New ATB Ventures initiative explores how future humans may think and adapt
Humans of 2030+ uses psychometric data to predict how humans will respond to future technological and societal change
By ATB Financial 7 February 2022 3 min read
Most businesses and organizations think of their customers or clients in static groups, often based on factors like income, age, and family status. ATB Ventures’ Humans of 2030+ – a human-centred foresight framework designed to help companies and individuals plan for the future – takes a very different approach.
Using a psychometric model with demonstrated accuracy, Humans of 2030+ looks at how key aspects of wellness shape a person’s response to change and innovation. Through surveys of over 500 Canadians, they’ve mapped out five wellness indicators, including emotional, financial, occupational, physical, and social aspects.
“Categories based on gender, income and education feel antiquated,” says Siobhan Owen, Brand and Content Strategist with ATB Ventures. “When people make decisions, their wellness scores are much more predictive.”
Humans of 2030+ research shows most people fit into one of three categories, explains Miranda Mantey, a UX Foresight Strategist with ATB Ventures and project lead for Humans of 2030+.
Adaptives respond well to change, thanks in part to their strong social connections and optimism. Dependents tend to do well in situations of positive economic growth but flounder in futures marked by economic decline and social polarization. Finally, there’s the Uneasy group, who “struggle to manage their wellness under any context.”
Predicting future human behaviour
So, how does it work? Using the Humans of 2030+ tool, a user can click through various future scenarios – a Baseline scenario that follows the current trajectory, a Growth scenario where social and economic drivers make for a rosier picture overall, a Decay scenario marked by social and economic instability and a New Equilibrium scenario where major technological change leads to social restructuring in both good and bad ways.
From there, you can see how each group would respond to the four, future scenarios. The model shows how their scores on all aspects of wellness would change. To illustrate these data points, the Humans of 2030+ tool even offers a narrative following hypothetical Adaptive, Dependent and Uneasy characters through each future scenario.
To arrive at these results, Mantey and her team surveyed Canadians about how they responded to change in the past. They also asked about their comfort level with a range of potential future changes.
Beyond tech: A humans first approach
But why develop these personas, and attempt to map their future behaviour?
Mantey says most companies base their innovations on what technologies will be available in the future. But she says a better way to innovate is “to think about humans first – what their pain points are and what their needs will be.”
“There have been instances, such as with social media, where companies didn't recognize the potential implications of social splits and political interference when they started,” says Mantey. “Through the tool, companies can think about big picture societal and psychological implications of their innovations in the early stages of product development.”
In the future, Mantey says they hope to adapt the tool to make it more customizable for companies and organizations. For example, the team is considering survey tools that show companies how their customers or employees fall into the three groups. They’d also like to make the tool more customizable, so users can define the key changes they want to explore through the eyes of each group.
An example could be exploring how each group would respond to greater growth in immersive virtual worlds, like the much talked about Metaverse. (Mantey expands on this potential future in this article on Medium.com).
For now, Humans of 2030+ is already informing innovation at ATB Ventures.
“Grounded in foresight research, Humans of 2030+ is a unique persona tool that we use in our work every day and embed in our vision for the future,” says Sue McGill, Head of ATB Ventures. “As a team that focuses solely on the longer term horizon, and inventing next-generation products, understanding who exactly our customers of the future are and anticipating what their future needs will be is of central importance.”