Our Applied Futures philosophy

We know our clients are often plugged into large amounts of trend data and reports, and don’t always know how to act upon it strategically, especially in times of industry change. As a result, trends work is often criticised for being too distant, too theoretical and ultimately too difficult to apply commercially.

At Join the Dots, we strive to help our clients gain clarity and thrive in times of change by applying trends in a way that helps them proactively plan for the future.


What is Applied Futures?

Applied Futures brings future trends into the now. By incorporating the consumer perspective, we root seemingly abstract ideas in consumer psychology and real human need.

We do this so our clients can make sense of far future themes in a way that can be applied to their business challenges now.

We draw on a range of creative methodologies to produce and deliver our thinking, with the aim of first immersing you in possible futures then helping you navigate them in the most intelligent way.


How do we use it?

We use Applied Futures to help brands navigate rapidly changing consumer landscapes via better understanding and practically applying trends. Specifically we:

  • Develop a clear and well-evidenced vision of the future to inform strategic planning
  • Future-proof business activities by understanding change and effectively applying foresight into planning cycles and R&D processes
  • Gain competitive advantage by identifying new opportunity areas from emergent consumer needs and behaviours


How can it be applied?

Applied Futures can be applied to a variety of commercial challenges, either along side primary research or as a stand along product. It can be used for:

Examples of our work in Applied Futures

Example: Understanding the changing influencer landscape across Europe

Driven by a desire to forge a clear strategy amongst unprecedented changes in the societal, technological and political landscape, our client asked us to explore the arena of influence in relation to consumer purchasing decisions.

Our research needed to understand the changing influencer landscape, and leverage insights to offer commercial recommendations on how to engage consumers now and in the future.

To ensure a comprehensive and multifaceted picture, we combined trends mapping, leading-edge insight and expert views with qualitative and quantitative research.

The output was a concise and strategically orientated ‘influence bible’, offering different brands and teams clear commercial guidance tailored to their specific objectives.


Example: The future of home technology

A large financial services company wanted to understand the future of home technology. Specifically, they wanted to discover what opportunities there could be in IoT (the Internet of Things) and insurance products in the home.

We took a deep dive into the brief, combining a global desk research investigation of IoT innovations with our internal frameworks and leading-edge interviews to create an engaging, future facing picture of home technology.

Our analysis cumulated in a collaborative workshop with expert stakeholders where we identified and developed ideas. These ideas were taken forward into qualitative research to refine and development them, before rolling out to the business.


Example: Unlocking future audience opportunities

A global football club wanted to better engage female fans by developing a deeper understanding of their needs, values and behaviours.

Through a combination of trends research, social listening and semiotics, we took a deep dive into trends and drivers that were informing female engagement in the sector, helping us to identify clear opportunity areas to connect with female fans.

The output was clear commercial guidance around subject matter, tone of voice, imagery and channels that our client could harness to fully service this untapped audience.


Get in touch

Hopefully you now have an understanding of our work in Applied Futures. If you’re interested in hearing more or would like to chat to us about working together, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

Kelly McKnight – Head of Culture and Trends