The Unicorn Index

Is your business ready for the future?

*noun : Unicorn. A start-up company valued at more than a billion dollars, typically in the software or technology sector.
ePayments
The Unicorn Index

*

Is your business ready for the future?

*noun : Unicorn. A start-up company valued at more than a billion dollars, typically in the software or technology sector.
ePayments
ABOUTHOME

Foresight

Understanding future consumer and technological changes is key to being able to prepare for different possible futures.

Which of the following time horizons do you discuss regularly during your board meetings?
Years
1 3 5 10 20
Years
Next
Oh dear. You’re really not comfortable thinking too far ahead! Bad news - the damage done by short-term thinking is becoming impossible to ignore as our world is ravaged by climate change and buffeted by political instability. As a result, consumers are increasingly drawn to brands with long-term vision.
Great, you’re on the right track but what about making plans for the next generations of your clients and consumers? Future fit businesses aren’t just thinking about how their brand will cope with the change but also how to co-create the best of the possible futures.

Bin your five-year plan. Develop a 25-year vision that not only guides long-term investment but informs your actions over the next 6–12 months. Think about it as zooming out and then in.
Congratulations! Long-term thinking is all about understanding the future consumer, early adopters, and innovators, as well as the direction of technological change and you’ve got it all covered. You’re truly ahead of emerging consumer needs and well prepared to deal with the uncertainty of accelerating sector disruption.
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Innovation

You’re reviewing budgets for the coming year
and need to decide where to focus the company’s efforts.

In order to stay ahead of your competitors,
what proportion of your turnover are you
planning to invest in R&D?
0%
100%
Next
Eeek! You might be doing great today but soon you’ll be left in the dust. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to innovate, take a look at what businesses are doing in new and adjacent categories.
Well done, you’re really committed to evolving your products and services! But are you really ahead of your competitors? Most future fit companies spend over 50% of turnover on R&D and innovation.
You’re a business pioneer who understands that to stand still is to go backwards! Jeff Bezos watch out!
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Agility

An unexpected opportunity arises to acquire your most valued contractor who has the potential to help you innovate in a new category.

The financial cost in the short term is substantial – making up 30% of your planned
budget for the year - and the move would require rethinking your business structure.

How likely are you to be able to take this opportunity?
Unlikely
Likely
Next
Really? Live a little! Investment is a key indicator of a company being open to changes that bring growth. A company that spends a lot on investment sees opportunities in its own future and is willing to bet on them.
It’s great you’re not blowing your budget without thinking but some opportunities are too good to pass! Being able to harness favorable circumstances, even if they’re new and unexpected, is a key measure of business liquidity.
Check you out! You have the right finances and processes in place to quickly take advantage of new opportunities. Sky’s the limit.
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Consciousness

A supplier is publicly shamed for not complying with energy regulations in their data centers.

You would never condone it in your own business but moving to a more ethical contractor would massively affect your bottom line.

How likely are you to continue working with them?
Unlikely
Likely
We would immediately terminate the contract and choose a new supplier.
We would ditch them eventually, but not until we'd done an extensive procurement process.
I have enough to worry about in my own company. Their problems are not my business.
Next
Wrong answer! You need to think about the overall impact of your business, not just what you put in an annual report. If you can’t change the way you operate immediately, set yourself realistic goals and be transparent about your progress to customers or users.
Would you, really? How you address the grey areas of sustainability really shows whether as a business you care about your place in the system and whether you’re prepared to publicly own your impact.
Wow, you are really committed to having a positive impact! From lower costs to higher brand performance and improved employee morale, a serious business case can be made for ethical and sustainable brands.
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Reputation

Your main competitor has started to measure their success by having a civic purpose and facilitating social good over economic growth.

Do you do the same, or is it business as usual?

It’s not
profitable
We’re way
ahead of them
We don’t believe in supporting social causes. It’s all just PR bullsh*t.
We do engage in some CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), but it’s mostly just a box ticking exercise.
We actively engage in social issues and will take a stand for what we believe in.
Our mission statement says
nothing about making a profit.
Next
Not good! You still have the mindset of a 20th century business leader! This could even affect your bottom line as brands with a high sense of purpose have experienced a brand valuation increase of 175% over the past 12 years as more people want their purchases to reflect their worldview. (source: Kantar).
Well, you can pat yourself on the back but are you really doing enough? Consumers can quickly see through a PR exercise and creating a more sustainable economic system requires deep change, not just a box ticking exercise.
Nice work! It’s great to see your mission to drive long-lasting positive impact which will position you as a trustworthy brand that people look up to for guidance and leadership.
Jackpot, that’s the future! Aligning your business with these new metrics of progress will allow you to increase the collective happiness and productivity of your employees and to ensure a slow, sustained growth for your business and customers alike.
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Nurturing

Your business has had a rocky year. For your annual company away day do you focus on financial diagnostics and pivot plans, or do you plan a retreat with an emphasis on employee collaboration and wellbeing? Which will inspire your workers to help you get back on track?

Modern
retreat
Corporate
away day
A retreat should be about cultivating a mindful attitude to work where we can hang out as a group, laugh, and talk to teach other.
We’ll need to review our annual reports, but we should also have time for a yoga class at the end of the day.
Everyone is so busy, so we’ll just need to just focus on next year's planning.
Next
Hmmm, this is quite an outdated approach to company culture. Your priority at this point should be to acknowledge and address the pressures your employees are under, not wear them out with more powerpoint slides.
It’s great that you’re mixing up annual reports and downward facing dogs but are you doing enough to retain your precious talent? Support employees in their desire to improve, optimise and better themselves, thereby maintaining access to the right people, and capitalising on the trend for personal and social wellbeing.
Well done for challenging the status quo! Transforming the workplace into a space in which mental wellbeing is openly discussed and directly addressed is becoming key to building a more productive working environment.
Next
About

The Future Fit Index was created because businesses are increasingly dealing with the
uncertainty of accelerating sector disruption and are keen to be ahead of emerging consumer
needs.

Working with The Effectiveness Partnership and YouGov UK, The Future Laboratory
analysed a selection of brands against six critical behaviour patterns, ranking them in order
of fitness to compile the 100 most future-fit brands in the UK today.

The six behaviours are:

Foresight

Do you take a long-term view to imagine, anticipate and execute change?

Innovation

Are you committed to evolving, improving and developing new products and services?

Agility

Being able to quickly adapt
by having the right finances and processes in place to respond
to changes.

Consciousness

Are you conscious of the environmental and ethical impact of your business, and are you committed to minimising negative impacts?

Reputation

Do you have a compelling purpose
and positioning that engages internal and external audiences?

Nurturing

Do you support employees in their desire to improve, optmise and better themselves?