conference in Los Angeles this November.  This year, Foresight & Trends unites the most forward thinking, creative and innovative people from across the globe to discuss macro trends disrupting how business gets done. This unique event synthesizes trend insights, consumer insights, foresight, brand strategy, design thinking, human science and innovation into a clear vision for capturing future opportunities with a unique blended learning curriculum. It unleashes valuable knowledge, contextualizes the knowledge into relevant examples for you to apply back to your business, and then empowers you to connect with the future in hands on translation sessions and immersion techniques centered on core themes.

Here’s what Spencer and Salvatico had to say:

IIR: How do you challenge the status quo? 

Spencer and Salvatico: Strategic Foresight can be its own business case for change.  In other words, sharing an analysis of trends and patterns (which result from the intersection of trends) will often create the impetus for change.  Beyond that business case creation, leveraging assumption and bias tools which are integral to Strategic Foresight is a powerful way to challenge conventional thinking.  Diving deep below the surface of an issue and examining its root causes helps organizations overcome the “it’s always been done this way” inertia, paving the way for long-term change.

IIR: How does understanding and implementing foresight and trends ensure commercial success in business?

Spencer and Salvatico: Working with the Senior VP in Labor Relations, we crafted several scenarios depicting the future of unions which were used to make profitable decisions regarding talent and focused legislation.

IIR: How do you get your organization to align with your vision of taking action on foresight? 

Spencer and Salvatico: The fact is that we are all creating the future with the actions we take or do not take today.  Most organizations (and individuals); however, make these decisions without actually thinking about the future (either consciously or collaboratively).  With Strategic Foresight running in the background (as your company’s operating system), the process of aligning action to long-term vision is seamless.

IIR: Why are trends so important in order to make strategic choices for your business? 

Spencer and Salvatico: Trends are a critical element of building a foresight competency; however, they can also be our worst enemy.  Trends represent what is already here, and without training on how to interpret trends, organizations can be blinded to what’s next.  Instead of focusing solely on trends, we must look at the value shifts under girded the trends as well as the impacts and implications resulting from the trend that are actually shaping the future.  In addition, trends (like everything else in our current environment) do not exist in isolation, as a result, organizations must develop the skill of pattern and sense-making in order to capitalize on the collision of trends.

IIR: What advice do you have for others trying to create a strategic plan for capturing future opportunities?

Spencer and Salvatico: Think in multiples. To be effective, strategic plans in the 21st Century cannot be linear extrapolations of the past.  We must challenge our current mental maps, make sense of the emerging issues and create multiple, divergent future worlds to allow for robust and transformative strategy development.

IIR: What do you think will be the biggest trend affecting the future of business? 

Spencer and Salvatico: Rather than a solitary trend, I think a pattern or cluster of trends will be most impactful.  In the future, open-source talent sharing will soon become so common that there will be a “People Cloud” where work is shared, collaboration is instantaneous, and “cloud” employees work for multiple enterprises simultaneously. Boundaries between internal and external networks will begin to blur, as organizations embrace the wisdom of crowds to execute strategy.

IIR: What would the world be like without foresight and innovation? 

Spencer and Salvatico: It’s actually not hard to imagine since there are many places and organizations in the world that ignore the future.  Governments, associations and firms that hold steadfastly to the past in hopes that it will one day return.  The result is as painful to watch as it is to be a part of.

IIR: Have you ever been wrong about a foresight or future trend? 

Spencer and Salvatico: We are careful to advise our clients that no one can predict the future. Instead, we show them how to map it, creating multiple, divergent and provocative scenarios that allow us to test our current strategies while creating new ones. 

IIR: What is the biggest thing you hope to get out of Foresight & Trends 2014 this fall?

Spencer and Salvatico: I hope to engage with like-minded partners that seek to create more than a foresight division and instead are looking to create a culture of future thinkers in their organization.

Want to hear more from Yvette and Frank? Hear from them at Foresight & Trends 2014 this November 11-13 in Los Angeles, CA. For more information about the event or to register, click here:

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.   

Bringing Play to Innovation: 3 Imperatives for Playing Better

Considering the challenges that many if not most organizations run into when working with innovation bringing play into the equation could make a real difference. Or rather bringing in serious play could make a real difference. 

Front End of Innovation Blog: Call for Guest Bloggers: Front End of Innovation Toronto 2014

Scholars, bloggers, practitioners and graduate students are invited to apply to become our official event scribes and publish their unbiased recaps/takeaways for the rest of the innovation community as we make our way through the conference’s comprehensive 3-day agenda.

A 21st Century Monk: The secret weapon behind the success of Google, Facebook, PepsiCo, and Eli Lilly

The future of a successful organization calls for leaders to instill wellbeing into the heart of how they lead.  Join Gregory Burdulis, a 21st century MONK, at the Foresight and Trends conference , as he discusses emerging cultural pressures pushing mindfulness to the tipping point in society and business. Greg brings his learnings from the monastery to companies such as Google, Facebook, PepsiCo, Eli Lilly and for the first time FT’14!  Wellbeing spans across industries and roles. Its effects on productivity, product line, innovation, leadership, growth and brand health are linked to sustainability and profitability. Explore how foresight around wellbeing can create a positive change that will drive the bottom line. 

