Lucie Greene

Lucie Greene is a Trend Forecaster, award-winning author and founder of Light Years, a Los Angeles-based Futures Practice.

She is former global director of the Innovation Group at JWT Intelligence in New York. She is one of the speakers at the Fast Forward Forum 2019, find out more at www.fastforwardforum.eu/

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’m a futurist and the formal global director of the Innovation Group at JWT Intelligence in New York. My future practice in Los Angeles has just launched, called Light Years.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No. I wouldn’t have gone into journalism after graduating if I had. Though those skills have very much supported what I do now.

We were less strategic when I was studying. I came of age when we were pre-economic crisis. There was still a huge amount of confidence, so a lot of sectors like journalism and creative industries were riding high. I didn’t really have to question my career or the longevity of the sector. Facebook launched the year I graduated. Think about the economic change that’s happened since then and what tech has done to so many industries, how many businesses have been transformed or disrupted by companies like google, Airbnb, Netflix, Twitter and Uber since then. Much of that has happened since I graduated.

I think Gen Z’s and young Millennials graduating now are entering the workforce with more caution. They need to be strategic in what they pick because there just isn’t the confidence that there used to be and focus on skill sets and industries that will continue to be relevant in the future. People are talking about how design thinking, creativity and empathy will be core skills for the workplace in the future – but above all it’s going to be about adaptability to constant change. I think it’s partly generational that I didn’t plan my career. I certainly would in today’s world.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

The core skills I developed as a journalist have helped me to be a better trend forecaster and a better communicator – but weirdly, I’m quite disparaging about having started in journalism. Whilst I would say to anyone who currently wants to go into journalism, ‘don’t do it’ for financial reasons, it has helped me in the rest of my career.

People and relationships have been key to my career path. Everyone good I have ever managed, I have promoted and helped in their career. Each employee I’ve worked with and valued, I have continued to work with and secured them jobs in other places (good karma). The people I help always come back. And I’ve found that working hard and having integrity have resulted in people helping me along the way, even at unexpected times.

I’ve gone from journalism, to brand consultancy. From branded editorial, to forecasting and then into strategy. One thing has led to another and enabled me to do that. So my current status is very much an amalgam of skills gained in all these areas over the years. But I also just work really, really hard.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Save more. I find it interesting how much emphasis there is now on financial management and literacy. My generation weren’t taught this – we were thrown student loans and thought of them as ‘free money’.

I’ve corrected myself on this now. I am much more of a Gen Z when it comes to financial management. But I’ve had a good time, and travelled the world, so I’m not sure how much I regret my choices. Maybe just a few more house deposits, a few less handbags and taxis.

I would also have negotiated harder for more raises, more often. I think we are seeing a shift around money generally where people and in particular women are talking more openly about money and financial management – and its helping them ask for raises and negotiate better, more equitable deals for themselves. Whereas historically it has been taboo. Experience has taught me about self-worth and knowing my value more.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My future practice in Los Angeles has just launched – Light Years. We aim to offer up the macro-picture on trends, but with very granular and bespoke implications to brands.

My bigger goal is to move the model of trend forecasting forward, so next year I am developing in partnership with other disciplines to reimagine trend forecasting in a way that combines the qualitative and the cultural, but much more integrated with data and business science.

So, my bigger goal is to reinvent trend forecasting. But for now – I’m working on getting my company off the ground, delivering great work to clients and building our reputation. Launching your own business is a leap of faith and more hard work than you can ever imagine but it is very rewarding to see something you put heart (and sweat!) In to start to take off.