The Scientific Methods Used by Our Research Staff

Why we exist. Can you really predict the future?

NO! The future cannot be predicted. Of course not! There are neither laws of nature that can be used to calculate the future, nor are there researchers or gurus who can see through time. Be skeptical about any futurist who makes the opposite claim! 


But the future is also not a product of chance. It is the result of the decisions made today by those who have the power and resources that cause others to follow them, and the decisions they make regarding technology, trends, and business models shape the future: in other words, how we will live and work ten years from now.

Researchers analyze the future by looking at today's decision makers

We futurists regularly analyze the strategies of more than 1,500 leading innovators, and we compile the knowledge of more than 5,000 innovation managers from a great variety of companies. The future environment you and your company will face stems from the decisions these individuals make. We call this the 2b AHEAD Picture of the Future. What role you will play in this future, however, is only something that you can decide and work to shape.


This is why our research experts support our customers in the development of their future strategies and future products. We know from experience which methods will work in what environments, and which won't. Our futurists offer you expertise: We integrate innovation leaders from business as teachers, and lecturers. We offer you access: Every customer can become part of our network.



Our researchers work with the following methods

We work with proven methods for qualitative social research in compiling our trend studies, primarily with the Delphi method. This is a future-studies method that draws its name from the famed oracle of ancient times. The Delphi method was developed in the U.S. during the middle of the last century and is used in the development of forecasts. Hardly any single expert in today's complex times is capable of keeping track of several mutually influential areas of expertise at once. For this reason, Delphi studies ask several specialists, each with a specialty field of expertise, to give their expert opinions. 

The survey phase is conducted in a two-step process. In the first interview phase, the experts are asked to give their assessment of specific hypotheses during guided expert interviews conducted on an individual basis. In the second round, however, they are given access to the aggregated results of the previous round. The experts are then free to decide whether they wish to integrate their emerging evaluations of the data into new assessments of their own, or if they choose to hold to the statements given in the previous phase.

The result of this kind of trend study is a future scenario that is not based on the science-fiction of a supposed trend guru, but on real investment decisions. These decisions are already being planned, envisioned, and made by key market players today.


Future Research According to Your Individual Trend Cycle

The 2b AHEAD ThinkTank offers no mass-produced trend studies based on supposed megatrends - because that type of trend does not exist. Trends appear because some individuals and companies have the power and the resources that lead others to follow them. The developments that are driven by these companies become trends, whereas other developments are blocked and thus do not.


If you have the feeling that things are changing in your industry as well, but if you are not entirely sure what the business models of the future will look like or how you can keep pace with the current speed of innovation cycles, then you need a trend study prepared according to your individual trend cycle.

The future happens in companies. Our researchers have the access.

One of the most important prerequisites for responsible future planning in companies is recognizing those players who will have the decisive influence on the company's industry over the next five years. These players form a company's individual trend cycle. These trend cycles differ from industry to industry, and often even within a given industry. Often, the players identified do not come from the target industry, but are both large and small players from neighboring industries who are penetrating into that market.

In order to prepare a trend study, we extensively analyze every player in your individual trend cycle. We ask them what trends and technologies they are investing in today and what visions they have for the time frame of the next three, five, or ten years. Where these forecasts intersect, those trends become visible that will actually affect the target market and to which companies there will have to react.


A trend study by the 2b AHEAD ThinkTank is a comprehensive scientific study. It spans between 50 and 100 pages, is specifically related to a given company or industry, and it explains, in clear language, the trends that will confront this company or industry in the future. It reveals why and by whom these trends are being driven and what other trends will be blocked, and gives specific strategic recommendations for a successful reaction. 





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