Decoding Tomorrow:
Futurism and Foresights Today

Foresights and ideas that expand minds and inspire a change of heart.

Future of Content Marketing - Collaboration and Thought Leadership

09 Sep 2020

Technology has become our lifeline. Digital has become the backbone of our society. In an era where our analogue hearts are no longer free to roam around, our digital minds can luckily still connect.

Over the last 12 months I have been fortunate to collaborate with and augment the signal from some of the world's leading brands as they seek to amplify digital thought leadership signal through futurist content marketing. Below you will find 4 of our brand collaboration case studies (Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe and ING Bank) - they may give you ideas for how to position your brand for the future, or might give rise to exciting future collaborations...

We would love to hear from you and explore brand collaborations with you as you navigate a world beyond the virus - the digital future. But first, let us explore how the world of Content Marketing is evolving and how you can establish thought leadership...

Facebook - Zero Friction Future Video Interview Series

Inadequate customer experiences see Australian business lose out on billions of dollars each year. But is the tide beginning to turn? In Facebook’s Zero Friction Future series, four industry leaders sat down with global futurist Anders Sörman-Nilsson to discuss their strategies to create a frictionless future — for their customers and their employees.

In 2018, Australian businesses lost out on $43.4 billion of customer spend because of friction in their customer experience.

Clearly then, while brands have previously tinkered with the concept, ensuring a seamless, inspiring and pain-free customer journey is now a strategic necessity.

Too often, friction within the research and buying journey has left potential customers frustrated, deflated and ultimately jumping ship to a competitor. And it’s not only external barriers that have scuppered so many sales. Friction can also paralyse businesses internally with poor communication and sub-standard technology leaving them unable to react.

Facebook partnered with global futurist Anders Sörman-Nilsson to explore how Australian brands are progressing towards a Zero Friction Future, including an interview series with four leading brand executives, such as Canva founder, Melanie Perkins. 

Microsoft - Future of Retail White Paper

In the last decade, retail has had to withstand future shock on a variety of fronts and its resilience is constantly being tested.

Australian retailers have been deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) in human-centric ways showcasing green shoots of innovation across the enterprise. Intelligent Supply Chain and Knowing Your Customer are two key areas where retailers are investing to accelerate out of the curve of disruption.

While the promise of machine learning is alluring, questions regarding AI abound. What moral and ethical considerations should we pay attention to? What is the role of AI in sustainability? How do we safeguard customer privacy?

The biggest risk today is to sit idle.

Through dialogues with Australia’s AI thought leaders from academia to interviews with retailers including Coles, The Iconic, Harvey Norman, and Accent Group Microsoft and Thinque have decoded evidence-based lessons from Australian AI pioneers in this Future of Retail white paper and how to best answer these questions with proactive strategies and uses cases, e.g:

1. Harvey Norman's "concierge bot" can answer around 70% of online chat queries, letting the retailer scale more easily without needing to throw more people at the problem, leading to a 30% improvement in CSAT customer satisfaction scores

2. The Iconic is deploying AI-powered decision-making based on customer behaviour for valuable replenishment insights so that the retailer can now predict return rates with 80% accuracy which helps optimise stock levels.

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Adobe - Creative Intelligence (CQ) Diagnostic and Thought Leadership Foreword

The Adobe CQ diagnostic is an online test comprising fifteen questions across five key areas where creativity impacts business success: culture; skills; technology; data; and experience as per this AdNews article. Upon completion of the questionnaire, Adobe CQ assigns an appropriate persona to the individual: The Visionary, The Leader, The Assembler, or The Challenger. You can check out the Adobe CQ diagnostic and our foreword here. Adobe CQ was developed in partnership with global futurist and innovation strategist Anders Sorman-Nilsson, independent creative strategist Jye Smith, and WE Communications.

Here is an excerpt of the context and foreword:

Human intelligence is about to get augmented by artificial intelligence. This certainly is a good thing as the emergence of machine learning could reveal the dawn of a humanist 2nd Renaissance - a veritable explosion of human-centred creativity. A new era where humans can focus on meaningful outputs, while machines take care of routine inputs. The future of creativity is about combining the best of human resources with the best of artificial resources.

