Our work

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We believe in futures, plural, not a one-world world. Nor do we think we are predictors of futures; we use cultural anthropology to monitor signals of a changing society. These signals can come from a music video, a fashion collection, an article, a product launch or a TikTok trends, but together they help us understand how society will think, feel, and behave in the near future.

Futures are an important business tool that inform business roadmaps, brand and innovation strategies. the akin helps businesses navigate these futures so that we can collectively create better futures for us all.

We report on these bi-weekly on our Substack and annually with our Changemaker Report. This helps us and you understand how culture is changing and how you can contribute or adapt your business.

Changemakers are Changing

2017 – present
We’ve been publishing our Changemakers Report since 2017, which means we have tracked the changes in attitudes and behaviours as the world’s gone topsy turvy. We’re now opening access to this data to help you defend, fund, and fight for the future you want with statistically-relevant qualitative data and insights from 10 countries around the world.

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Building Utopias

Summer 2021
There’s an energy simmering – anger, hope, and everything in between – and it feels like we’re standing on the edge of a precipice. People, organisations, and nation-states are reimagining our futures in real-time and planning how society re-emerges from COVID-19. Dystopian and utopian futures are being made in parallel, and we’re hoping we can tip the balance towards the latter.

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The Generation Report

November 2020
Every brand, agency, and publisher talks about generational groups – from Gen Z to Boomers – like they’re a monolith. These stereotypes fuel our jokes, memes, and TikTok trends.But just how true are these stereotypes?

the akin documented popular stereotypes about each generation and deployed qualitative and quantitative research to validate the shared values and salient differences amongst the generations.

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Annual report – Changemakers

Note: this research was conducted in early 2020, just as COVID-19 was emerging.

It's 2019 and the world is both in collapse and in revolution. Brands, businesses, and institutions need to do the same.

Our Changemakers have been questioning what they consider "of value". In response they are exploring how to wield their individual power and our collective power, to proactively create better futures. Remember, there is no normal to go back to.

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PERMA-FLUX

2019
History has one consistent narrative – change. How do you adapt to a world that refuses to stay still? 

The Akin and SERVICES UNKNOWN have come together to spark debate, drive discussions and formulate new strategies moving forward as we explore this new paradoxical state of play, in which the only constant is change. 

Welcome to a world where all things move in every direction at a standstill. A new emotional state which guides and directs your everyday. Welcome to Perma-Flux.

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The Balance Report

2019
What is balance exactly, and why is it so hard to achieve? In collaboration with Ace & Tate, we published a study all about it and its importance in our lives.

We asked more than 1,800 of their audience across 8 countries how they stay level, spoke to industry experts and spent 1 on 1 time with Changemakers to intimately discuss their lifestyle.

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offsites
offsites
offsites

is an occasion when you and your team step away from the "office" to immerse yourselves into a community or culture. We specialise in the organisation and facilitation of brand-related offsites that are culturally- competent and safe for the community we're visiting and your team.

workshops
workshops
workshops

help your engage in intensive discussion and activity on a particular subject or project. Our workshops are action-orientate and designed to facilitated to uncover and address socially or politically sensitive brand and innovation conversations.

salon dinners
salon
salon dinners

are an opportunity to allow you and your team to gain otherwise inaccessible insight from the people and experts driving change in your industry. We organise and facilitate intimate dinners for you and your team to engage in semi-facilitated thought-provoking conversation around a specific topic as you share a meal with the Changemakers you've heard about it.

expert insights
expertinsights
expert insights

help us understand how a specific new idea, technology, or framework is impacting our worlds, industries, or communities. Experts help us understand our probable futures and how we can practical influence their field to build the futures we want. Especially important for complex or highly-specialised socio-technical questions.

expansion strategy
expansionstrategy
expansion strategy

a plan for high-level growth driven by a launch into a new market, like a new country, or a new product category.

A good expansion strategy is informed by brand strategy, cultural insights for the new market, and current and future audience typologies.

insight
insight
insight

is a profound and sometimes uncomfortable truth about a person and/ or peoples evidenced by their behaviour, experiences, beliefs, needs and desires.

Insights offer a business opportunities for innovation. Left ignored, insights may become a risk or threat to the business.


brand architecture
brandarch
brand architecture

is a way of organizing a brand's different parts and how they each relate to one other. It helps businesses understand how their products, services or content platforms work together and complement one another.

one-world world
oww
one-world world

The oww [One-World World] is the predominant idea in the West that we all live within a single world, made up of one underlying reality (one nature) and many cultures. Popularised by Arturo Escobar, the one-world world is a demonstration of the West’s imperialist habit to claim it is ‘the world,’ forcing other worlds to confirm to its rules, to diminish them to secondary status or to nonexistence, often figuratively and materially.

quantitative research
quantitativeresearch
quantitative research

is used to answer questions like “how much” or “how many.” Quantitative data is structured, ie numbers and values, making it a more suitable candidate for data analysis.

We conduct quantitative research via surveys, experiments, and market reports.


qualitative research
qualitativeresearch
qualitative research

is used to answer open-ended questions like "why". Qualitative data is un- or semi-structured data – aka messy.

We conduct qualitative research using focus groups, 1:1 interviews, expert interviews, case studies, cultural theory, or cultural narratives.


changemaker
changemaker
changemaker

someone who is embracing, encouraging and proactively creating change.

Changemakers are a subset of Early Adopters who create  future cultural narratives. They are critical allies that help businesses create long-term appeal instead of short-term ‘hype’.


futures
futures
futures

aka trends

are a directional change – a shift in a community's values and/or needs. This shift is felt and seen in culture - behaviours, products, services, events, - on a macro and micro level. Futures are spread by Early Adopters – of which our Changemakers are a specific subset – into the mainstream over time.

We translate these value shifts and emerging needs into a futures framework that businesses can use to inform their strategy execution.

audience typologies
audiencetypologies
audience typologies

are critical business tools that defines a business's audience "types" using behavioural or attitudinal characteristics. This is then combined with quantitative data to define 'how many' or 'how much' of the addressable audience is each "type" so the business can prioritise its resources to acquire or retain each "type".

cultural insights
culturalinsights
cultural insights

helps us understand how the world, an industry, or a community is changing on a macro-level. We use them to contextualise what changes have happened, and how people feel at scale to extrapolate what changes might come, and why. Cultural insights provide clarity to complex systems and help us identify and frame business opportunities.

consumer insights
consumerinsights
consumer insights

help us understand how the world, and industry, or a community is changing on a micro-level. We use researchers from the communities we’re researching to deep dive into how people are feeling about the world around them and why. These consumer insights help us map what these consumers want and need now and in the future.

communication strategy
commsstrategy
communication strategy

a plan to  increase brand awareness or new user acquisition through internal and/or external communication tactics.

A good communication strategy is informed by brand strategy, business strategy, and audience typologies.

innovation strategy
innovationstrategy
innovation strategy

a plan to improve market share, performance or brand perceptions through product or service innovation.

A good innovation strategy is informed by the brand strategy, brand architecture, and audience typologies.

brand strategy
brandstrategy
brand strategy

Critical for a purpose-led business. Brand strategy is a plan to 1/ to increase brand awareness and value and 2/ helps employees stay "on-brand" as they asynchronously prioritise and align their work towards their brand purpose.

A good brand strategy requires a differentiated brand – purpose, mission, and tone-of-voice – and audience typologies.