In 2020, businesses scrambled to catch up with the trends which emerged out of a COVID-19 world. But in 2021, as national lockdowns live out their last stretch and increasing numbers of people receive the vaccine, it’s clear a new set of trends are gearing up to shape an incoming, post-pandemic normal.
Prostate Cancer UK, a charity which raises funding for research to create a future where lives are not limited by prostate cancer, is one such organisation keen to pre-empt these trends so it can take action early. The disease kills 11,500 men in the UK annually, and around 400,000 men are living with this disease today.
Facilitated and guided by Manifesto, the charity ran a number of sessions for its senior leadership team so they could understand how future trends will impact Prostate Cancer UK. This trend-mapping has empowered executives to determine the actions they can take now to better fit into the future ahead.
“The combination of lightning talks and then the observations from Lou and Neil were a great way to get us into thinking outside our own four walls. It would have been much harder for one of us to bring that outside perspective in.” Gareth Ellis-Thomas, Director of Technology at Prostate Cancer UK
How do we evolve out of this health crisis?
The overall challenge statement Manifesto followed was to understand which future trends will affect Prostate Cancer UK, their impact, and the definitive action the charity needs to take to ensure lives are not limited by prostate cancer.
The ongoing COVID-19 health crisis has had somewhat of a domino effect. It’s seen handfuls of other health conditions deprioritised as public funding to the NHS gets diverted to coronavirus relief. This makes the efforts of charities like Prostate Cancer UK all the more important. In our workshop, the organisation posed pandemic-induced challenges such as:
How might we leverage the opportunity in digitally enabled health and wellbeing?
As well as identifying pandemic-induced challenges, Prostate Cancer UK wanted to use this exercise to reflect on more overarching challenges. Some of these include talent retention, agile leadership, proving the value of long lead time research, and bridging the technology gap for an aging population of men.
Prioritising and categorising future trends
Manifesto structured the charity’s workshop into six key stages. The first involved lightning talks from other leaders from the third sector, public health and emerging technology. Subjects covered included decision making challenges, what the future holds for the NHS and charities, and the possibilities of emerging technologies – such as conversational AI.
The next stage saw Manifesto deduce findings from interviews with Prostate Cancer UK’s leadership team, whilst the third – and perhaps largest – stage saw the team analyse the charity’s external landscape. This way, we could break down macro trends, assess their impact, and understand how they’ll affect their organisation’s mission.
Then in groups, the fourth stage took these themes, created problem statements and defined actions to be taken. One group identified the post-pandemic hybrid of office and digital-based operations, and highlighted flexibility as a key action.
The fifth stage turned challenges into opportunities, like viewing the pandemic as a chance for better public health messaging. Whilst the sixth and final stage summarised the workshops, prioritising the problem statements which align with Prostate Cancer UK’s organisational priorities.
A clear direction for the organisation
Manifesto’s six-stage workshop approach gave Prostate Cancer UK six key statements it could prioritise and continue to refer back to as and when future challenges inevitably arise.
The charity has gone on to use these statements to drive ideation sessions with trustees, which has led it to secure buy-in on various processes. The solutions which result from these sessions can then be sized up and prioritised against resource requirements. The idea is to create a loop of future-facing solutions which the charity can actively prioritise, or not, depending on importance.
Alongside these six statements, Manifesto has also defined a number of steps to guide the charity through its digital journeys. This includes segmenting challenges into themes, identifying gaps and revamping hurdles into opportunities. As well as formalising trend analysis, establishing ways of working in these trends to the organisation, and breeding continued collaboration across the charity.
How this helps us on your project
We partner with organisations to deliver strategic and organisational change over long-term projects. We have the ability to evolve with and react to the technological, cultural and political change which is rapidly altering the needs, motivations and behaviours of audiences. By gathering and analysing stakeholder and user data, market research, and testing strategy, we derive insights which drive strategic decision making, and recommendations which deliver immediate and long-lasting value.