• Interview Christian Crews (Senior Manager, Kalypso)

    LEAD Speaker Christian Crews, Senior Manager, Kalypso, will be hosting an interactive session entitled “Connecting to your Future Consumer” on 7 October in Düsseldorf

    Can you tell us a bit about your background and your role?

    Currently I am the Foresight, Discovery & Ideation practice lead for Kalypso, a global innovation consulting firm. We help our clients fill, manage, and activate their innovation pipelines with proprietary points of view about the future that are connected to ideation, portfolio management, and commercialization.

    I have worked at the intersection of foresight, strategy, innovation, and design for the last 20 years, helping companies anticipate and shape the future. After earning my BA in English from the College of William and Mary I worked in retail marketing and merchandising for a few years. It was there that I realized that my mission needed to be helping organizations and leaders think differently about the future to respond to new competitive threats. That led me to a MS in Studies of the Future degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

    Why is diversity important for you?

    The future is composed of many elements, yet often organizations can develop an “official future” that blinds them to potential changes outside of their experience. Diversity is critical in combatting this group think and ensuring that the organization is seeing the future from different perspectives. I make sure that we have as much participation in client workshops as possible across age, gender, culture, orientation. Bringing different histories into the room allows for a richer set of potential futures from which to innovate.

    How important is diversity within your organization?

    The firm recently launched the Women’s Initiative to ensure that the leadership and client environment is supportive of all of our consultants. Kalypso is a LEAD sponsor and two of our partners have deep roots in the conference. In addition, as a firm with beginnings in innovation technology but moving into broader innovation strategy and operations, we need to ensure that our firm reflects the diversity of our clients.

    Tell us about your interactive session "Connecting to your Future Consumer" featured at the LEAD Conference "Diversity Drives Innovation".

    Developing breakthrough products, services, and experiences often requires seeing what others do not, and acting in uncertainty when others delay. Understanding the values, motivations, and behaviors of future consumers in enough time to be able to ideate, develop and commercialize new products is critical to success. Most consumer insights capabilities, however, can only provide a lens to current consumer behavior or 1-2 years out at most. Foresight can provide a longer term view, but the approach can be so broad that specific consumer insights are difficult to identify.

    My session at the conference will take a workshop approach to demonstrate to participants how to bring foresight and ethnography tools together to find unique insights into future consumer behavior, and act with confidence to develop new products in enough time to hit the market when demand arises.

    September, 2016