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The world’s first predictive anthropologist for insight
and innovation teams

To Decode the Structure of the Human Mind, One Must Study the Natural Structure of Language

Structural Anthropology, simply put, enables the study of culture (meanings, habits, and rituals shared among a group of people). While techniques like human-centered design do a great job of getting to shared habits and rituals, they struggle to understand and quantify implicit shared meanings that affect how human beings interpret issues and topics.  

By decoding what’s implicit, Structural Anthropology ensures that research and innovation teams are always asking the right questions and consequently solving the right problems

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It’s Not about the Novelty of the Method. It’s about the Novelty of the Insight.

Isn’t it about time that we reexamine the value of insights within our respective organizations? Isn’t it about time that we begin looking for ways to identify new ideas and opportunities unknown to us rather than simply look for new ways to measure things we already know?  

MotivBase will help you go beyond a study of the mere manifestations of a topic to decode the underlying beliefs shaping its future. Click here to explore the iceberg model of meaning and understand why anthropology is your secret weapon for innovation.  

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How Our Technology Captures Meaning

MotivBase uses contextual intelligence. 

More than 70% of the meanings human beings ascribe to topics and ideas in culture are implicit. That is, they are indirectly connected to a topic of interest. Which is why MotivBase does not just study the literal mentions of a topic. Instead, it uses a groundbreaking algorithm to study the broader context of discourse around a topic to identify, decode, and quantify the patterns of language use. Simply put, this means MotivBase allows you to see things that your competitors won’t. 

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Global Cultural Trends 2023: The Most Critical  Issues That Every Organization Must Pay Attention to in the Upcoming Year

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MotivBase Platform Demo

In this demo, we take you on a quick journey through our always-on platform as well as our Ph.D.-Concierge service, which delivers interactive ethnographic reports on-demand.

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Is Your Organization Truly Human-Centric? Or Does Your Organization Tend to Lead with the Solution Instead of the Consumer? Let Us Inspire You and Your Teams and Help You Drive Impactful Change in Your Organization.

industry

Chemicals

The future of chemicals: Consumer beliefs and areas of demand shaping the future of chemicals in American culture and society.

DEMAND DRIVER

Water Contamination

Consumers think the chemical byproducts of industrial agriculture and manufacturing are poisoning their (and the planet’s) water supply. They worry about toxic effluent from industrial sites that contaminates groundwater and municipal water systems and describe eutrophication from agricultural pesticide and fertilizer runoff as an ecological catastrophe.

This demand driver is developing at a rapid pace but is still very much in the early consensus stage of maturity, implying that it is far from affecting the perception of the mainstream populace. However, any chemicals manufacturer or company utilizing chemicals in its products should be paying attention to this demand driver to identify emerging threats (and opportunities) to its business.

Water contamination chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Air Pollution

Consumers think that chemical air pollution causes human disease and ozone depletion while contributing directly to global warming. They worry about ozone-depleting substances like chlorofluorocarbons, climate-change-spurring greenhouse gases (GHG), and carcinogenic airborne particulate matter.

This demand driver is exhibiting plenty of growth but is only now crossing over from the new ideas to the early consensus stage of maturity. Which means that the link between air pollution and the use of chemicals in industrial processes, product manufacturing, etc., is still a weak one and relevant to just a maximum of 15 million Americans.

Air pollution chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Ecological Menace

The Future of Chemicals = Human-caused and avoidable ecological disaster from the toxic gas and liquid byproducts of industry.

Consumers believe that Earth’s ecosystems exist in a miraculous balance that humans have disrupted with high volumes of unnatural chemicals. They feel that runoff chemicals from manufacturing and agriculture are irresponsibly dumped into natural areas, throwing ecosystems into irrevocable disarray.

This belief has a maximum relevancy of 22 million people in the U.S. over the next two years. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which growing in the short term.

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Solving Waste

The Future of Chemicals = Human-caused and avoidable ecological disaster from the toxic gas and liquid byproducts of industry.

Consumers believe that Earth’s ecosystems exist in a miraculous balance that humans have disrupted with high volumes of unnatural chemicals. They feel that runoff chemicals from manufacturing and agriculture are irresponsibly dumped into natural areas, throwing ecosystems into irrevocable disarray.

This belief has a maximum relevancy of 22 million people in the U.S. over the next two years. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which growing in the short term.

