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Our people : Kevin Osborn

A futurist consultant and writer for nearly a decade. Futurist, project director, and account director for Social Technologies, a Washington-DC-based think tank.

A writer of freelance books, mostly non-fiction, for two decades: author, co-author, or ghostwriter of more than 50 books published by Harper & Row, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Doubleday, Scholastic, Warner, and many others.

Areas of expertise/subjects explored in earlier work include:

CONSUMER AND LIFESTYLE TRENDS: Extensive trend identification and analysis on custom projects for such clients as Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Purina, McDonald’s, RJ Reynolds, Hershey, Hasbro, BP, Polaris, JCI, Motorola, Phillips, Carlsberg, and the National Association of Home Builders. Trends analyzed include a wide swath of evolving consumer values, changing consumer behavior (both in the US and globally), generational differences, issues related to aging, gender shifts, consumer communication and other trends initiated or shaped by new technologies, food trends, automotive trends, pet care trends, trends in play, gaming, and leisure, sustainability issues and corporate social responsibility, new business practices and opportunities, and shifting conceptions of value.

SCENARIOS OF ALTERNATIVE FUTURES: Creative visions of alternative futures usually focused on the concerns of such specific clients as Procter & Gamble, Comedy Central, RJ Reynolds, McDonald’s, and Honda. Scenarios have focused on the future of comedy in digital media, the future of work, the future of obesity (and attitudes toward obesity), the future of food retailers, the future of fabric care, the future of retail, and the future impact of digital media on products and marketing.

CONSUMER SEGMENTATION PERSONAE: Creation of vivid, distinctive personae to illustrate consumer segmentation for such clients as Spike TV, RJ Reynolds, Honda, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

GLOBAL CONSUMERS: Fifteen futurist white papers on consumers around the globe (2 on Mexican consumers; 2 on Argentine consumers; 2 on Malaysian consumers; 2 on rising African consumers; 1 on Chinese consumers; 1 on South Korean consumers; 1 on Vietnamese consumers; 1 on Indonesian consumers; 1 on Colombian consumers; 1 on Ethiopian consumers; 1 on South Africa’s black middle class). In addition, custom projects have addressed consumer behavior in ASEAN markets and gaming consumers in European markets.

CHINA: Nine futurist white papers on China (5 on different Chinese generations; 1 on Chinese consumers; 1 on Chinese income inequality; 1 on China’s e-tail industry; 1 on Chinese healthcare; 1 on the country’s exodus of professionals and millionaires).

FAMILY ISSUES: Seven futurist white papers on family issues (4 on children’s issues, 3 on parenting and grandparenting (see further details below)).

CHILDREN: Four futurist white papers on children’s issues (1 on helicopter parenting; 1 on childhood obesity; 1 on kids and caffeine; 1 on the impact of the recession on family life and children). In addition, custom projects have focused on trends of teens and tweens.

PARENTING AND GRANDPARENTING: Three futurist white papers on parenting and grandparenting (1 on “helicopter parenting”; 1 on the new stay-at-home dad; 1 on the new generation of American grandparents). Also, three books on parenting.

GLOBALIZATION: Five futurist white papers on the global economy (1 on “MIST-V” economies—Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam—that will follow the lead of the BRICs; 1 on doing business with Africa; 1 on the growth of large companies in emerging economies; 1 on African companies expanding globally; 1 on South African inequality; 1 on the impact of the Panama Canal expansion).

HEALTH: Five futurist white papers on health issues (1 on health impacts of climate change; 1 on sleep innovations; 1 on American childhood obesity; 1 on kids and caffeine; 1 on the growing use of cybertherapy; 1 on healthcare in China). In addition, custom work has focused on business opportunities related to health and wellness. Also, six books on health issues (scoliosis, heart disease, alcoholism, addictive behaviors, and codependency).

INNOVATIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES: Five futurist white papers on new business practices (1 on crowdfunding; 1 on the future of the consumer products industry; 1 on this decade’s trillion-dollar growth trends; 1 on advertising and digital consumers; 1 on medical mini-marts; 1 on social media and business practices).

TECHNOLOGY AND LIFESTYLES: Four futurist white papers on how technology changes lifestyles (2 on changes in family communication; 1 on changes in business practices due to social media; 1 on cybertherapy). In addition, custom work has focused on such tech trends as consumer-generated content, the post-PC world, mobile payments, and neurotechnology.

CONSUMER ECONOMICS: Four futurist white papers on consumers and the economy (1 on the post-recession consumer; 1 on the impact of the recession on families; 1 on the spread of poverty into American suburbs; 1 on fractional ownership of luxury items).

GENDER ISSUES: Three futurist white papers on gender issues (1 on women in the Middle East; 1 on closing the educational gender gap; 1 on men in female-dominated occupations).

AGING: Three futurist white papers on aging issues (1 on aging in developed nations; 1 on the redefinition of retirement; 1 on senior-friendly products and services). In addition, custom work for such clients as Clorox and GlaxoSmithKline on current aging trends and new needs among the aging, as well as a major white paper on retirement savings for the US Department of Labor.

TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION: Three futurist white papers on technological innovation (1 on non-military uses of UAVs (drones); 1 on computers that mimic human senses; 1 on how the value of protection drives technological innovation).

INFRASTRUCTURE: Three futurist white papers on infrastructure issues (1 on the possibility of replacing gas taxes with vehicle miles traveled fees; 1 on East Coast port improvements in anticipation of the Panama Canal expansion; 1 on building cities from scratch).

CONSTRUCTION: Custom work for the National Association of Home Builders included explorations of issues around land use, government regulations, liability and insurance, and the cost of building.

VALUES AND ATTITUDES: Three futurist white papers on values and attitudes (1 on public opinion in 2050; 1 on Asian-American values and attitudes; 1 on the growing “slowness” movement).

HAPPINESS: Three futurist white papers on happiness and society (1 on happiness and consumer change; 1 on happiness and social change; 1 on happiness as a societal goal).

LEISURE: Two futurist white papers on leisure activities (1 on American spectator sports; 1 on the possible end of movie theaters). In addition, custom projects have addressed games, toys, and play as well as hunting, fishing, camping, and outdoor activities. Also one book on American sports.

RITES AND RITUALS: Two futurist white papers on American rites of passage.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: Two futurist white papers on environmental issues (1 on health impacts of climate change; 1 on sustainable energy). In addition, custom projects have explored business opportunities in the natural and sustainable space.

ASIAN AMERICANS: Two futurist white papers on Asian Americans.

GENERATIONS: One futurist white paper on Millennials (attitudes toward beauty). In addition, custom work has addressed Millennial trends, Boomer trends, Gen X trends, and the contrasts among the generations.

RETAIL: One futurist white paper on medical mini-marts.

DIGITAL MEDIA: One futurist white paper on digital media (going beyond advertising to reach digital consumers).

URBANIZATION: One futurist white paper on urbanization (building cities from scratch).

RUSSIA: One futurist white paper on Russian media.

SCIENCE: One futurist white paper on the future of international science.

MYTHOLOGY: One book on classical mythology.