Centre for Future Studies
Strategic Futures Research & Analysis

Case Studies



Aviva plc is a British multinational insurance company headquartered in London. It has approx. 33 million customers across 16 countries. 


This case study describes a futures studies project that was conducted for Aviva. The Centre for Future Studies was engaged to develop broad scenarios of the future lifestyles, values and needs of consumers of insurance products and services in the UK and, more generally, in modern developed societies, with a time horizon of 2030. The scenarios were to provide innovative, contextual backgrounds for a variety of brainstorming and product concept evaluation activities by the strategic product development team at Aviva.


The desired project outputs were to be new product concepts that could generate new income and profit streams for the organisation. The use of futures studies techniques was decided on by Aviva not only as a way of helping to identify innovative new products/services but as a way of identifying them much earlier in the relevant window of market opportunity than might be the case using other more traditional brainstorming and problem solving techniques alone.


Outline of the project


In summary, the structure of the project was as follows:


  • Horizon scanning to identify drivers of change and their impacts.
  • Generation of scenarios depicting possible future worlds in which Aviva might be competing in 2030.
  • Identification of the basis for competitive success in each world and their strategic implications.
  • Brainstorming of possible new product concepts that could be successful in these possible future worlds.
  • Assessment of the relative attractiveness of each new product in each of the future scenarios.




The project demonstrated to all involved the power of combining a mix of different thinking tools; e.g. futures thinking tools such as causal layered analysis, scenarios and backcasting which promote "paradigm busting" thinking about the world in which the business may have to operate.


The future scenarios enabled participants to consider possible new product and service offerings from a perspective that was systematically different from the present situation and the current suite of product offerings. People were able to broaden their thinking about what might be attractive to tomorrow's consumers by "standing" in a future world and considering products and services from that perspective.


Fifteen innovative product concepts were generated and two critical lifestyle propositions to attract risk averse and saving conscious customer segments were identified.



Kate Shaw