DEMAND DRIVER

Chemical Recycling

Consumers think chemicals could bring about a truly circular economy that keeps every molecule in circulation — even billions of metric tons of plastic. They’re arguing for more facilities for chemical recycling, learning whether chemical recycling truly repurposes plastic down to the individual molecule, and debating whether biodegradable plastics are chemically different enough to solve the problem of forever chemicals from plastic waste.

This demand driver has recently crossed over from the new ideas to the early consensus stage of maturity and continues to mature in the short term, showing us that the positive link between chemicals and waste reduction is a potential driving force for future growth. It’s also the largest demand driver in the context of this analysis.

Chemical recycling chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Repurposing Waste Products

Consumers think that chemical advances can help us make molecular building blocks for everyday goods out of renewable waste products. They talk about avoiding nonrenewable-resource-intensive end products like petrochemical-based virgin plastics and learn about efforts to instead use renewable, biomass waste products like palm-fruit bunches to make the chemicals necessary for a consumer packaged goods (CPG)-dependent industrial society.

This demand driver exhibits plenty of growth, further indicating the consumer’s openness to considering the positive benefits of chemicals in industry to drive sustainable outcomes. While far from mainstream acceptance, it shows us that there are plenty of opportunity spaces naturally emerging here in the context of chemicals.

Repurposing Waste Products Chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Cure & Cause of Disease

The Future of Chemicals = Miracle cures or causes of disease depending on the incentive structures facing Big Pharma.

Consumers believe that pharmaceutical chemicals can improve health outcomes or cause disease and death, depending on how they are developed, produced, and applied. They believe pharmaceutical incentives need to be aligned so chemicals are put to work improving human health instead of harming it.

This belief has a maximum relevancy of 30 million in the U.S. and used to be a culture that was volatile in the past but has now found stability. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing.

DEMAND DRIVER

Profit-Driven Practices

Consumers want Big Pharma to stop engaging in suspect practices that cause disease as much as cure it, all in the name of profit. They describe the addictive properties of painkillers like opiates while sharing articles about carcinogenic chemicals used in drug production, poor transparency in supply chains, and other unscrupulous practices that put profit over people.

This demand driver is in early consensus and will continue to grow, reaching almost 25 million people in the U.S. in the next 12–24 months. This is yet another space where the consumer’s skepticism can be clearly evidenced. Yet, it opens the door for manufacturers of chemicals and companies in healthcare to help reshape this narrative and address the threats that this culture poses.

Miracle cures chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Miracle Cures

Consumers see chemicals as the building blocks of new, cutting-edge drugs that improve quality of life for people worldwide. They talk about the sophisticated research of the pharma industry that leads to miracle cures like vaccines and drugs that treat scary diseases and hope for sustainable production of ample chemical-based drugs that make lives better.

This demand driver exhibits immense growth, further indicating the consumer’s openness to the use of chemicals to improve health outcomes and their quality of life. This is another space where the consumer sees practical, positive opportunities for the chemical industry’s role in society. While not yet in mainstream acceptance, it shows us that plenty of opportunity is naturally emerging here.

Miracle cures chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Future of Food

The Future of Chemicals = A new, sustainable agricultural revolution based in the lab.

Consumers believe that chemical advances are needed to undo industrial agriculture’s outsized contribution to climate change. They believe chemical technologies can help feed billions more efficiently and reduce reliance on traditional, GHG-intensive practices. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 30 million people in the U.S. and was once a volatile culture but has now found stability. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing.

DEMAND DRIVER

Cultured Proteins

Consumers discuss how the future of sustainable, methane-free proteins depends on chemical broths and brews that nourish cultured proteins. They’re talking about cultured lab meat and dairy, which they think will reduce the intense warming effects of the dairy and meat industries.

This is another demand driver that is growing and expected to reach almost 30 million people in the U.S. in the short term. As seen with other demand drivers, this too is pre-mainstream, yet its growth demonstrates ongoing interest and expanding knowledge among consumers in the context of chemicals.

Cultured proteins chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Solving Global Hunger

Consumers want to see creative uses of biobased chemicals in agriculture to reduce global hunger. They chat about making better, more sustainable pesticides and fertilizers to increase food yields and read about biobased chemical fertilizers.

This demand driver is also growing, further indicating the consumer’s openness to considering the positive benefits of chemicals in industry to drive socially beneficial outcomes.

