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The Set List: Trends and Insights for 2017 and Beyond

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Editor’s note: this blog is the first in a series discussing trends and insights into the world around us.

“The future is already here, it is just unevenly distributed.” – William Gibson

As William Gibson rightly pointed out, no one knows exactly how the world will develop in the coming years. What we do know is that the world is evolving—and rapidly at that.

As designers who plan cities, build towers, design environments, create experiences, optimise interactions and evoke brands, it’s important to us to study people behaviours and decode the trends that will reshape the future. We are a group of people who are curious about the world around us and understand that trends are of course not limited to just one industry but bleed into all sectors of business and society.

Consumers are changing and morphing their behaviours all the time, shedding products and services as fast as they are adopting them, making it difficult for businesses to generate any sort of loyalty. Some of these behaviours have been happening more and more often over time, becoming an unnoticeable social norm. While others will eventually have an impact that’s much greater than it may appear from the perspective of today. Add to that the advances in technology, science and big data, the future seems more uncertain than ever. How will these changes affect how people work, live and play in the future?

Changing our Perspectives

Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked for the breadcrumbs, read the tea leaves and turned over every stone in the hunt to create the perfect compilation of insights, innovations, ideas and inspiration. By casting the net outside our field of view to different sectors, communities and disciplines, we have challenged our own perspectives, looking beyond what is happening now and anticipating the responses to the changes that are to come. We sought out potential futures to help us stay ahead of the pace of culture. From this effort, the Gensler Insights Group was born.

The Set List is the result of our exploration and consists of a mix of macro and micro trends that we believe will inspire and inform companies’ future visions, strategies and experiences to meet the needs of tomorrow. Between now and the new year, we will share a sneak peek into a few of the trends that will shape the future. Some of these include:

  • New Kids on the Block
  • Content in Context
  • Unlearning
  • Instant Gratification

At the start of the New Year, we will examine each of these trends, sharing our insights and thoughts on why we believe these key trends will impact the future, launching a new topic each week. It's of importance to us to inspire people to engage in open dialogue about tomorrow’s world, today. If you’re curious like us and want to learn more about this future we’re uncovering, check out gensleron.com/thesetlist for more information, or join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #isthisthefuture.

Lara views shopping as both an art and a science. Her education in marketing and psychology combined with her love of boots, bags, and baubles, arms her with unique insight into retail and ethnographic trends. As the strategy director and a Firmwide regional Retail Practice Area Leader based in Gensler’s London office, she helps inform the design process through research, trend analysis, and her knowledge of brands and consumer needs. Contact her at lara_marrero@gensler.com.
Owain is the regional Retail Practice Area Leader and design director in Gensler’s London office. With a clear understanding that consumers see design as a single idea, not a series of separate elements, he encourages a seamless relationship between graphic design and environmental design to create complete retail experiences. His broad range of experience in environmental design covers both retail and commercial interiors and also branding exercises for high profile projects. Contact him at owain_roberts@gensler.com.