The future of meetings and events

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

As our McCrindle Speakers are regular contributors to meetings and events around Australia, it was our privilege to conduct research for the Melbourne Convention Bureau’s 25-year anniversary of the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME), into the mega trends affecting the future of meetings, and for Mark McCrindle to present the findings at the event.

The aim of the research was to understand how the global meetings industry is changing, through the influences of social trends, new technology and changing attendee expectations.

Findings from the full research report include the following:

  • Conference attendees are increasingly socially responsible, tech savvy and time poor
  • Attendees are looking for collaboration and networking, not just information
  • Meetings provide a place for human interaction, experiential learning and valuable professional investment
  • Customisation of the program structure and event experience is key
  • Augmented virtual reality and artificial intelligence transform the event experience
  • Ideas around venue design for the next generation.


Some of the key research findings are outlined in The Future of meetings; 25 years of change infographic:


At McCrindle, our team of professional speakers are in demand for their ability to clearly communicate the insights in engaging ways. Presenting at a variety of national and international events including keynote addresses at conferences, onsite professional development workshops and strategy briefings for senior leaders, the McCrindle speakers are recognised as leaders in tracking emerging issues, researching social trends, and are regarded as expert social researchers, futurists and story tellers.

To make an inquiry, please feel free to get in touch via email, or on 02 8824 3422.

External Trends Impacting the NFP Sector in 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The year 2017 has begun in an environment of perplexed global sentiment. From Brexit to the election of President Trump, the last 9 months have been far from a smooth ride on the world stage, showing a trend towards growing isolationism and increasing uncertainty.

At the national level, for most advanced economies, this uncertainty has bred an increase in nationalism, and a move away from globalisation. In Australia, our response – in part fuelled by our strong work ethic and historic undercurrent – makes us all just want to ‘get on with it’ and get the job done.

For the not for profit sector, this means working hard at strategic initiatives, managing external risk, and taking bold initiatives to engage donors. Our conversations with the NFP sector at this time of year often involves developing strategic brand tracking to measure public engagement, or testing specific brand assets to develop powerful advertising campaigns.

Yet, before delving into the tools of marketing and communications, it is critical that NFPs grasp the trends and undercurrents taking place in the external environment, particularly those that impact donor giving. Here are three trends we feel are critical for the NFP sector to grapple with in 2017:

1. Charity saturation and the need for brand differentiation

According to JBWere’s Cause Report (2016), Australia has 56,894 NFP organisation, one NFP for every 422 individuals. The number of not for profit organisations has doubled every 20 years over the last 60 years – and despite cancelling and closure of some charities by the ACNC, there are still around 10 new charities established every business day.

2. Overall decline in public giving necessitating new fundraising initiatives

Charitable giving has been lower in Australia in 2016 than in years prior. The NAB Charitable Giving Index indicates that national giving is down, by a decrease of 0.3% growth in the 12 months leading up to Aug 2016. This compares to 5.1% growth a year earlier. While there has been resilience in the Australian economy during this time, consumers are more cautious than before, reflected by these figures.

3. Younger generations giving less and seeking experiential engagement

60% of Australian donors agree that charities will face a more difficult future as younger generations don’t seem to volunteer in an ongoing way or give as much as the generations before them (McCrindle Australian Communities Trends Report, 2016). NAB data shows that those aged 15 to 24 give just $135 on average, annually, to charities, compared to those over 65 who give $452 on average.


A number of these trends are explained by a rise in the cost of living across Australia. Take Sydney housing as a case example of the growing cost of living pressures. In 1975, Sydney house prices were just 5x average annual earnings. By 1995 they had risen to 6x average annual earnings, but today – when taking the average annual salary of $80,000 per year and the median house price of well over $1 million – the average house price is 13x the cost of an average annual full-time salary.

Australian donors are finding it more difficult to give, and to give regularly. As the traditional, dependable, regular donor shrinks as a proportion of all donors, new types of donors are emerging –brand responders and opportunity givers.


Brand responders and opportunity givers donate sporadically, in an ad-hoc way. These types of donors are still more likely to give to a single charity or cause than to multiple causes, and have a strong preference for a particularly cause or charity.

Through speaking with more than a dozen NFP experts, 54 donors face to face, and surveying 1,500 Australians, we have identified four key next steps for the charitable sector to take into account in 2017:

1. Develop Multi-Tiered Levels of Engagement

Donors want to be involved with charities, but on their own terms. Rather than fixed contracts, they desire flexible giving and varied involvement. The demand for personalisation is growing as donors expect charity engagement suited to their age and life stage.