If previous eras have mined talent for IQ and EQ, it is time for humans to step into our creative human intelligence and amplify our Adobe CQ (creativity quotient) with the best that technology can offer, helping to drive our advancement and tackle global problems. This begins with identifying what your creative potential is as a leader.

In the augmented age, our output will be increasingly judged based on its creativity, connecting of dots, hacking of processes, 'doing more with less', and 'changing the game.’ Which means a team leader's primary role will be to nurture, empower, and lead troops who effectively collaborate and produce paradigm-shifting brands, products and services - teams whose ideas are powered and amplified by technology. Consequently, we need to diagnose where we have creativity blindspots and how to bridge the future gap. On this journey, leaders will need to nourish skills like pattern recognition, relationship building, storytelling, and transformation narratives to ensure their teams are future-proofed.

Tractors, machinery, and precision technology have helped humans excel and amplify our potential across industries - from farms to factories - while boosting our productivity exponentially. We stand at the dawn of an era of artificial intelligence which will help us accomplish the same with creative work. We need to be mindful that just as physical and routine work has been impacted by technological advancement and labour saving machinery, so will knowledge work, and as it does, one side of the brain will be more commoditised than the other. Machine learning excels at logic, sequence, mathematics and data science (left brain thinking), but still plays an augmenting role in creativity, innovation, synthesis, and storytelling (right brain thinking). With AI helping us excel at the process and limiting our human data drudgery, we can dedicate our strategic selves toward optimising creative output, no matter whether this is through data visualisation, foresight or silo integration which enable teams to get on with creative hacks.

This transformation journey begins with placing our leaders’ creative potential at the centre of humanity’s cognitive response. When their creativity is compounded by technological prowess, we can create a more hopeful, inspiring and sustainable future - one that started with a creative idea that was nurtured, led, and invested in. This creative renaissance awaits those willing to pen its narrative.

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ING Bank - Trend Report, Research and Media Appearances

A decade’s worth of technological advancement and skills evolution is being compressed into 2020 due to COVID-19. The virus has unleashed a global ‘future of work’ experiment on us all and businesses have had to adapt at exponential speeds. Download this report we co-wrote and researched for ING on The Future of Work Beyond COVID-19.

Evidence shows that there is a Second Renaissance emerging, filled with new opportunities ready for the taking. The ING report we co-wrote and researched uncovers key workplace trends and in-demand jobs and skills to help Australians prepare for – and create – a better future.

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Will employees return to expensive and centrally located offices or will we continue to work virtually? How will training and development be delivered, and how do we replicate the success of face to face meetings in the digital world? What is certain is that something different is emerging from this pandemic and that values and behaviours are evolving.

Looking at our current circumstances, there are many questions about the world we live in – from what constitutes ‘work’, to modern family life and what ‘essential’ work or services look like. The jobs, cognitive thinking and skills that will be most valuable have and will continue to change - in our scenario planning & research commissioned by ING* shows that Australians are anxious about their future career prospects.

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What do you think? What does the future of content marketing and thought leadership hold? Feel free to add your reflections in the comment section below, or reach out to book an Exploration Session over a virtual coffee to see how we can amplify your brand's signal in a world of digital noise and uncertainty. 


Anders Sörman-Nilsson (EMBA / LLB) is a futurist and the founder of the Sydney-based think tank and trend analysis firm - Thinque, which provides data-based research, foresight and thought leadership assets for global brands across 4 continents. His vision is to disseminate ‘avant-garde ideas which expand minds and inspire a change of heart’, and clients like ING, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, McKinsey, Jaguar Land Rover, MINI, Rugby New Zealand, and Lego trust his future guidance. He is an awarded keynote speaker who helps leaders decode trends, decipher what’s next and turn provocative questions into proactive answers. He has published 3 books including ‘Aftershock’ (2020), ‘Seamless’ (2017) and ‘Digilogue’ (2013), is a member of TEDGlobal, and was nominated to the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders in 2019. His futurist thinking has been shared by the Wall Street Journal, Financial Review, Monocle, BBC, Esquire and ABC TV.

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