Foresight & Trends 2014
November 11-13
SLS Hotel
Los Angeles, CA

Learn the secrets to cultivating a healthier, more engaged workforce, and social  innovations that help consumers, citizens, and your business flourish from these leading speakers: 

Why 2020’s Strongest Brands & Companies Are Already Using Wellbeing As a Core Strategy

Tom LaForge, Global Director, Human & Cultural Insights, THE COCA-COLA COMPANY 

Renee Moorefield, PhD, CEO, WISDOM WORKS GROUP
This session shares a framework of leadership practices that help leaders integrate wellbeing into everything they do. It will highlight The Coca-Cola Company’s multi-year strategy to make wellbeing a leadership priority - inside and out - and show why and how companies are incorporating wellbeing in brands, relationships with communities, business partnerships and workplaces. Participants of this session will also gain new insights about the enablers and challenges to building the kind of leadership talent that values wellbeing as an essential part of performance and a deeper purpose for leading.

We promise this video will put a smile on your face:

We Are Treating the Symptoms and Not the Disease

Doug Stover, Senior Managing Consultant, GALLUP

Research tells us that people who score higher in wellbeing perform better on the job and have lower healthcare costs - two vital factors to executives, community leaders, and of course, to all of us as individuals. But, very few Americans across the country are achieving a high level of wellbeing. While many employers report offering solutions to curtail unhealthy behaviors, a vast majority of employees see their job as a detriment to their overall wellbeing. Are your investments treating the symptoms or the disease?

The Power of Purpose

Mark Demich, VP Leadership Development, HYATT HOTELS

This session will focus on how purpose can drive everything from operations to branding to HR. Hyatt is focused on aligning (and in some cases) designing itself around its “Higher Purpose.” Examples and discussion will center on how “Higher Purpose” can drive choices and changes within operations, brands, marketing, corporate social responsibility and HR.

And, many more! Download the brochure for full conference details:

Mention code FT14BL & Save 15% off the standard rate. Register today:

What can you expect at Foresight and Trends? Emerge yourself in an experience unlike any other, you will uncover latent trends and synthesize that information so you can challenge the status quo and ensure commercial success. 

For a taste of last year’s memorable FT experience, check out the Foresight & Trends YouTube Channel here: 


Foresight & Trends Team

What is an Employee Innovation Network? Why Should You Care?

As Innovation Program leaders look to expand their scope and influence across complex, global organizations, they are turning to the development of Employee Innovation Networks. This article examines what these networks can look like, and provides some high level overview of the value that they can generate.

In the past five years or so large corporate organizations have jumped headfirst into the innovation space. Over this time they have taken on an ever-increasing scope of activities, in order to create new ideas and generate broad organizational impact. Activities such as innovation challenges, action learning teams, incubators / accelerators, etc. are now well established and understood within many Fortune 500 organization.

Now that these organizations have been running innovation centric activities for sometime, company leadership is examining their investment and demanding more leveraged value and impact. In short, innovation programs and their activities are often not producing the desired level of return or impact, and so leadership is asking for more, often with fewer resources.

Based on this increasing sophistication in the understanding of corporate innovation, leadership are now considering how they can develop an innovative culture within their organization. This is reflected in the types of activities being undertaken, but also in the presentations and agenda at conferences such as the Back End of Innovation in Las Vegas (October 6-8th)

Innovation programs and their activities are often not producing the desired results, so leadership is demanding more leveraged value and impact.

As a response, innovation program leaders and managers have been looking for mechanisms that unify and leverage their existing activities, as well as provide a more consistent presence for their program over time. To achieve these objectives, increasingly the response has been to develop employee innovation networks.

Approaches to employee innovation networks vary by company, but as a general rule employees are given a new designation (e.g. Innovation Catalyst, Super User, Champion, etc.) and innovation centric resources and activities are directed towards them. It is important to note that this new title is often in addition to employee’s existing day-to-day roles. How employees become members of these networks changes by the company, as does the strategic goals and objectives.

These networks range in approach, depth and value generated, but they are all designed with the following results and benefits in mind:

  • Further engage employees within the organization that want to provide innovative thinking
  • Provide an opportunity to leverage the impact of small innovation programs across large, globally disbursed organizations
  • In the short term, provide a pool of employees that can be directed towards existing innovation activities, in order to spur interest and positive results
  • In the longer term, this pool of employees can be directed to achieving specific innovation tasks, such as the generating and executing new ideas, in order to enhance ROI across the innovation program
  • In the even longer term, provide a broad base of employees that can be used to help enhance and shape the culture of the organization
  • For some organizations, often when they are process oriented, identify and nurture employees who may not fit within the standard success model, but are capable of generating value for the organization

Part of the value of developing a strategic approach is recognizing that networks require resources, focus and flexibility to the shifting priorities and goals of the organization.