2. Build Communities for Social Impact

Australian donors desire to be part of a community of activists that bring about social change. They want to be involved in something bigger than themselves, knowing that together they can make a difference. This is not just ‘clicktivism’, which is seen merely as a form of virtue signalling through web-based activist organisations. Globally, networks like and have created opportunities for real-life engagement of social issues, facilitated first through online platforms.

3. Communicate Results in Real-Time

Donors want real-time results and transparent reporting of admin costs. Platforms such as now enable donors to give directly to an individual living in extreme poverty via mobile giving. KIVA, a lending platform facilitating crowd-sourced micro loans across the globe, displays the giving of loans in real-time via an interactive world map. When donors have this type of visibility, trust and engagement follow.

4. Create Fun and Engaging Experiences

The donor of the future is looking for participation and memories created through experiences. Nearly half (46%) of 18-29 year-old Australian donors have volunteered for a charity (compared to 31% of 30+ donors), and they are looking to do so in new, fresh ways. This is not just contained to events and a physical presence at sporting events or music festivals. Many young donors (1 in 4 of those aged 18-29, compared to just 11% of 30+ year-old donors) prefer the creative challenge of conducting their own fundraising events, providing them with the opportunity to harness their unique gifts and talents for a great cause.

-Eliane Miles


For more information on Australian Donors, see the Australian Communities Trends Report Infographic.

Connect with us if you would like more information on environmental scanning for strategic forecasting.


Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the mega trends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways. Download Eliane's professional speaking pack here.

To inquire about Eliane presenting at your next event, please feel free to get in touch.

Understanding Generation Y Globally and Locally

Monday, February 20, 2017

Generation Pessimism

We think of the younger generations having youthful idealism and optimism yet the 2017 Global Millennial Study by Deloitte shows that the 20’s and early 30-somethings are not feeling optimistic. Just 1 in 4 believes the year ahead will see an improvement politically and again a minority- only 1 in 3 believe we will see an uptick economically.

Where’s our share?

While it is little surprise that their number one concern is terrorism/political tension (56% are concerned), the second biggest concern (43%) is income inequality. There is a strong feeling amongst Generation Y (Millennials) that they are being left behind in this era of flat wages growth and massive home and living cost increases. Our recent ABS income and wealth analysis shows that Gen Y as a whole have 7% of Australia’s private wealth while they are more than twice this (15%) of the population while the older Boomers have an economic share three times that of their population share. There is a growing series of forecasts indicating that this may well be the first generation since the Great Depression which will end up behind their parents economically.

Big challenges but are they too big…

This study shows that Millennials, particularly in the developed world feel somewhat disempowered with a sense of high responsibility yet low influence to shape the challenges of the environment, social equality and direction of the country. They are key contributors to society and believe that working within the system rather than radically fighting against it in a revolutionary approach is the best way forward.

Moving on…but to full time roles

Almost 1 in 2 (48%) expect to leave their current role within 2 years while less than 1 in 3 (31%) plan on still being there in 5 years. While the gig economy sounds exciting, almost three times as many (70%) would prefer full time work than a freelance work life (25%). Yet the challenge for Australian Gen Y’s is that while unemployment is still quite low (5.7%), the workforce is trending away from full time roles. In the last year, the Australian economy has added 130,000 part time roles but lost 40,000 full time roles.

The dot com kids see the downside of tech

Millennials are more negative than positive when it comes to technology particularly regarding the impacts it is having in the workforce. While it aids productivity, economic growth and flexibility, the majority of this generation believe that it will force them to retrain (51%) and that it is making the workplace more impersonal and less human (53%).

But they are warm towards Gen Z

The new next generation (Gen Z, born since 1995) is well regarded by Gen Y with most Y’s (53%) believing that the next generation will positively transform the workplace. They also believe that Gen Z are well equipped and “futureproofed” in the workplace because of their creativity, flexibility and engaging leadership style.


Australia's Cooking Landscape for Hello Fresh [Case Study]

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

We were delighted to partner with Hello Fresh in conducting new research into Australians weeknight cooking behaviours and decision-making processes.

The Report

These insights are explored in the thought leadership report titled Australia’s Cooking Landscape, which reveals the research insights into Australian weeknight cooking behaviours and decision-making processes.

The full report is available for download here.

