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William Higham

International business speaker and best-selling business author, William Higham, is an expert behavioural futurist.  He helps companies predict customer needs and to anticipate and prepare for change.

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International Business speaker, Will Higham, is a Behavioural Futurist and global authority on Innovation and Strategy. He predicts what customers and employees are going to think, do and demand in the future. Therefore, he can help clients – from Amazon to HSBC – identify the best strategies to reach them. Will has run popular strategic consultancy, Next Big Thing, for the last 20 years.  He is the man who warned the drinks industry of the New Sobriety; saw the Wellbeing Consumer coming a mile off; and championed Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing With The Stars) to the BBC.

Will wrote the first practical handbook for UK trend strategists: ‘The Next Big Thing: 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 has 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 Open Innovation Forum. He’s been on the judging panel of prestigious innovation awards for both WARC and The Institute of Directors.

By continually researching the latest shifts in consumer tastes, advances in technology, financial futures and changes in media and channel use, Will builds a picture of what the needs, expectations and behaviours of tomorrow’s consumer are likely to be. He then offers strategic and tactical advice on how to appeal to those needs. As a result he can reveal the key issues an organisation will face in the coming years: shifting audience composition to unlikely challenger brands, new purchase channels to evolving employee demands.


Will first made his name in the music industry. Working at Sony, Virgin and Universal, he promoted and marketed artists from Michael Jackson to The Rolling Stones. His fascination with music consumers led him to the research industry. He began as a trends consultant for brands from Levis to BT.  Subsequently Will took over as managing director of online research company OnePoll, with clients from Kelloggs to Findus. He launched Next Big Thing in 2002.

Behavioural Futurist business speaker

He is an engaging and inspiring speaker. His 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. Will’s keynote talks have inspired thousands globally. He’s spoken at conferences organised by the Financial Times and Harvard Business Review, corporate events for Barclaycard and Primark, and senior leadership team away days for AA and Walt Disney.


“William was thought provoking, had an engaging style and set an agenda and context for change. The presentation perfectly fitted the tone and context we were aiming for. It was great working with him.” Mike Hulse, Senior Sales Manager, Philips consumer lifestyle

“William gave us great insights into how consumer attitudes are changing, and the ways the audience will need to adapt to anticipate and appeal to tomorrow’s new ‘smart’ shopper.” Michaela Ridgeway, Senior Content Editor, Financial Times Global Conferences

“Will’s talk was a great way to start our strategy conference. He brought new, provocative insights and inspired the audience to think of new ways to serve tomorrow’s consumer.” Matt Houston, Director of Strategy & Business Transformation, Primark

“Will’s insights into the attitudes and behaviour of UK consumers proved really useful.” Wayne Garvie, Head of Entertainment, BBC

“William has the unique ability to identify those trends which are important and those which are just fads, then translate them back into a commercial opportunity for your business.” Alex Owens, Head of Insight, Sainsbury’s

“Will was the best possible opening speaker for a conference looking at the future. He got the conference off to a brilliant start. The feedback from the audience was excellent.” Gail Cohen Director General, UK Gift Card & Voucher Association.

“William got the brief exactly: and delivered just the kind of speech we wanted him to. The feedback was all really positive, and I personally found him very easy and a real pleasure to work with.” Laura Kozasvili, Head of Events, British Property Federation.

“William’s presentations on new consumer trends provided great food for thought. As well as stimulating ideas for individuals, his talks also proved the basis for further discussion and workshopping.” Charlie Gower, Head of Insight & Research, Hiscox Insurance.

Speaking Topics

  • Make friends with the post-Covid consumer.
    Discover how attitudes have changed during Covid: and how brands can appeal to consumers in tomorrow’s New Normal.
  • Brand Families: the future of customer loyalty.
    Customer Loyalty could actually be easier to maintain in future: for brands that understand the new Loyalty Seekers.
  • When money can’t buy you employee love.
    Tomorrow’s more independent employees will want more than just a good salary: discover what their expectations will be.
  • Okay Millennial: make way for Generation Alpha.
    As the oldest Millennials turn 40, learn what their younger siblings – and even their kids – will want from brands.
  • Think local: the silver bullet for retail.
    Consumers growing interest in community and their local neighbourhoods could offer a lifeline for tomorrow’s retailers.
  • Anyone can innovate – and this is how.
    How to effectively embed trend forecasting, innovation, adaptability and diversification into your organisation.
  • Who’ll live in a household like this?
    As children stay at home longer, and grandparents move in, households will get bigger, with some major implications.


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