Consumer Futurist, strategic consultant and author of trends handbook The Next Big Thing
William Higham is a Consumer Futurist and author. He is also founder and CEO of strategic consultancy The Next Big Thing.
Higham predicts future consumer behaviour, writes strategy reports, runs management trend workshops and oversees primary research. He has worked with clients across Media (BBC to MTV), Technology (02 to AOL), Finance (RBS to HSBC), Food (Aga to Budweiser) and Advertising (Ogilvy to WPP).
Higham began his career in the entertainment industry: running marketing and communications campaigns at Sony, Virgin and Universal, for artists from Michael Jackson and David Gray to Motorhead and The Rolling Stones. He moved into research in 1999, working as a consultant for global trends network Breaking Trends on Levi’s and British Telecom. He set up The Next Big Thing in 2002. In 2010, he also worked as acting MD at renowned online research agency OnePoll.
The government is launching a new campaign this week to encourage better reading among the young: "Read On. Get On". Based on a report that links the inability to "read well" with potential joblessness later in life, it's the latest of many articles and reports bemoaning a decline in traditional reading skills among young people.
From festivals to social media, we're spending more time with our friends. A growing number of us enjoy a close group of mates that we consider to be a surrogate family: a friendship-family or 'Framily'. In some cases, this is taking over from where the traditional family unit may have left off: either in distance, as people move away from home, or emotionally.
In my last article, I identified a new young generation, the SAFFYs: Serious, Active, Forward-Facing Youth. They're very different to the "typical teen" parodied by Kevin the Teenager. Less frivolous, hedonistic, lazy and 'devil may care'. More anxious and responsible about the future, and more respectful of the past.
Prog style was a visual reflection of the music. An eclectic, over-the-top, mind-expanding mix of historical and future influences, it blended science fiction/fantasy, surrealist art and the penetrative psychiatry of R D Laing.
Prepare to guffaw now when I suggest what the next wave of music and culture looks set to be. Are you ready? I believe it's prog rock ... (Okay, perhaps the headline spoilt the surprise). Yes, progressive rock. The kipper tie or puffball skirt of music.
With the new year already well underway, everyone wants to know what the new trends will be. So, to offer a few insights, and to stop everyone asking me the same question at parties, I thought that I'd tell you about the three biggest consumer trends for 2012 and beyond.
Steampunk is the most famous new trend that you've never heard of. To those in the know it's been around for years. To me it feels like emo did in the mid-Noughties, just before it broke big: when you could see queues round the block but no-one in the media was talking about it.
What's happening now is an even bigger step. We are seeing the beginnings of a new social trend I've christened People Not Products. We're starting to care less about owning products than we did, as we begin to value other, 'human' things more.
04/10/2011 00:01 BST
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.