Faith Popcorn always knew she had a knack for understanding the future. She describes it as “an ability to tie different trains and trails and strings together.” The CEO of Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, a strategic consultancy, Popcorn recently shared how she came to be the premier futurist to the Fortune 500 in an interview with Fashion magazine.
Popcorn had originally set her sights on becoming a lawyer, like her parents, but decided it was too boring and went to work in an advertising firm after college. While there, she saw her colleagues working on creating images and messages about the present, but felt that they were completely missing out on the future. She also believed that the culture would be media in the future – no more ads. With that vision of tomorrow in place, she chose to fill the gap in the marketplace. Popcorn quit the advertising world to start her own future-focused consulting company.
The business took off, and has a stellar roster of Fortune 500 companies, including Allergan, Campbell’s, Citi, IBM, L’Oreal and Royal Caribbean. Services focus on positioning, strategic roadmaps, FutureVisions of an industry or a brand, and teaching clients how to forecast the future for themselves.
The author of several ground-breaking books on consumer trends—most notably the best-selling The Popcorn Report--Popcorn says her company has two key pieces of IP: its network of 10,000 futurists worldwide (known as her TalentBank) and the TrendBank, a repository of the 17 deep cultural shifts that her team tracks. She and her strategists then practice what is known as Applied Futurism, which involves painting an accurate portrait of the future, and then “back-casting” to today, and seeing the steps that must happen to thrive tomorrow.
One key shift Popcorn sees coming: she believes that augmented humans will be our future. We will be able to tweak our DNA to look better, live longer, and achieve more. New technology will be able to give us artificial memories and ESP-like instant communication. Everything will be intuitive. Given Popcorn’s documented 95% accuracy rate in predicting what’s ahead, these forecasts will more than likely become facts.