When you add the words ‘from the future‘ after a theme, such as ‘car of the future’ or ‘soldier of the future’, the images associated with that theme focus on fantastic technological advances.

This can easily be explained by the representations conveyed in the media and in many Hollywood films, which relentlessly advocate that technology is the solution to all of humanity’s problems.

In such a context, we would certainly expect a technology foresight programme to move in this direction. While the various fields of technology will certainly evolve and make possible some of the marvels described in science fiction stories, it seems just as important to look at the use cases and the problems or needs to which these technologies will respond.

Seeking to understand customer needs and what solutions might meet them is therefore just as important and complementary to technological research.

These solutions are not necessarily all technological or require the same level of sophistication. It is this “low-tech” approach, as opposed to what might be termed “high-tech”, that we are considering here.

Low-tech is not to be understood as ‘no-tech’, but as the right level of technology to meet the real needs of the user, in terms of functionality, cost and availability.

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