Solving global hunger chart
M = million

Optimizing the Global Supply Chain

Achievement

Supporting the Global Workforce

Equality

Upcycling and Repurposing Waste

Ethics

Cleaner Energy Alternatives

Impact

Recyclable and Renewable Materials

Sustainability

Manufacturing Green Technology Sustainably

Accountability

Waste Disposal

Responsibility

Increasing Manufacturing Efficiency

Progress

Decarbonizing Extractive Industries

Reducing and Reusing Refuse

Global Solutions

Embracing Green Technology

industry

Oil & Gas

The future of oil and gas: Consumer beliefs and areas of demand shaping the future of oil and gas in American culture and society.

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Equitable Access

The Future of Oil & Gas = Reducing fuel costs and broadening supply networks to ensure equitable access to energy.

Consumers believe that access to fuels is a basic right and necessity in America. They believe that the quality of their lifestyle hinges on fair, affordable fuel prices and easy, equitable access to oil and gas, especially when alternative energy sources aren’t immediately accessible and viable. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 24 million in the U.S. and is exhibiting slower rates of growth over a five-year-plus time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are exhibiting growth.

DEMAND DRIVER

Rising Costs

Consumers feel they rely heavily on oil and gas to mediate access to everything and want their quality of life to not be so dependent on rising oil and gas costs. They read about short- and long-term disruptions that are driving up their cost of living (e.g., pandemic, inflation, Russia-Ukraine war, and governments’ plans to eliminate fossil fuels). They talk about canceling family trips and even worry about the rising costs of essential travel (e.g., commuting to work, accessing healthcare).

This demand driver is quite stagnant, growing negligibly over a longer time frame.

Rising costs chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Limited Supply

Consumers think that broadening the supply network of oil and gas will help ensure equitable access to energy, especially in low-income and/or rural areas. They read that pipelines are being shut down to reduce fossil fuel production, putting oil and gas in even higher demand and shortage as people panic-buy gasoline. They’re turning to social media and apps like GasBuddy to share and find out fuel availability and prices in their local gas stations.

This demand driver shows nominal growth over five-plus years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Rising costs chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Institutional Accountability

The Future of Oil & Gas = Institutions taking responsibility for the environment by making proactive and tangible changes to business practices, policy, and investments.

Consumers believe that big corporations, governments, and financial institutions, not civilians, hold the true power to propel real changes in the energy sector. They think oil and gas companies have a responsibility to commit to the transition to green energy, while governments need to cut the red tape around embracing new energy and technology. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 26 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a two-year-plus time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing at healthy  rates.

DEMAND DRIVER

Greenwashing

Consumers worry that oil and gas companies only appear to embrace a progressive climate stance without making meaningful changes to their business. They read that while almost all oil corporations now claim they are “going green” and targeting net-zero carbon emissions, only a few companies, such as ENI, have committed to an absolute CO2-reduction goal. They feel that many oil and gas majors are simply hedging their bets by diversifying into pro-climate activities without truly going green.

This demand driver is growing at a healthy rate over a two to three year time frame.

Greenwashing chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Green Initiatives

They feel banks and financial institutions have a responsibility to facilitate the growth of the green energy sector by shifting their investment strategies. They discuss wanting multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, and commercial banks to increase their investments in renewable energy. They feel hopeful to read that green bonds and loans from the global banking sector surpassed the value of fossil fuel financing for the first time in 2021.

This demand driver is growing at a healthy rate over two to three years, achieving more than 90% of the potential (reaching 24 million people) in this macro space of institutional accountability.

Green Initiatives chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Scalability of Renewable Energy

The Future of Oil & Gas = Accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy on a large scale to meet global demand.

Consumers believe that prioritizing the transition from carbon-heavy fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy can benefit both the earth’s and people’s well-being amid the climate crisis. However, they realize that renewable energy infrastructure hasn’t yet reached high scalability and thus still isn’t cost-effective enough to compete with oil and gas. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 16 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a five-year-plus time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, with one clearly growing at higher rates.

DEMAND DRIVER

Renewable Technologies

They recognize that the technology that supports renewable energy is not yet ready for nationwide adoption and want to see pragmatic, realistic messaging about the challenges. They read about the intermittency problem of renewables (e.g., regular solar panels generate electricity only on clear, sunny days), making it not yet sustainable enough to fuel a nation, but see small-scale alternatives as a stopgap for personal use (e.g., installing a few solar panels on the roof of a house).

