Future Positive x Ello: Lydia Caldana

Ello is one of our favourite social platforms and a great place to to find and share inspiration with thousands of creatives across the globe. The guys at Ello are now interviewing some of the most interesting users on their platform and have chosen us to publish one of those first interviews with noted futurist Lydia Caldana.

Lydia Caldana is a trend forecaster and researcher that continually inspires the Ello community by exposing mind-blowing innovations. She earned a BA of Arts, Trend Prediction & Forecasting in London, has studied fashion design in Italy, and spent the first 17 years of her life in Brazil. Lydia finds undeniably incredible innovations and her forward-thinking reveals just how amazing the future could be.

Interview by Anna Quinlan from Ello and image by Lydia Caldana.


Is there a recent trend or innovation that you’re particularly excited about?

There is a phenomenon being study by Box1824 regarding how the old market segmentation logic when it comes to consumer research that I find interesting and possibly applicable in other areas. When a client usually asks for consumer research, they have their own idea of who their target is, say, middle class, male, 35-65 years old. What Box realized after years of direct contact with consumers is that dividing them by gender, age and income level does not make sense anymore. Someone’s age/gender/social class alone does not determine what you buy, what you watch, how you watch it, who influences you, who you influence, how you interact with friends, and so forth. Most of the times I tell people this, they say “I feel like you’re talking about me! I am 52 and female and I love watching cartoons. I am a living example of how that is true”, for example. I am excited to see how this delightful change that started by consumers and regular people will tell the industry how to think their market segmentations, products and services. It’s time companies started caring about and deeply understanding their people.

Box1824’s online platform is www.pontoeletronico.me, which will soon be 100% available in English. Check it out for awesome trends in behavior and bits of how the reality in Brazil is changing.

You turn up a lot of stories that I’ve never even heard of! Where do you look for innovation news, or how to you keep your pulse on the latest?

I have my secret weapons, haha. Basically, I live for new stuff – products, services, mindsets… If I didn’t have a few other things to do during my day, I’d easily spend it searching for this. It is very natural to me and once I’m into a subject, I won’t stop until I get to its roots. It’s like every piece of information you find leads you to another, and the more you follow the leads, the better you can see the whole-picture. Mostly, I read websites that I do not know the language, like Ukrainian and Chinese. I click on all the links and words I can understand and dig for further info on any of the (six) languages I do speak.

What does the future look like to you?

That’s obviously hard to tell and anything I say here could go completely the other way. But what I hope for is a future in which transportation, food & healthcare and leisure are integrated with both professional and personal lives. We already know that those lines are blurred, but I think they mostly make our lives harder right now rather than just acting organically into it. If education or work were integrated in transportation, per say, how much time would we have spare at the end of the day, how many more bits of things would we learn on a daily basis and how much more fun could this experience be? I am a huge foodie, don’t get me wrong, but I also believe that the ritual of having a meal should be something appreciated when we have the time and will. If you’re on the run on a Tuesday night, wouldn’t it be healthier to just take your personalized food pill than eating some ready-made crap you heated in the microwave and quickly ate 2 spoonfulls just so you wouldn’t faint and be on to the next thing?

You seem to have a defined, distinct point of view. Do you remember any specific events that have significantly impacted your way of thinking?

Yes, I do. I think there were probably a few things throughout my life that molded my point of view. First of all, I am an anxious, paranoid person, okay? So I’ve always had to know what was coming next before it happened, so I could  be prepared for it and try to think of ways of how to deal with it. I think that’s where my ‘forecasting’ need came from. Secondly, when I mistakenly thought I was going to be a fashion designer and went to fashion school. Being immersed on that industry made me realize a paradox: you either have to be extremely creative, borderline crazy and lucky as hell in order to succeed or you will be another regular designer that does what they’re told on a low-average income for the rest of your life. The odds of you becoming the first one are,as we all know, one in a million. So, at the same time that you are required to be the most innovative designer ever, you are faced with the fact that tangible success for you means barely using your brains and heart while designing, just so you can say you are employed. This frustrates me and, around the same time, I found out the lovely path of trend forecasting, that opened up my world to industries I never thought of working with before. Last but not least, it was when I realized that the tool and key to everything is technology. Creativity lives inside every one of us; the only thing we lack is access to means that will allow us to make it happen. Now, more than ever, technology is what makes it possible. I started reading about great people including Allan Turing, Ray Kurzweil and Miguel Nicolelis, researching about women in the industry, how Generation I have already incorporated machinelike way-of-thinking, and have been finding out great stuff since then. It is an endless source of fun and scary surprises and changes that I’ll be looking into for a while, I believe.

You run @ellofuture on Ello. What do you value in Ello?

Since I’m always interested in new things, I had to try Ello. The fact that you had to be invited first definitely attracted my attention, so I hacked my way into it. I loved how free it felt to post there, without the commitment of doing it for other people or keeping a certain consistency among posts. It was also extremely easy to interact with people who turned out to be geniuses in tech, design, photography, etc. You’d start a conversation and weeks later you’d find out that they are gods in their industries. I felt really welcomed by the community and also comfortable enough to start something I had always wanted to: a space to exchange information and views on the future. Future of anything – it doesn’t matter what, I just want to know what people think and expect, what they are looking into, what scares them. Ello kindly allowed this and promoted the blog, which generated loads of insightful conversations and I am forever thankful for that.

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