In the past 15 years e-commerce and online to offline platforms have completely disrupted the Chinese retail space. Across the pacific, the number of visits to US retailers having halved between 2010 and 2013, and there is no doubt that the retailers of today can only survive the future by continually reinventing themselves. Li & Fung, one of Asia’s leading global supply-chain companies, reached out to us to curate and produce an event that began to explore the future of commerce.

As Richard Kelly, Chief Catalyst Officer at the Fung Academy put, “if we’re honest, none of us really know what the future is going to be like, but if we don’t start to build it, then we’ll never get there.” Building off the momentum of a pilot initiative that was prototyping the mall of the future in Shanghai called the Explorium, we curated a 3 day event called “Hack the Future” which explored five different verticals:

  1. Augmented Agility - mass compression of product cycles & consumer agility

  2. Business (Not) as Usual - the paradigm shift in traditional asset heavy business models to an access or shared economy

  3. Will that be cash or cheque or . . . bitcoin, club points, or reputational currency?  - The future of payments

  4. Big Data Big Deal? - the consumer implications of data, AI, and privacy

  5. From Customer Experience to Community Engagement - the new consumers and what drives them

Taking cues from trends in experience design, we created a one-of-a-kind mashup of the Pecha Kucha, TED, and O’Reilly’s FooCamp that contrasted lightning talks with interactive breakout sessions, future casting, disruptive innovation mapping, and 3D printing surprise experiments that interrogated a bold vision of the future.