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William Higham

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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 the Wellbeing Consumer coming 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 organised 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: 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.

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.

Popular talks include:

Building a Faster Horse: Five reasons why consumer-led innovation is the easiest way to boost your bottom line.

Three BIG Words: Why Control, Comfort and Community are what your customer will want tomorrow and what it means for your business. 

Securing the ‘Smart Employee’: How to hire, and retain, the right talent to make your company fit for tomorrow.

Culture Club: You can’t progress without innovation, and you can’t innovate without an Innovation Culture

 

“Will’s insights into the changing attitudes and behaviour of consumers proved really useful.”

Wayne Garvie, Head of Entertainment, BBC

“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.”

Alex Owens, Head of Insight, Sainsbury’s

"Will’s talk was a great way to start our strategy conference. He brought new, provocative insights into evolving consumer behaviours, inspiring the audience to think of new ways to serve tomorrow’s consumer.”

Matt Houston, Director of Strategy & Business Transformation, Primark

“William gave us great insights into how consumer attitudes are changing, and how companies will need to adapt to better appeal to tomorrow’s new ‘smart’ shopper.”                                              

Michaela Ridgeway, Senior Editor, Financial Times Global Conferences

“Will offered a unique perspective on how companies can remain competitive in the 21st century, in a compelling, entertaining and convincing manner: encouraging delegates to rethink their approach to consumer behaviour.”

Jim Hodgson, Department for International Trade, South West

Founder of The Next Big Thing consultancy who has worked with diverse blue chip clients across a wide range of sectors - from Finance to FMCG, Media to Music, Publishing to Personal Technology. A trend expert, futurist and marketeer.

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