This demand driver is growing nominally over a longer time frame and is still in the Early Consensus stage of maturity.

Renewable Technologies chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Green Transition

Consumers want to see fossil fuel corporations accelerate their transition to green energy so they can easily incorporate clean energy in their lives where possible. They read that renewable solutions (e.g., solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal power) can provide energy without the planet-warming effects of fossil fuels but learn that only a fraction of the potential renewable energy is being utilized (e.g., only 0.01% of the world’s solar potential and 0.16% of wind potential).

This demand driver is growing over a longer time frame (five-plus years).

Green transition chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Ensuring Environmental & Social Sustainability

The Future of Oil & Gas = Optimizing fossil fuel usage to ensure both environmental and social sustainability.

Consumers believe that any type of energy can benefit or harm the environment and people, depending on how it’s used and regulated. They worry that “renewable” doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable, and that fossil fuel use can be optimized to better meet environmental and social sustainability needs. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 17 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a five-year-plus time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing at very low rates.

DEMAND DRIVER

Decarbonization

Consumers are skeptical about renewables being truly sustainable and think tackling the pollution caused by fossil fuels is a quicker way to fight climate change. They read that large hydropower dams can disrupt river ecosystems and surrounding communities, while biomass energy like corn-based ethanol competes with the food market and supports harmful farming practices that can cause environmental hazards like toxic algae blooms. Thus, they’re looking into solutions to reduce GHG emissions via technologies like carbon capture and eco-friendly initiatives like carbon offsetting.

This demand driver is quite stagnant, growing negligibly over a longer time frame.

Decarbonization chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Economic Reliance on Fossil Fuels

Consumers feel that the fossil fuel business creates jobs and taxes, and they worry renewables won’t find support in states and communities that rely on income from oil and gas. They read that across the United States, dozens of state and local budgets depend heavily on tax revenue from oil and gas to fund hospitals, schools, and other public services, while solar and wind industries don’t generate as much tax revenue and lucrative jobs.

This demand driver is quite stagnant, growing negligibly over a longer time frame.

Economic reliance on fossil fuels chart
M = million

Optimizing the Global Supply Chain

Achievement

Supporting the Global Workforce

Equality

Upcycling and Repurposing Waste

Ethics

Cleaner Energy Alternatives

Impact

Recyclable and Renewable Materials

Sustainability

Manufacturing Green Technology Sustainably

Accountability

Waste Disposal

Responsibility

Increasing Manufacturing Efficiency

Progress

Decarbonizing Extractive Industries

Reducing and Reusing Refuse

Global Solutions

Embracing Green Technology

industry

CPG

The future of CPG: Consumer beliefs and areas of demand shaping expectations for CPG in America.

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Socially Conscious Consumption

The Future of CPG = Showing brands of all sizes that ethical practices should matter, even for their bottom line.

Consumers believe that voting with their wallet is the best tool to force companies to be more ethical throughout their supply chain. They support socially conscious companies that embrace genuine diversity, inclusion, and fair play. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 46.2 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a two-to-three-year time frame.

Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing.

DEMAND DRIVER

Transparent Supply Chains

Consumers want to support companies that are transparent about their supply chains to avoid unethical labor practices. They mention fast-fashion products, which they read are often subcontracted to networks of sweatshops employing underpaid and underage workers, and animal testing for cosmetics in places like China, where they understand laws can be more permissive. They share their eagerness to support brands committed to eradicating these practices, such as Girlfriend Collective, whose clothes are stamped by the SA8000 fair labor certification, and Pacifica Beauty, whose products are certified vegan.

This demand driver is expected to grow in the next two to three years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Transparent supply chains chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Social Justice Brands

Consumers want to support social justice directly by buying from minority-owned businesses. Rather than send their money to a “faceless corporation” run by white men, they’re excited to easily support small BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color)- and women-owned brands through online marketplaces.

This demand driver is expected to grow in the next two to three years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Social justice brands chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Cyclical Good

The Future of CPG = Reducing environmental impact by opting for biodegradable raw materials and reusing secondhand goods.

Consumers believe that a cyclical economic model that emphasizes reusability over replaceability is more sustainable than the single-use, throwaway culture of traditional consumerism. Furthermore, they think circularity is becoming an increasingly urgent demand as global problems like pollution and climate change worsen. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 41.9 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a three-to-four-year time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing at healthy rates.

