In Season 3 of Throw Forward Thursday, we will be helping you to apply our mini future scenarios. Every second week, we’ll introduce a new idea from the future, as we usually do. The week after, we will revisit the scenario, extracting the principles and helping you see how to apply them to your industry and work.

Today, we look back at the last week’s “Smart Sleep” episode (watch it here if you haven’t done so yet), and find the principles of data analytics, personalisation, and optimisation.



Whatever your role in your current business, show your team the first video on Smart Sleep, and then guide them through a conversation about the three key principles we extracted: data analytics, personalisation, and optimisation.

Ask yourself and your team: 

  • What data would we find incredibly valuable if we could collect it?
  • If we had that data, what types of personalisation could we develop for the people who use what we do (whether they’re customers, clients, business partners, business units, colleagues, etc)?
  • How could we improve their lives by being more proactive, optimising what we do, and pre-empting their requests?

Having conversations like this is how you will learn to “think like a futurist” and develop strategic imagination. These are essential skills for you and your whole team to use in our fast moving, ever changing world.


Welcome to Throw Forward Thursday, my name is Graeme Codrington. Welcome to the new look studio that we’ve put together here in my green screen studio in my converted garage. What we’re doing is we are changing it up when it comes to Throw Forward Thursday.

Last week, I shared with you the idea of smart sleep technology. Everything from an anti-snore pillow to a room that responds to your sleep cycles. If you haven’t watched that video, maybe just pause right now, go back, have a look at that video from last week, and then come back and let’s pick up the conversation, because what I want to do today is to help you to apply that conversation.

Many of you who’ve sat in on my workshops will know that I talk about five minute from the future sections in your weekly team meetings, where I recommend that in order to develop your team’s strategic imagination, you need to take a five minute section of a team meeting every single week, you need to take a trend, think about it and see how you might apply it to your industry, and the feedback that I get from people is they really love this idea, but they realise that they’re struggling, they realise that their brains are not tuned to this idea of strategic imagination.

I want to help you to do that by demonstrating that every second week here in the Throw Forward Thursday Studio. We’ll talk about a technology or a future trend, and then the next week we’ll talk about how to apply it.

So, “smart sleeping”. The key question here is what is the underlying principle? So, we talked about a number of technologies and the main technology was some kind of device that would be able to track your body’s biorhythms. So, a device probably most likely is a smartwatch, that’s what we use at the moment, but even your smartphone at the moment has a sleep app, for example, where you just put the phone on the bed next to you, and literally, by your movements on the bed to a close approximation, your phone, using a sleep app, can tell you how many minutes you spent in deep sleep, how many minutes you spent in rem, and will show you the pattern. If you do a little bit of reading about sleep, you’ll recognise that you should have sort of repeating 90 minutes segments of sleep cycle, and if you can get a few of those done every night, you getting the best sleep possible.

Even here in 2023, when I’m recording this, we have technologies that are already set up to help us with sleep. But what I’m asking you to imagine is we take it a step further that we not only gather that data around what’s going on in your body, but we then use that data to influence the environment around us. And so, while you are sleeping, it can change the hardness of your mattress, it can inflate your pillow, and push your head in different directions, it can make the room warmer or cooler, all in aid of using technology, and I’m resisting using the phrase artificial intelligence. I don’t think this is AI-driven. I mean, literally, I think you could use an excel spreadsheet as the database behind this because what you’re wanting to do is to say that people like me, or even better, me.

So, there’s data from a couple of billion people on the planet who are doing this, but then people who are roughly my age, roughly my height, got reasonable genetics. There must be a sense of how much sleep should I be getting, what is my sleep cycle, is it different because I’m a man and a woman, because I’m bigger rather than smaller, because I’m older rather than younger? And all of that data should be available or could be available to us. So, we’ve got some idea of what we’re looking for, and we then try and approximate that. So, we then know what we’re looking for in terms of what we expect to see with your sleep cycles.

We then are measuring through the smart device what you’re actually doing. Of course, that measurement will get better and better over time, and then we get to a point where the system knows what your optimal sleep cycle is. Of course, that could be customised because it might change between the week and the weekend, it might change between winter and summer, and it might change for a number of different reasons. But we are personalising data that we can gather from you and your body, turning that into a personalised optimised output, and then we are using that output to influence the environment through a series of smart devices to give you the optimal experience.

I’m using specific words there because I’m trying to move away from the specific example of smart sleeping to something that then could be applied to anything. I’m saying that we need a way to gather data, to turn what might be a statistical model that approximates me, then it gets personalised so that it’s actually me, and then that data then influences my environment to give me the optimal experience.

Now, we can apply that little heuristic, that’s what it’s called, that little algorithm, if you like, we can apply that to anything. We could apply that to how my money gets invested. So instead of loading money into my investment app and then I have to go in and choose the stocks that I want to buy or the ETFs I want to invest in. The algorithm looks at people who are roughly my age with roughly my wealth profile and then suggests where my money might be invested, and given the amount of money I’m investing, and given the expenses that the system can see coming up, the system takes a certain amount of money and invest it on my behalf and maybe gives me the suggestion and all I have to do is say yes, I like that suggestion. Hit the big green YES button, so there’s an application into the financial services sector.

You could literally do it into motor cars. Given the size that I am, the age that I am, my gender, and my profile. My car should have a sense of how I want it to be set up and I should be able to just go into an app and click on a button and say, today I want option one. I want my seat to be a little bit softer, I’m going on a longer drive today, and of course, why should I have to tell the system that if the system can see my calendar, see where I’m planning to drive, understand how much sleep I got last night, so whether I’m tired or not. And then the car can adjust itself, moving the seat up and down, making it softer, light up, and even choosing the music that might be appropriate for the ride I’m about to have. So, the Smart car comes out of that same heuristic and so the list can go on.

An online retailer who’s trying to recommend things to me will do exactly this. Get as much information as we can about the person we’re trying to connect with, customise what we are giving to them as much as possible, and align it with the optimal outcome for that person, if it works.

Let’s go back to my original example. If I get a great night’s sleep and I get a great outcome, I’m going to feel amazing and I’m going to feel that the system was an amazing resource to me, and then I’m going to recommend it to friends, and you’re going to get more sales, and net promoter score and all the other things that you measure are going to go through the roof.

I hope that that’s useful, in showing you how you might watch a short video about Smart sleeping and extract the principles that are behind it. Data analytics, personalisation optimisation, those are the principles I can think of for this example. Then reverse engineer those principles into your business and see if they give you any great ideas for what you might do in the future.

I realise this one was a fairly easy start. I don’t think that there was too much difficulty with this example. It’s not too far in the future and I don’t think that the principles are too difficult to extract, but if you come back week after week, we’ll get to some more complex and some more interesting and some more difficult examples. But for now, I hope you get a good night’s sleep and I hope you’re able to apply those principles to your business and have great conversations with your teams, even maybe coming up with some great ideas that give you products and services to take to your clients.

I’d love to have feedback from you, and hear any stories about how you’ve applied these Throw Forward Thursday videos, and as always, if you have a question for me or if there’s anything that I can assist you with, go to the website and you can leave any questions there for me that you like, I will answer them all.

Thanks, as always for joining us in the Throw Forward Thursday Studio. It’s been great to have you in the new look studio with the new approach to Throw Forward Thursday.

Hope you’ve enjoyed it and I’ll see you next week.


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Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.

For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.


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