William Higham


About Will Higham - Consumer Futurist, Author, Speaker and Founder, Next Big Thing:

Will Higham is a global authority on innovation and strategy. Will predicts how future customers are going to behave, and recommends the best strategies clients should use to reach them.

He’s the man who championed Strictly Come Dancing to the BBC, warned the drinks industry about the New Sobriety, and saw arrival of the Wellbeing Consumer a mile off.

His engaging and inspiring talks leave audiences excited to face the future: armed with new, smarter ways to handle tomorrow’s consumers; and an arsenal of opportunities for innovation-led growth. His keynote talks have inspired thousands globally: from conferences organized by the Financial Times and Harvard Business Review to corporate events for Walt Disney, Barclaycard and Primark.

Will runs strategic consultancy Next Big Thing, helping clients from Amazon to HSBC understand what their customers (and employees) will think, do, expect, demand and buy in future.

He wrote the first practical handbook for trend strategists: The Next Big Thing: Spotting and Forecasting Consumer Trends For Profit (Kogan Page, 2009), which has since been translated into five languages.

He’s been interviewed across media: BBC to Bloomberg TV, Fast Company to The Times. He presented a TV show for CNBC, and written for The Economist, Advertising Age and Huffington Post.

He’s taken part in academic programs like Cambridge University’s Open Innovation Forum and been a judge on panels such as WARC Innovation Awards and this year’s IoD Innovation Awards.

Will made his name in the Music industry. Working at Sony, Virgin and Universal, he marketed artists from Michael Jackson to The Rolling Stones. His fascination with music fans led him to the Research industry, as a consumer trends consultant for brands from Levis to BT; and later as managing director of research company OnePoll, whose clients include Kelloggs and Findus.

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What Will Higham Talks About: 

How to Appeal to Tomorrow’s Consumer
Once brands and advertisers drove the business agenda, but today consumers are increasingly taking charge. Aware of their power, they seek greater control over their purchasing, media behaviors. They are developing a whole new set of attitudes, expectations and needs.

Key take-away’s:

  • Discover what will motivate future customers and how best to appeal to them
  • Gain insights into a new consumer type that will be here for years to come
  • Actionable consumer insights to implement into marketing, communications and strategy plans

Future Proof Your Business: Create Products and Strategies to Appeal to Tomorrow’s Smart Consumer
Everything we create in business — from products to sales campaigns — succeeds or fails due to consumer demand. But how can you predict what that demand will be? Will Higham helps you take the guesswork out of planning, by identifying what the key needs, attitudes and behaviors of tomorrow’s Smart Consumer will be. 

Key take-away’s:

  • Gain practical insights into new customer needs that you can use straight away
  • Marketers will learn how to appeal to future consumers
  • CEO’s to better focus future company strategies
  • Product designers will gain insights into what consumers will want from their products.

Creating a Strong Innovation Culture: Developing Tomorrow’s Business Models for the New Smart Consumer
Innovation is increasingly being driven not by company needs but by those of the consumer. 

As part of your innovation program, this keynote offers emerging foresights on future consumer needs. Key trends and future thinking to inform and drive your business innovation in a fast changing market.

Key take-away’s:

  • Learn how tomorrow’s Smart Consumers will think, feel and behave
  • Gain the strategic clarity to develop a more effective market strategy
  • Prepare your services and products for the needs of the new Smart Consumer

Changing Fortunes: How You Can Make Sense Of – and Monetize – Consumer Change
We are living in turbulent times. Few industries — or parts of our lives — are safe from change. But change offers possibilities as well as threats. To help you anticipate and adapt your strategies to all these changes, global futurist and author Will Higham will take you on a tour of the emerging trends, drivers, ideas and developments shaping tomorrow’s world — and tomorrow’s new Smart Consumer — identifying the implications and opportunities for individuals, large and small firms, NGO’s and industry associations. 

Key take-away’s:

  • Learn about emerging global trends across sectors and the threats and opportunities they pose.
  • Gain profound insight into new consumer drivers to help you create more informed strategies.
  • Obtain practical action points that will immediately help ‘future proof’ your business.

Attract and Retain Tomorrow’s Employee: The Opportunities and Threats of New Employee Attitudes
Employee attitudes to work, schedules, hierarchies and rewards are changing. Technological change is driving individual empowerment. Traditional ways to attract and retain staff are failing. How can you please your employees while improving bottom line? This topic helps you understand how to get the best out of the new generation of ‘Smart Staff.’

Key take-away’s:

  • Better understand the new needs and drivers of your employees
  • Gain a road-map to improved workplace motivation and efficiency
  • Learn how to future-proof your hiring, retention & HR policy to secure motivated employees

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 Recent Publications

  • william higham future book - William Higham

Will has the unique skill of being able to identify those trends which are important and those which are just fads, then translating them into a commercial opportunity for your business.

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