DEMAND DRIVER

Reusing and Thrifting

Consumers want to reuse goods instead of throwing them away to create a more circular economy. They explore local options to reduce the production and transport costs of the goods they buy, such as buying high-quality secondhand goods off local classifieds (e.g., print or online, such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace) or from thrift shops.

This demand driver is growing at healthy rate over a three-to-four-year time frame. It is still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Reusing and thrifting chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Biodegradable Packaging

Consumers want to ensure that the materials used to make, package, and deliver CPG break down naturally without harming the earth. To cut their impact on pollution and waste, they talk about green products packaged in eco-friendly materials like corrugated cardboard or plant-based options like cellulose, cornstarch, and mycelium (mushroom roots), which they understand can even be composted at home. They also talk about easily biodegradable materials for the products themselves, such as drinking straws made from paper rather than plastic.

This demand driver is growing at a healthy rate over three to four years.  It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Biodegradable packaging chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Life. Simplified.

The Future of CPG = Eliminating mundane concerns and opening up the mental space to focus and breathe.

Consumers believe that the products they buy should make their lives easier by taking the cognitive load off mundane tasks and allowing them to focus more efficiently on the things that matter. They think minimizing the clutter in their lives will open space to more efficiently pursue the interests, hobbies, goals, etc. that are most important to them. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 95.6 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a two-to-three-year time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, one of which is clearly growing at a higher rate.

DEMAND DRIVER

Removing Clutter

Consumers want to eliminate physical clutter from their lives to cut mental distractions. They talk about donating the clothes they rarely wear and slimming down their wardrobe to a set of durable, high-quality basic items they can mix and match for any occasion. This frees up space in their closets, giving them more mental bandwidth to take a deep breath and focus. 

This demand driver shows strong growth over the next two to three years and is predicted to become increasingly relevant to mainstream consumers.

Removing clutter chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Embracing Technologies

Consumers are adopting smart tech to streamline daily chores and save mental energy for more important things. They discuss pairing their smartphones with smart home devices, such as a refrigerator or floor cleaner, which lets them fully automate tasks like vacuuming, and even helps them compile shopping lists and place online grocery orders for delivery. Similarly, to take everyday-essentials shopping off their mind, they chat about getting automated subscription services for products like toilet paper (e.g., Who Gives a Arap) and laundry soap (e.g., Cleancult) from Amazon.

This demand driver shows strong growth over the next two to three years and is predicted to become increasingly relevant to mainstream consumers.

Embracing technologies chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Authenticity

The Future of CPG = Creating a more meaningful and fulfilling relationship with the things one buys.

Consumers believe that authenticity means high-quality, small-batch items that only the exclusive circles of those “in the know” can fully appreciate. They think authentic goods enable them to forge a more meaningful and fulfilling relationship with their belongings and escape the feeling of being a mindless “consumer” of mass-produced “products.”

This belief has a maximum relevancy of 57.9 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a one-to-two-year time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing at very low rates.

DEMAND DRIVER

Exclusive Collections

Consumers want authentic collectibles to access exclusive circles of connoisseurs and collectors. They mention following niche influencers within their realm of expertise (e.g., sneakers, vintage video games) and share articles about how to start buying and selling the most in-demand items among other enthusiasts — like 1980s Air Jordans and Stan Smiths sneakers or the latest limited run of Yeezy footwear.

This demand driver is still niche but is expected to grow over the next one to two years. 

Exclusive collections chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Traditional Techniques

Consumers crave the authenticity of locally made products crafted by artisans committed to reproducing traditional techniques. They chat about hitting farmers’ markets and food fairs to find small-batch ciders fermented from local apples by independent craft brewers. They also mention high-quality coffees blended by local artisans versed in the traditional drum-roasting method, which they read develops subtle aromas and flavors in the coffee bean better than industrial, mass-production techniques like hot-air roasting.

