Interview with Dr Martina Kühne

«Backlog demand to be expected»

Interest in futurology has grown enormously in the past few months due to the coronavirus crisis, according to Dr Martina Kühne, co-founder of Kühne Wicki/Future Stuff. Many companies have understood that analysing trends, such as growing interest in health and sustainability, and the merging of the physical and digital worlds, has become necessary to anticipate the future.

Forms of communication have already changed in recent times (online meetings, home office, virtual events), but the trend has accelerated exponentially during the pandemic. Nevertheless, personal encounters, greeting rituals and spontaneous social exchanges are important for humans and will remain so. They will only change slightly as they adapt to the current situation (e.g. bowing slightly instead of exchanging kisses to greet each other).


Dr Martina Kühne, Kühne Wicki / Future Stuff

«We are becoming more aware than ever of the value of personal exchange and spontaneous encounters.»

The experience of the restrictions due to the pandemic has even increased the awareness of how important personal exchanges and spontaneous get-togethers are. Humans are social beings and the lockdown has shed light on both the possibilities (such as food delivery, online shopping) and limitations of technology. But people got creative and introduced new forms of encounters and experiences, such as drive-in concerts and YouTube music sessions from the living room.

Events and trade fairs will have to be adapted in the future to allow safe and sustainable encounters of large numbers of people again. Digital offers will remain an alternative, but a coronavirus vaccine will eventually allow people to go to live concerts and see their favourite football team in the stadium again. Expect loads of backlog demand!

About Kühne Wicki / Future Stuff

Martina Kühne and Senem Wicki research social and economic change. From their work for renowned think tanks, they know that many people want to be innovative – but few dare to actually bring about change. The Corona crisis has forced the world to change. What this means for the future is analysed by the two trend and future researchers together with their international network of design, business and science. As co-founders of Kühne Wicki / Future Stuff, an interdisciplinary office for future issues in Zurich, they make the future tangible and comprehensible for companies and organisations today.