What the Future Looks Like

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As the COVID-19 crisis has upended our lives, we have become accustomed to operating in a fog of uncertainty. People are unsure of what might happen — both personally or professionally — tomorrow, much less next week, next month, or when fall arrives. The only certainty: Some things that have stopped may never come back, while other pre-crisis activities may resume in somewhat altered form.

For our latest report, our team asked members of the innovation community and futurists to forecast what our "new normal" might be. Respondents discussed what aspects of life before the crisis they think will return, and which aspects of the world will be permanently altered. They also shared some of the things that are keeping them up at night, and what lessons their organizations have learned from the pandemic that will impact their scenario planning activities in the future.

This report features downloadable slides with our survey data, selections from interviews with futurists, and multimedia components to help guide you through this challenging time — and to hone your own vision of what the future will look like.

This report was produced by Innovation Leader, with support from Planbox.

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Sample Insights 



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Q. What have you stopped doing in your personal life and are unlikely to start again?

“Spending time with friends I did not really care for.”

“Randomly touching people, removing a hair, fuzz, etc….”

“Haircuts at barbers (my spouse turns out to be awesome at it)!”



Q. What are something you have stopped doing in your personal life because of the crisis?

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Q. What have you stopped professionally and are unlikely to start again?

“We stopped an assumption that you need to be in the office to be collaborative.”

“Signing paper documents.”

“Catching a flight for a single meeting.”


Report Contents 

  •  Introduction: There are Signals to Interpret
  •  Quantitative and Qualitative Data on Personal Life Changes
  •  Viewpoint: Lauren Xandra, National Research Group
  •  Viewpoint: Steven Chase, Chase Intel
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Data on Work Life Changes
  •  Viewpoint: Thornton May, Digital Value Institute
  •  What's Keeping You Up at Night?
  •  Viewpoint: Juan Enriquez, Excel Venture Management
  •  Quantitative and Qualitative Data on Scenario Planning
  •  Viewpoint: Matt Ranen, Scenario Planning Consultant
  •  Impacts of the Crisis on Future Scenario Planning
  •  Viewpoint: Dennis Smith, Applied Physics Lab
  •  "Batten Down the Hatches and Innovate," by Ludwig Melik of Planbox


Most Recent Interview

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The Rise of ‘Conferencing Competence’ and the Decline of Fancy Footwear

2020-07-13T14:35:00+01:00By

Thornton May contends that many leaders — and many organizations — are moving too slowly in responding to the dramatic changes that 2020 has brought. More insights inside…

From our Sponsor, Planbox

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Batten Down the Hatches and Innovate

2020-06-15T16:00:00+01:00By Ludwig Melik, Planbox

Leaders navigating the uncertain seas of innovation are a lot like sailors preparing to brave a long journey. Planbox offers tips on preparing for a storm ahead. 

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What Comes Back and When? Exploring Life After COVID-19

2020-06-30T10:00:00+01:00By , Additional Reporting by Molli DeRosa

What’s changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic? What’s likely to come back? And when? Innovation Leader’s ”What the Future Looks Like” report seeks to answer that question.

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The Three Crises Caused by COVID-19 — and How to Respond

2020-06-19T18:02:00+01:00By ,

Futurist Steve Brown sees the current pandemic as three overlapping crises — each requiring a different response. See how innovation plays into the solution…