How might we...
guide decision making and create a strategy that adapts to the changing trends in the future of work and roles of government, corporations, and philanthropic organizations?

The social and political events of 2020 demonstrated in no uncertain terms that our collective expectations are changing. That is true not just of each other, but also of our institutions, including governments and corporations. 

A global coffee chain wanted help identifying these expectations and how they might show up in the world. They engaged us in a research project, to dive into two streams of work: one to consider how COVID might impact the future of work (FoW) and another looking at the evolving roles and expectations citizens hold of governments, corporations, and philanthropic organizations.

With locations dotting every corner of the country, every American is a past, current, or prospective customer. That’s why the brand needed to gather deep insights into the thinking and views of every demographic, in an effort to address the desires of all Americans.

How We Did It

We paired secondary research, social media sentiment analysis, public polling, and subject matter expert interviews to dig into the questions the chain wanted answered. To dive into FoW, we looked at questions such as, “what does the future of work and future of industry look like?” and “what predictions can we make about how COVID might change those?” We also looked backwards, pulling on historical case studies to understand what happened in the past to inform our predictions for the future. 

For the second stream of work, we evaluated public opinion polling and interviewed practitioners in the field, to understand their expectations of different institutions — and whether those expectations were being met. We also drew on academic literature and case studies to uncover the theories of change these institutions use to drive their decision making.

To pull everything together, we did a lot of synthesis and insights work. We didn’t just list out our findings in a white paper; instead we worked with the visual communication folks on our team to create innovative ways of expressing and sharing the results with leadership, such as extrapolating math and number-heavy findings into easy-to-understand visuals.

The results
Understanding a changing society and building the foundation for evidence-based decisions.

This research filled key gaps in their portfolio of research, helping the coffee chain guide a number of strategic decisions. It enabled them to refine their business decision making engine to address and incorporate changing trends in the ecosystem alongside their other consumer trend information. 

With these findings, the chain gained a more complete picture of the impact that the pandemic will have on not just the business, but also critically, on their customer’s lives.

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