Sheila Moorcroft has over 20 years experience helping clients capitalise on change – identifying changes in their business environment, assessing the implications and responding effectively to them. As Research Director at Shaping Tomorrow she has completed many futures projects on topics as diverse as health care, telecommunications, innovation management, and premium products for clients in the public and private sectors. Sheila also writes a weekly Trend Alert to highlight changes that might affect a wide range of organisations.


3D Revolution Speeding Up

We first discussed 3D printing in 2008, highlighting potential applications, the increasing range of materials being used, and the growing complexity of products which could be printed. That progress continues creating both opportunities and challenges the impacts of which companies need to assess across their product ranges and supply chains.

2021-12-03T14:44:17-08:00August 15th, 2012|Categories: News, Trend Alert|Tags: , , , |

Cardboard’s Increasingly Diverse Future

Cookers, bikes, beds, tents, a school club, computers, vacuum cleaners, coat hangers - they are part of a growing range of new applications for cardboard, old and new. A combination of trends is enabling this growth: consumer expectations to reduce and reuse packaging continue to rise; new processes are enabling more effective cleaning of paper for re-use; emerging nations are focusing on frugal innovation and new products to support growing aspirations and local markets.

2021-12-03T14:42:04-08:00August 8th, 2012|Categories: Trend Alert|Tags: , , , , |

From Fixed to Flexible Lives

A major shift is underway from fixed to flexible lifestyles, from commute to communicate forms of consumption. The Millennials or Generation Y are at the heart of it, both by choice and necessity; but the impacts will be felt far wider as new technologies enable a more flexible, pick and mix approach to life and work.

Artificial Photosynthesis Powering Up

Photosynthesis is ubiquitous, but not easy – for humans. Although plants do it, humans find it more of a challenge: but we are making progress on a number of fronts. The potential long term is almost limitless supplies of low carbon energy; clean fuels for cars, planes and ships; and fundamental change to the nature of the global economy.

2021-12-03T11:27:54-08:00June 27th, 2012|Categories: Trend Alert|Tags: , , , |

Managing the Emotional Debate

Science has caused controversy for centuries. But scientific developments, such as addressing climate change, applications of biotechnology, and the use of stem cells or GM crops, and the resulting debates are becoming ever more central to our national economies and global wellbeing. Influencing those debates is, as a result, becoming more important to those on all sides of the arguments and those debates becoming ever more polarised; and protests increasingly violent. The greater part of the problem may not be public understanding of science, but rhetoric and values. Managing the emotional debate may be critical to future policy development and science based industries.

2021-12-03T10:32:31-08:00June 7th, 2012|Categories: Trend Alert|Tags: , , , , |

New Literacies Needed?

Increasingly, many Western societies face a ‘double whammy’: simultaneous high levels of youth unemployment and skills shortages. But it is not just formal and traditional skills that are needed; ‘new literacies’ from the digital to real world, verbal to visual, scientific and financial are being highlighted as critical to our futures. New literacies could be seen as little more than rebranding of old ideas, but in doing so it may focus attention and garner momentum for change and new solutions for our new economies.

Personal Delivery on the Rise

Collaborative consumption and peer to peer (P2P)systems are taking a new turn: collaborative delivery. P2P delivery sites put people in need of different items locally or in faraway places in touch with people who are willing to bring them. They provide access to much needed items to the recipient; new experiences and an opportunity to do a good deed to the deliverer; and make better use of journey related resources and carbon emissions.

2021-12-03T07:46:31-08:00May 23rd, 2012|Categories: Trend Alert|Tags: , , , |

A Coming Food Waste Revolution?

Food waste is a major and growing problem; it is also moving rapidly up policy, corporate and consumer agendas. Reducing food waste is a win: win solution several times over: saving the planet, people, resources and money. It may need something of a food waste revolution but the current combination of pressures, new technologies and new solutions may be enough to achieve it.

Social Media – Digital Recombinant DNA?

Social media has already fundamentally changed the way many of us live our lives or do business. In coming years its role in almost every aspect of public, private, political, commercial and community life is likely to grow; it could be seen as digital recombinant DNA, central to everything but changing and being changed, made up of millions of bits and bytes, with multiple roles, instructions and connections. This extended trend alert indicates some of the trends affecting the current development of social media, as a prelude to further discussions at a forthcoming foresight meeting in London; it does not claim to be comprehensive, but a jump off point.

2021-12-03T07:25:07-08:00May 9th, 2012|Categories: Collaborative Innovation, Trend Alert|Tags: , , , , , |

Dark Tourism Emergent

Two recent events – one a corruption tour, the other the opening of a new academic institute- appear to extend and change the nature of what has become known as ‘dark tourism’- an interest in death and the macabre. New technology will continue to expand the potential offer of dark tourism; it may also do for politics and corruption, what eco-tourism has done for awareness of the environment.

2021-12-03T07:05:17-08:00April 25th, 2012|Categories: Trend Alert|Tags: , , |

Open Access Tipping Point?

The arrival of eLife, a new open access journal, together with new science networking sites and new metrics to measure the impact of research publications may force the pace of change facing the business of scientific and academic publishing. We may be witnessing a tipping point in collaboration, faster access and new opportunities.

Resilience Rules

Western societies and the systems we depend on to make them function are becoming ever more complex. As a result, they are also becoming more vulnerable to catastrophic, systemic failure. As individuals, communities and societies we may, at the same time, be becoming less able to cope with such events as we lose basic skills, families are more scattered and communities less connected.

2021-12-02T18:14:37-08:00March 14th, 2012|Categories: Trend Alert|Tags: , , , , , |

Redefining Local Stores

Demand for food grown locally has become a major trend. But local food also includes rising concern about ‘food deserts’, areas where residents have no easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables; the closure of local shops; health inequalities and the obesity. Add in convenience, new technology, and a few entrepreneurs and the result is an emerging redefinition of local stores.

2021-12-02T18:14:28-08:00March 7th, 2012|Categories: Trend Alert|Tags: , , , |

Stem Cells Set to Deliver Medically and Financially?

Stem cells hold out enormous revolutionary promise in regenerative medicine. The array of potential applications continues to grow as research overcomes ever more hurdles from the sourcing of cells to the actual application processes. The teen years of the 21st century could be the decade that stem cells deliver on their promise.

2021-12-02T18:11:39-08:00February 22nd, 2012|Categories: Blog Archive|Tags: , , |