This demand driver shows rapid growth over the next one to two years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Economic reliance on fossil fuels chart
M = million

Optimizing the Global Supply Chain

Achievement

Supporting the Global Workforce

Equality

Upcycling and Repurposing Waste

Ethics

Cleaner Energy Alternatives

Impact

Recyclable and Renewable Materials

Sustainability

Manufacturing Green Technology Sustainably

Accountability

Waste Disposal

Responsibility

Increasing Manufacturing Efficiency

Progress

Decarbonizing Extractive Industries

Reducing and Reusing Refuse

Global Solutions

Embracing Green Technology

industry

Utilities

The future of utilities: Consumer beliefs and areas of demand shaping expectations for utilities in America.

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Socially Conscious Consumption

The Future of Utilities = Securing personal access to utilities to provide for themselves and their families.

Consumers believe that the current utility infrastructure isn’t worthy of their trust, and they need to take matters into their own hands to ensure they have consistent access to the energy they need. They see this as a failure of the current power system. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 84.7 million people in the U.S. and is growing rapidly over a one-to-two-year time frame.

Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing.

DEMAND DRIVER

Emergency Management

Consumers want backup generators, power storage devices, and other ways to protect themselves during an emergency because they don’t trust the utilities to provide for them in times of need. E.g., they have been left high and dry before (i.e., brownouts, major blackouts), so they’re looking into energy storage, small rooftop solar arrays, gas generators, woodstoves, and gas appliances to reduce their reliance on electrical utility companies.  

This demand driver is expected to grow rapidly in the next one to two years and is predicted to become increasingly relevant to mainstream consumers.

Emergency management chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Cheap Energy

Consumers discuss generating their own energy to break free of utility companies’ “gouging.” They don’t want to continue to pay a premium on energy from monopolistic utility companies and are trying to capture wind and solar energy for inexpensive energy free from corporate greed. Some hope to sell the green energy they generate back to the grid for extra wiggle room in their household budgets.

This demand driver is expected to grow rapidly in the next one to two years and is predicted to become increasingly relevant to mainstream consumers.

Cheap energy chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Urban–Rural Divide

The Future of Utilities = Seeking utility services tailored to the energy needs of one’s community, large or small.

Consumers believe that they deserve tailor-made utilities offerings that reflect the specific needs of their community, whether a densely populated city center or a sprawling rural region. They feel that a nationally oriented, one-size-fits-all approach to energy utilities is not affordable or sustainable. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 46 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a one-to-two-year time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing at healthy rates.

DEMAND DRIVER

Unique Solutions

Consumers want utility providers to consider unique, localized needs, instead of shoehorning them into ineffective one-size-fits-all service plans and infrastructure. Those living in remote locales want utility companies to expand and strengthen rural infrastructure, while urbanites discuss the need for less expensive cooling solutions for heat islands.

This demand driver shows healthy growth over one to two years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Unique solutions chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Local Power Generation

Consumers think a bottom-up, decentralized power grid would reduce the need to source and transport energy from far-off locales, improving efficiency. People increasingly think it’s inefficient to ship energy produced on their doorstep to other regions. They’re discussing innovations that allow the generation of readily available power in dense urban regions (e.g., solar panels on building roofs, hydropower plants) and rural areas (e.g., solar farms, wind farms).

This demand driver is growing at a healthy rate over one to two years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Local power generation chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Sustainable Efficiency

The Future of Utilities = Improving the efficiency of home energy use to maximize the utility of every kilowatt.

Consumers believe that sustainable energy solutions are more cost-effective and -efficient than nonrenewable energy. They believe that once sustainable energy becomes widely available, it’ll offer the best bang for their buck. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 52.3 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a one-to-two-year time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, one of which is clearly growing at a higher rate.

DEMAND DRIVER

Energy Efficiency

Consumers think sustainable-energy technologies distribute utilities among households in their community more efficiently. They think that energy-efficient fixtures and appliances will help conserve more energy communitywide. Consumers also want incentives to discourage excessive power use during peak hours (e.g., cheaper rates during nonpeak hours) and to help make their homes more energy-efficient or powered by green energy (i.e., government subsidies, broad implementation of smart meters).

This demand driver is growing at health rate over one to two years.  It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Energy efficiency chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Green Infrastructure

Consumers want utility companies to take responsibility for improving infrastructure and coordinating the interaction between publicly and privately generated green power. They are concerned that urban utility infrastructure won’t handle the influx of personal electric vehicles (EVs) without efficient management and monitoring of green energy utilities (i.e., smart metering) to ensure every renewable kilowatt is used well.