The Infographic

The key insights have been pulled together in the infographic below, titled A week in the life of cooks in the Aussie home and reveals how:

  • Australians value homemade meals,
  • Many find it difficult to find time to plan for their weekly meals,
  • Despite being busy and time poor, many Australians still allocate time in their week to spend at the grocery story,
  • Not only are Australians finding it stressful cooking for their household, but ‘food inspiration can sometimes create overwhelming expectations’, and
  • Australians have a strong desire to be more adventurous in the kitchen and to create a variety of healthy weeknight dinners.


For more information on our research and visualisation services, please feel free to check out our Research Pack, or get in touch!

P: 02 8824 3422


Gen Alpha and consumerism

Monday, February 13, 2017

Our current generation of children, Generation Alpha (born since 2010), are the most materially endowed and empowered generation ever. They have been shaped in an era of individualisation and customisation where they can get their name printed into the storyline of books, embroidered onto their shirts or put on the jar of Nutella. Below, we share some insights into the consumerism trends of the emerging Generation Alpha.

Is the future of successful brands just tech-enabled toys?

Parents are increasingly aware of the negative consequences of too much technology time - the isolationism and anti-social impacts. However, there is a halo-effect for tech-toys which increase connectivity, facilitate community and develop social and global skills.

What kind of 'play' is most useful for brands to deploy now, in the digital age?

Parents are becoming aware of the life-skills deficit evident amongst the next generation. They are more formally educated, yet less proficient in practical skills, assessing (and when appropriate confidently approaching) risk, setting and achieving goals (whether sporting or otherwise), and developing hands-on competencies. Fun toys which develop specific skills such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths), social competencies, entrepreneurial skills, strength and coordination, financial literacy, innovation and resourcefulness will be favoured by parents and educators.

What are the drivers that are impacting how toy brands engage with their consumers?

Educational toys - the future of toys is not just in the home but the classroom and the childcare centre. Education is beginning earlier with 3 and 4 year olds spending more time in childcare- and in facilities that have a focus on education and development. Therefore toys, of educational benefit are an essential part of the focus. Free toys - another change we are seeing is that sponsored educational materials - once anathema to educational institutions, are becoming more acceptable as the barriers between education, business, and community blur. With education (and household) budgets under strain, corporations for altruistic and well as commercial motives, will increasingly be part of the education, community and child-rearing domains- with branded toys a means by which this support is delivered.

How to teach Gen Z to be Collaborative, Innovative and Responsive

Monday, February 06, 2017

When I was eight years old, my third-grade teacher, Ms. Calov, taught me to be an inquisitive learner. Through her contagious enthusiasm, she turned me from an ordinary kid who did only what was required, to a perceptive student who asked for more projects and always connected what I learned to the world around me.

The kinds of soft skills I learned from Ms. Calov are increasingly important for Gen Z, the generation cohort after millennials. To be prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow, these students need to be collaborative, innovative and responsive to their environment. Here's a look at how today's teachers are fostering curiosity, creativity and other skills in their students, with help from technology.

- Mark McCrindle

Encouraging collaboration

School is no longer just a place to learn math, science and writing. It’s a place to learn interpersonal skills that will never become outdated—like how to collaborate, resolve conflict, clearly communicate ideas and teach others. Technology can encourage this kind of interaction. For example, since Gen Z is the first digital-native generation, teachers are asking students for help using technology and to show their peers how to use new tools. Students are working on group projects when they’re in separate physical locations, developing their ability to communicate through written feedback and explain the thinking behind their suggestions.

Encourage lifelong learning and innovative thinking

Teachers today are encouraging students to have a love of learning and adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, so they can adapt to new careers and industries. The average employee tenure in the U.S. is 4.2 years, a decline from 4.6 years two years prior. In Australia, we’re experiencing a similar effect where employees are staying in jobs for a shorter duration—the Australian average is three years. This means Gen Z will have 17 different jobs in their life, and they’ll need to continue to learn new skills and how to use new tools as they progress in their careers. By designing learning tasks that have a real-world application, teachers are engaging their students as problem finders and problem solvers—roles that are crucial in any job.

Foster an adaptive mindset that’s ready for change

As the economy shifts and new jobs like VR engineers and cognitive computer analysts emerge, the next generation will need to be able to learn quickly and connect the dots between related topics. To teach these skills, many teachers are “flipping” learning —asking students to reflect on global issues and synthesize information from videos, podcasts and written material, instead of simply assigning a chapter in a textbook.

Six decades later, I still remember Ms. Calov. Her inspiration reminds me of a Mother Teresa quote: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Ms. Calov created many ripples by fostering a love of learning and empowering a community of learners. But with technology, every teacher can teach students lifelong skills to carry them through their careers.

Learn more by watching Mark’s recorded talk from Education on Air.

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