World-leading expert on business futures to help Cornish companies work out what’s next

Working out what the business world might look like in a year’s time is, ordinarily, a tricky enough proposition. But getting any sense from your crystal ball in times as turbulent as these is like trying to watch Netflix on a Nokia. 

Which is why Cornwall’s Future Focus programme, in partnership with the University of Exeter, is inviting business leaders to listen to a globally-renowned expert on future trends, deciphering the signs, and innovation on the planet, economy, self and culture. 

On Tuesday 27 April at 9:30am, Kate Ancketill will lead an online Future Focus event about navigating change in a fast-paced and turbulent business landscape, in which she’ll discuss the importance of how mega-trends shape emerging categories & the future consumer behaviour. 

Kate is CEO and founder of GDR Creative Intelligence, a global consultancy and innovation partner to around 30 of the world’s largest consumer brands, including Apple, Waitrose Procter & Gamble, Tesco and Google. 

Her keynote at the ‘Future Trends’ event will discuss the chaos that follows crisis, the factors informing the new shape which emerges from that chaos, and how now’s the perfect time for business-owners to work on their business to understand the possibilities of megatrends and benefit from that insight. By helping these owners identify ways in which they can evolve, Kate and Future Focus hope to enable them to come up with practical and profitable solutions which transform the real possibility of peril into the potential for great success. 

And much as trying to second-guess the future might currently sound as plausible as plaiting fog, Kate’s approach is underpinned by a proven framework and process which centres around ‘4 Preoccupations for the Future’: The Planet, The Economy, The Self and The Culture. Using this framework helps businesses to manage uncertainty, improve decision-making, implement strategy and reinforce the ability to adapt to – and cope with – challenges and change. 

Specialising in commercial insights and strategy for retail, fintech, brands and hospitality, Kate fuses big-picture context with case studies from the world’s leading designers, technologists, marketers, architects and thought-leaders to illustrate how new technologies and consumer behaviours will impact physical and digital commerce. She also emphasises the virtue of looking at markets other than your own, arguing for the gains to be made by learning from other sectors, and says: 

“Innovation almost always starts with cross fertilisation. Looking outside of your sector and geography at non-competitors is far more likely to lead to disruptive breakthroughs than can be achieved by chasing your competitors.” 

For her part, Unlocking Potential’s Programmes Director, Ally Glover, has no doubt what a coup Kate’s participation represents: 

“I can’t stress enough Kate’s global scale in this field. This is someone Apple paid to inspire them every quarter for five years; someone whose business is advising some of the world’s biggest brands on future trends. For Cornish businesses to be able to tap into her expertise and experience for a couple of hours is as exciting for us at Unlocking Potential as it could be transformational for the businesses attending. No one doubts how much chaos Covid has brought, but in the coming months and years it’s going to be important to focus on the opportunities which will present themselves to those who know how and where to find them.” 

To book your place at this ERDF funded event, designed for businesses with a turnover of £250k or more, visit