Not surprisingly, we’ve found that many of our clients don’t just want to hire us for our service design skills; they also want our help in understanding the future, so that they can build a more proactive strategy for user engagement.
Beginning in 2015, we started a multi-year partnership with Visit Sweden to deliver precisely these kinds of strategic insights. Visit Sweden is the country’s national tourism organization—a public-private venture jointly funded by Sweden’s Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation and by the Swedish travel industry. Their mandate is to market Sweden as a travel destination to the world.
Visit Sweden’s initial need was for a series of actionable insights into the future of travel for their FutureWatch seminar. This event is held each year for Sweden’s many regional destination marketing organisations (RDMOs), to help them navigate a crowded and competitive market. We began our work with a series of workshops with Visit Sweden — connecting wider technosocial trends to specific strategic opportunities for marketing to the modern tourist. The result was a trend report and a well-received presentation by Äventyret at FutureWatch in November 2015 — and a road show, with versions of the presentation held around the country in front of hundreds of people.
Our FutureWatch report differed from previous years in that we did not go looking for narrow trends limited to the travel industry. Instead, we first focused on identifying broad trends in society and technology, and then explored how each of these will affect travel behavior. For example, ground transportation will soon be revolutionized by the twin innovations of autonomous driving and electric cars; society is fast becoming cashless; just a few platform ecosystems now mediate a majority of our time spent online… In each case, we asked: How are Sweden’s RDMOs best positioned to exploit these inevitable trends? Where are they most at risk?