This demand driver shows strong growth over the next one to two years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Green infrastructure chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Stopgaps

The Future of Utilities = Searching for the most eco-friendly energy options without sacrificing consistency of access or quality of life.

Consumers believe that nonrenewable energy is required to protect access to consistent utilities because utility companies are transitioning to green energy too slowly. They’re pragmatically looking at the eco-friendly options available, but they’re not willing to sacrifice their quality of life or power. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 74.2 million people in the US and is exhibiting growth over a 1–2-year time frame. Within this culture there are two drivers of demand, both of which are exhibiting very low growth rates.

DEMAND DRIVER

Deregulated Markets

Consumers want governing bodies to help create incentives and break up monopolies to force competition and encourage faster adoption of green energy among utility providers. They discuss how paving the way for a surge in cutting-edge, smaller-scale green energy producers (e.g., wind, solar, geothermal) could force larger utility companies to develop more sustainable energy sources (e.g., via corporate partnerships or healthy competition).

This demand driver is growing at a nominal rate over one to two years. It is still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Deregulated markets chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Nonrenewable Alternatives

Consumers embrace advances that make nonrenewable energy cleaner as a stopgap until green infrastructure catches up. They are sharing articles about the barriers that policymakers and utility companies will have to clear before green energy will make up most consumers’ household utilities and are concerned this will be too slow for the planet. In the meantime, they’re optimistic about innovations with low emissions or high-efficiency nonrenewables (i.e., nuclear, hydrogen, diesel) as well as carbon capture technologies.

This demand driver shows strong growth over the next one to two years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Nonrenewable alternatives chart
M = million

Optimizing the Global Supply Chain

Achievement

Supporting the Global Workforce

Equality

Upcycling and Repurposing Waste

Ethics

Cleaner Energy Alternatives

Impact

Recyclable and Renewable Materials

Sustainability

Manufacturing Green Technology Sustainably

Accountability

Waste Disposal

Responsibility

Increasing Manufacturing Efficiency

Progress

Decarbonizing Extractive Industries

Reducing and Reusing Refuse

Global Solutions

Embracing Green Technology

industry

Industrials

The future of industrials: Consumer beliefs and areas of demand shaping expectations for industrials and manufacturing in America.

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Reducing and Reusing Refuse

The Future of Industrials/Manufacturing = Switching to cyclical processes rather than mitigation and compensation techniques.

Consumers believe that industrial manufacturing should evolve into a cyclical process, reducing and repurposing waste byproducts rather than mitigating them. They believe we need to move away from thinking of manufacturing as a chain with raw materials on one end and inevitable waste on the other. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 29.1 million people in the U.S. It is still relatively niche and is growing nominally over a five-year-plus time frame.

Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing.

DEMAND DRIVER

Waste Disposal

Consumers want manufacturers to take accountability for their waste by reducing pollutants and material waste and adopting ecologically responsible programs for handling industrial byproducts. They discuss the ecological harms of disposing of toxic solid and liquid waste (e.g., chemical runoff, wastewater, scrap metal, plastics) and how companies can adopt green disposal initiatives that emphasize recyclable and biodegradable materials, green and nontoxic chemicals, and an overall reduction of nonrecyclable waste.

This demand driver shows nominal growth in the next five-plus years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Waste disposal chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Upcycling and Repurposing Waste

Consumers discuss the advantages of transitioning from a linear to a circular economy that upcycles and repurposes manufacturing waste and byproducts. They read about some textile manufacturers using reclaimed wastewater to produce denim, and they discuss the prospects of turning residual biomass from manufacturing and agriculture into biofuel for industrial use.

This demand driver shows nominal growth in the next five-plus years. It is still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.  

Upcycling and repurposing waste chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Decarbonizing Extractive Industries

The Future of Industrials/Manufacturing = Moving away from industrial dependence on extraction and refining of raw materials.

Consumers believe that manufacturing industries are unnecessarily dependent on extracting and processing raw materials, and that they have a responsibility to adopt less carbon-intensive practices and greener energy sources due to their outsized impact on the planet.

This belief has a maximum relevancy of 39.8 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a five-year-plus time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing at health rates.

DEMAND DRIVER

Cleaner Energy Alternatives

Consumers want manufacturers to take up green energy sources to offset damaging emissions from the extraction and processing of raw materials.  They’re interested in the role of hydrogen to produce energy for making steel (green steel) and in the scalability of biofuels to replace fossil fuels in certain manufacturing processes.

