Horizoning™: Challenging our own vision and ideas of what the future could be

Credit: Sarah Farooqi Art

I’m Hannah and I’m an Innovation Associate here at NICA. I work in partnership with innovation experts, industry, academics, and the public to provide consultancy services, project support and to identify, develop and bring to market solutions to enhance life for all of society as we age.

I am part of NICA’s Horizoning™ team, a term we have trademarked which defines our horizon scanning and trend analysis expertise. Horizoning™ is all about delving into what’s on the horizon. What’s in the pipeline? What’s the ‘next big thing’? The purpose is to think beyond current entrenched ideas and to give a range of possible opportunities to clients.

By 2030, it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population is set to live in cities (UN Habitat World Cities Report), and at the heart of cities lies the arteries which sustain them – our high streets. Here at NICA, I am part of a small team who delivered the very first Horizoning™ report for Newcastle Gateshead Initiative (NGI): a future vision of our local high streets. This has been done through our horizon scanning and trend analysis, coupled with insights from citizens who live and work in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Credit: Our Newcastle, NGI

This cross-sector report covers many of NICA’s key industry ‘verticals’ and ‘horizontals’, which you can find more about here, and the report serves as a strategic thought piece for NGI to inform strategies that can be used to influence the future of high streets in Newcastle upon Tyne, in order to inspire people to visit, learn, work and invest in the city. NICA has partnered with NGI and Newcastle City Council to understand what local people want from their high streets and the work has been used to inform NGI’s Local High Streets Campaign project happening in the city in 2021.

To me, Horizoning™ is an exciting new opportunity for NICA and VOICE®, our extensive citizen network, to influence future research and innovation across multiple sectors and industries, and to detect applicable trends for all of us as we age. Uncovering what lies ahead for clients and their aspirations is not only thought provoking, but valuable for investment, community support and economic growth as we see this translated into real, visible change from the city of Newcastle and beyond.