Skip to content

Are you ready for the Low Touch Economy?

Are you ready for the Low Touch Economy?

The Innovation team at Instinctif harness the best of the future to deliver market-leading ideas in the present. The team’s specialism spans digital strategy and marketing, data & analytics, and strategic brand. This fortnightly update shares top tips to help you foster creative and challenge the status quo and summarises the news that matters.

This week we dive into the latest report from fellow strategy and business design firm, the Board of Innovation, which explores how companies can recover and grow as we move into the next phases of the crisis.

We loved the report and wanted to share five key take-outs from it:

1. The Low Touch Economy will define our lives for a minimum of 1-2 years

This means minimal physical contact between colleagues and consumers; no large gatherings; and restrictions for vulnerable groups.It also means businesses have to be poised to navigate multiple economic aftershocks – and be ready to embrace innovations in an environment that’s open to newness.A ‘U-curve’ recovery is predicted. Society can’t shut down entirely – the report notes the need for food supplies and healthcare – so elimination is slowed. The surveillance and tracking tools introduced in some Asian regions are less accepted in Europe and the Americas, which will mean these areas take longer to bounce back.

2. The economic impact of the crisis differs wildly for businesses

Things will start to feel normal(ish) and operate like before – with some differences. We can look to the (spectator-free) resuming of sports leagues games in South Korea, on 5 May as an example of tentative steps towards normality.

Temperature checks to enter buildings and face masks will be ubiquitous. But for some industries, recovery will be a lot slower. Travel bans and restrictions on large gatherings will impact the tourism and event industries for years.

Lots of companies have seen huge hits to their revenue – but the report finds 15% have seen a positive impact. Three areas cited as those best-placed to see big wins are those with platforms to connect digitally (e.g. TikTok), e-commerce platforms (e.g. Shopify) and safe-at-home workout brands (e.g. Peloton)

And now’s the time to stake your position on how you want to move forward – like Twitter announcing that all employees can now work from home, forever.

3. There are two main roadblocks for companies

Brands should identify which it is – and its cause – to work out the best way to respond:

A. Broken relationships with customers

Broken relationship cause:Point-of-sale is inaccessible
Solution: Pursue virtual options (e.g. e-platforms, chatbots, video and audio experiences)

Broken relationship cause: Physical interaction restrictions
Solution: Switch to private, appointment-based or drive-through service models

B. Instant drop in demand

Drop in demand cause: Product safety concerns
Solutions: Implement additional screens & protective gear; use dashboards to track the health status of everyone involved in the production/delivery of a product; redesign products to use antiviral/easy clean materials

4. New trends indicate where business opportunities may emerge

  • Contactless payment
    • According to Mastercard, on 30 April, contactless payments are up 40% since the outbreak, as fewer people wish to handle cash
  • Healthy living
    • Lots of people have adopted ‘cleaner’ lifestyles – the report found that during the crisis almost 45% of US citizens have started cooking at home using healthy ingredients. Use of yoga, meditation and mindfulness apps has increased
    • As public transport has dropped in popularity, bike sales have seen a surge. E-bike brand VanMoof saw a global increase in sales of 48% while in Britain purchases rose by 184% between Feb and April
  1. Closing thought

We’ll leave you with these words from the Board of Innovation:
A forced reset of our society is the perfect opportunity to explore new areas for growth! Shifts in behavior, new regulation, accelerated adoption of tech – it’s the moment innovators have been waiting for.

Want to work out how well-prepared your business or clients are? Check out the report’s tool to help businesses rate their readiness for the Low Touch Economy, giving them a score out of 45.

There’s also a checklist with actionable ways organisations can redesign, from revamping travel policies to overhauling manufacturing policies

Tool of the week

Today is the first day of Pride Month and it will be a different experience for millions of people who usually celebrate the occasion together in person. Many events have been postponed, cancelled, or put on pause until restrictions lift around the globe.

But that’s not calling an end to proceedings – a whole host of digital Pride events taking place throughout the summer can be explored here.

As people cannot be physically together, we wanted to celebrate by sharing ‘Queering the Map’;  a community-generated mapping platform designed to archive the experiences of the LGBT+ community. There are no guidelines on how you can post (although it is moderated), so this leaves you with a wide variety to explore.

Why not see what  has been captured in your local area here? You can also get regular story updates by following them on Instagram.

Top tip

This week’s tip comes from Senior Account Manager, Hazel Edwards.

Over these remote-working days, workplace culture still shapes our sense of belonging and community and can be an anchor in uncertain, even lonely, times. Company values seem more important to us than ever, as we remember those who step up in a crisis, and want to be part of the positive movement.

The good news is companies are finding ever more creative ways to breathe life into their values and foster their sense of community from a distance. This week, I’ve been finding inspiration in Deliveroo, who has co-created its own Spotify playlist to showcase its brand personality, using music to communicate it to colleagues – and potential new talent.

Where are you visiting from?

Select from the regional list below.


    Apply now

    Submit your application directly to our careers team using this form. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Fields marked with a * are required to submit the form.

    Name *
    * Upload your CV and any other supporting documentsSupported file types: doc, docx, pdf, rtf, txt. (MAX size: 6MB)

      Sign up to hear from us

      We send a range of frequent newsletters on several topics below. Submit your details here to receive some or any of these communications.

      Fields marked with a * are required to submit the form.

      Name *
      Which area are you interested in hearing about? *

      If you have a general enquiry, please contact us here.

        Get in touch

        How can we help? Contact us using the form below, or via the following:


        Phone: +44 207 457 2020

        Fields marked with a * are required to submit the form.

        Name *