Gut Check

A world where health is measured in microbes and influenced by the global biomap

Some people think about the future very little, while some people are entrenched in what comes next. The Glimpse Tomorrow founders are part of the latter — working for combined decades in helping clients figure out how to plan for the unknown. As referenced in previous postsHow to be More Mindful About the Future…Starting Today and 5 Steps to Developing Future Scenarios,” the Glimpse Tomorrow team has put our future-thinking minds together to develop a series of divergent futures that will paint a variety of worlds that we could all live in one day.

Below is the fourth of five stories from a series of landscape scenarios inspired by the question:

“What social, technological, and environmental factors will impact the way people experience goods and services in 2026?”

Please Note: Information included in all Glimpses is fictionalized and for inspiration only. Brands are merely used as a means to demonstrate ideas, and these Glimpses are single interpretations for how the future could unfold.

As the sun dances over the waves of the Dead Sea, Marielle leads her group of visitors out to soak up the minerals indigenous to the Israeli shore. Upon graduating with her Masters in Metagenomic Nutrition, she jumped at the opportunity to work at one of the most prestigious Microbial Wellness Resorts in the world, Marriott’s Sanctuary Jordan Valley. She identifies the specific microbiota found only here and explains their unique health benefits in detail to her guests.

Next she’ll be meeting with each visitor for an individual assessment, mapping their current community of microbiota using GE’s MyBiome software, and setting long-term goals for achieving optimum biodiversity. Throughout their visit, she’ll be exposing them to rare delicacies — all containing probiotics harvested on the property by agronomists — including microalgae tempeh, kefir hummus, and kraut beer, as well as prescribing activities designed to maximize exposure to the microbial communities cultivated throughout the resort.

Microbes are the bacterial organisms that make up all living things: they’re found on our skin, in our guts, and in the soil. Upon mapping and sequencing the human microbiome, scientists conclusively prove that the alarming rise of chronic diseases and mental disorders in Western civilization can be attributed to our years of waging war on bacteria. In a movement dubbed “Restoration Ecology” consumers, brands, and businesses alike take matters into their own hands, doing whatever it takes to reverse the effects of our obsession with antibodies. People look to unconventional means to evaluate their health and wellness, marked by a shift from concern about waist size to waste composition.

Since human waste is over 50% microbial matter, Kohler and MIT partner to develop a smart toilet for home use with real-time analysis capabilities. Synced with other smart devices, users create and manage their microbial profiles in order to inform shopping decisions. Whole Foods creates a categorization system based around profile results and recommendations, guiding shoppers to the microbiota needed to maintain and build their gut ecosystem based on personal data and a Whole Foods Roadmap designed to help track and achieve their long-term health goals. Probiotic-rich ingredients at every meal is now the norm.

Not only has microbiome sequencing changed our diets, it has influenced everything from our workplace environments (brain health and mental well-being) to the expanded definition of “fresh.” Bathing is optional and the scent business is booming.

Beyond personal gut health, the Bill Gates Foundation’s creation of a microbial biomap for planet earth has led to an agricultural revolution affecting the food-manufacturing industry from top to bottom. New strains of bacteria are being developed by Monsanto’s BioAg Alliance to harvest crops more rapidly and with less resources, but they currently come at a premium. Non-profit organizations are working to determine how to leverage the abundance of food to feed the world.

Remote third-world locations are praised for their exceptional microbial ecologies, and major hoteliers rush to capitalize on this exotic form of wellness tourism. For the wealthy and those seeking radical health transformations, luxury resorts located in superior microbial communities around the world provide exclusive treatment experiences, including fecal transplants and probiotic skin-care treatments, in order to achieve the ultimate status symbol: a healthy gut.

Apply this scenario to your organization

Scenario planning is a powerful tool to help organizations place themselves in a futuristic mindset. It can be especially beneficial to employees who aren’t exposed to futuristic thinking in their day-to-day activities.

Below are some thought starters:

1. How does your organization need to evolve to succeed in this world focused on inner beauty?

2. Where do your products/services fit into this revolutionary approach to global health and wellness? What adjustments would you need to make to win?

3. As stores take on the role of health advisors, how would your retail relationships change?

4. What new capabilities or technologies do you need to develop for this future?

5. What unexpected competitors would you anticipate in this world?

6. How do you communicate with consumers dedicated to new health routines?

7. How does your brand gain consumer trust and credibility in this science-driven space?

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