Before going down the path of building an employee network, it is important to develop a strategic framework. Part of the value in this approach is to not only provide ongoing direction and support, but also to recognize that networks require resources, focus and flexibility to the shifting priorities and goals of the organization. Accordingly when developing a well-structured framework the following perspectives need to be considered (amongst other more detailed points):

  • What is the goal of the network? – There is no point in doing this unless some sort of tangible result is achieved (e.g. Improved employee engagement, more innovative activity, increased idea execution, more ideas generated, etc.)? How could / should those goals change over time?
  • What is the network member profile? – What defines individuals as members? How do they become a members (is it awarded to them or do they self select)?
  • What is the benefit for members? – Why would employees spend the time and energy becoming a network member?
  • What resources and / or activities can you realistically dedicate to managing and growing this network? – What is already in place that can be directed to these individuals? What vendor related resources or activities can be directed towards network members?

Organizations such as Wells Fargo, Qualcomm, Intuit, Pfizer, Whirlpool, GE, etc. already have these employee networks in place and they are being utilized in ways that generate significant benefits to each organization.

Networks should not be viewed as simple or short term activities.

Of course, in this article I am just skimming the surface of successfully developing and supporting these networks. Make no mistake, this should not be viewed as a simple or short term activity, but rather a longer-term force for change and cultural impact across your organization. Should you take a short-term perspective, there is a real risk that the effort will disenfranchise your employees, causing negative knock-on impacts to other activities that your program may operate. This kind of activity can have huge positive benefits for your program, but can also have negative consequences if handled incorrectly or with the wrong perspective. That said, the benefits to these efforts can be enormous and exciting.

So have a think about it and, as always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

About the Author: Anthony is the CEO of Culturevate (, an organization that empowers a company’s employees to execute ideas and inspire a culture of innovation, through employee networks, a resource portal and training programs (developed in association with Professor Chris Labash from Carnegie Mellon University). Anthony is a widely read author (, speaker and advisor to industry leaders at organizations such as Pfizer, U.S. Postal Service, Johnson & Johnson, ADP and Fidelity. He previously led The BNY Mellon innovation program and has a Masters of Commerce (University of Sydney) and Bachelor of Economics (University of Newcastle).

The Changing Role of the Chief Innovation Officer (CInO)

As the competency of corporate innovation continues to expand and improve, more Chief Innovation Officer roles are appearing in large, corporate organizations. This is a welcome development and recognition of the ongoing value that leadership sees innovation efforts delivering for organizations. This recognition is demonstrated by the focus on the CInO role by several conferences, including The Back End of Innovation in Las Vegas on October 6-8.

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RSVP to Foresight & Trends 2014 , 11th-13th November 2014

RSVP to Foresight & Trends 2014 , 11th-13th November 2014

Meet Virtual Humans & Explore Immersive Technologies at FT’14

What is The Foresight and Trends experience?  It’s seeing the latest in 3D, meeting virtual humans and playing with immersive technologies - all while engaging leading futurists in discussions around global trends, then translating those trends into actionable insights that will ensure your future success.   For over 18 years, the Foresight and Trends conference (FT’14) has been uniting the greatest minds in trends, market research, foresight, brand strategy, design thinking, and innovation.  This year the experience and conversations continue in LA, November 11-13. 

 Foresight and Trends’  unique learning styles help you identify and capture your future opportunities.  The Exploration Sessions takes the learning experience outside the conference walls and grants you access to exclusive behind the scenes tours of some of LA’s most innovative companies.  

 Foresight & Trends 2014

November 11-13

SLS Hotel

Los Angeles, CA

Silicone Beach - L.A.’s Hot Technology Start-Up Culture 

University of Southern California’s (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies 
Experience the latest 3D, virtual humans/avatar and immersive technologies. Los Angeles has recently been ranked third, behind Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, among the world’s top start-up ecosystems by Startup Genome. ICT is a recognized leader in the development of virtual humans who look, think and behave like real people.

JET Propulsion Laboratory
Managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is the leading U.S. center for robotic exploration of the solar system.  

Guests can also visit the Von Karman Center, the Space Flight Operations Facility and the Spacecraft Assembly Facility.

Cocktail Reception & Exploration of Oblong Industries
From Fiction to Reality: How the Technology Envisioned in “Minority Report” and “Iron Man” is Already Transforming Workplace Collaboration and Big Data Visualization.

As the world goes mobile and multi-device — and pixels are suddenly everywhere — the need for a seamlessly interactive, intuitive and integrated computing environment becomes more and more apparent. Founder, CEO and Chief Scientist John Underkoffler will outline in a short talk the path from fiction to reality and how it will transform the way we navigate, collaborate and communicate.

Download brochure for the complete FT Experience details!

Experience innovation first hand and maximize your FT experience by participating in these field trips.  Each field trip is limited to 25 people, and spots are quickly filling up quickly. 

Mention code FT14LI & Save 15% off the standard rate. Register today:

Foresight & Trends Team 

In the future, screens may correct your eyesight problems, not glasses