Over the last decade I have worked with several organisations on analysing future trends and their potential impact on long-term business planning. Having predominantly contracted with not-for-profits I have enjoyed branching out into the commercial sector – in this case with Touch Design, a global packaging innovation agency. Touch are specialists in the FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) market, responsible for recognisable packaging from many major household brands.

One of the qualities that sets Touch apart is the way they have married deep-dive market research with a leading-edge innovation process. But fast-moving trends and an innovation-hungry marketplace can lead to half-interpretations of data. The FMCG environment doesn’t lend itself to hearing the slow-moving stories that are vital to long-term business planning.

Touch had the foresight to see this, and I was engaged to work with them on a client project to provide deeper, more complex analysis of the stories driving market trends.

I was able to help Touch unstitch a complex meshwork of stories that shape consumer preferences, ranging from the personal to the political. These narratives don’t trump the much more immediate, practical consumer preferences which shape FMCG innovation. But they are like tectonic plates; over time they are the forces that matter most.

So many organisations are undone by their failure to understand the meaning of the micro-trends they identify. Investing in the difficult work involved in sorting through the vast webs of complexity that actually shape our lives is vital for business intelligence and future-proofing. As a specialist in complexity, it’s right up my street!

“Matt is an incredible practitioner in the world of comms, partly because he has the ability to take really complex thinking and turn it into something that’s succinct and communicable, always getting to the heart of the matter. But maybe more importantly, he has a gift of being able to see more broadly beyond a brief, with the tact and diplomacy needed to know when it’s the right time to challenge the fundamental proposition, making everyone’s efforts more worthwhile as a result!

The speed at which he works and the integrity he works with is why he is always front of mind as a trusted collaborator for projects.”

James Harmer

Planning Director - Strategy & Innovation, Touch Design, UK