This demand driver shows healthy growth in the next five-plus years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.  

Cleaner energy alternatives chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Recyclable and Renewable Materials

Consumers support industrial manufacturers’ switching to recycled, recyclable, and renewable materials to cut raw extraction out of manufacturing. They want more investment in recycled plastics instead of virgin plastics and the development of bioplastics made from biomass (e.g., corn, seaweed) as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics.

This demand driver add shows steady growth in the next five-plus years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.  

Recyclable and renewable materials chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Embracing Green Technology

The Future of Industrials/Manufacturing = Reimagining the technology of the future for the industry of the past.

Consumers believe that manufacturers should invest in new technology for green energy production to break away from traditional carbon-intensive industry practices and make sustainability the new norm. This belief has a maximum relevancy of 52.1 million people in the U.S. and is growing over a one-to-to-year time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, one of which one is clearly growing at higher rates.

DEMAND DRIVER

Increasing Manufacturing Efficiency

Consumers discuss how technological advances can speed up the decarbonization of manufacturing through autonomous green energy production and increased industrial efficiency using data science. They discuss advances in the capacity and scalability of clean technology, such solar power, hydrogen fuel cells, small modular (nuclear) reactors (SMRs), and carbon-capture technology. They discuss how new software, digital technology, and predictive AI (enterprise resource planning, Industry 4.0) can reduce energy inefficiencies in shipping, labor, and warehouse management. 

This demand driver shows steady growth over one to two years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Increasing manufacturing efficiency chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Manufacturing Green Technology Sustainably

Consumers think that green technology can be produced more sustainably and that eco-conscious producers need to focus as much on the carbon footprint of manufacturers as on that of consumers. E.g., they discuss how manufacturing some green consumer technology (lithium-ion batteries for EVs, semiconductors) still relies on mining and rare earth metals, while large scale production of solar panels and biomass for biofuels remains fossil fuel intensive.

This demand driver shows steady growth over the next one to two years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity, implying that the consumer still lacks consistent knowledge in this space.

Manufacturing green technology sustainably chart
M = million

IMPLICIT BELIEF

Global Solutions

The Future of Industrials/Manufacturing = Managing global industry for cost, efficiency, and sustainability.

Consumers believe that all modern industry is inextricably bound up in a global network, so the supply chain needs to be properly managed to increase efficiency, cut costs, and promote sustainability.

This belief has a maximum relevancy of 53.3 million people in the U.S. and growing over a one-to-two-year time frame. Within this culture are two drivers of demand, both of which are growing at very low rates.

DEMAND DRIVER

Optimizing the Global Supply Chain

Consumers want to see efforts to optimize global manufacturing networks of materials, labor, and distribution to lower costs and increase sustainability. They read how efficient supply management can reduce emissions by shortening time and distance for sourcing and transporting raw materials and manufactured goods.

This demand driver is growing at a healthy rate over one to two years. It’s still in the early consensus zone of maturity but predicted to almost hit mainstream acceptance in this time frame.

Optimizing the global supply chain chart
M = million

DEMAND DRIVER

Supporting the Global Workforce

Consumers want corporations to adopt practices that facilitate the stability of the global workforce while still supporting local economies. They discuss how a smarter allocation of workers and resources globally in certain industries (e.g., tech, automotive) can avoid manufacturing shortages and delays while also supporting a homegrown workforce. 

This demand driver is niche and shows low growth over the next one to two years. 

Supporting the global workforce chart
M = million

Optimizing the Global Supply Chain

Achievement

Supporting the Global Workforce

Equality

Upcycling and Repurposing Waste

Ethics

Cleaner Energy Alternatives

Impact

Recyclable and Renewable Materials

Sustainability

Manufacturing Green Technology Sustainably

Accountability

Waste Disposal

Responsibility

Increasing Manufacturing Efficiency

Progress

Decarbonizing Extractive Industries

Reducing and Reusing Refuse

Global Solutions

Embracing Green Technology

Wind turbines in the meadow

Why Meaning Matters

In this keynote, our EVP and cultural anthropologist Ujwal Arkalgud introduces the notion of “meaning” and explains why it is so critical to the corporate innovation and foresight function. Delivered in November 2021, this talk continues to resonate with insights and innovation leaders as organizations struggle to get ahead of the fast-changing cultural, social, and economic landscape.