Decoding cultures and making sense of context

How does place shape people’s outlooks and views? How do traditions, local institutions but also myths and rituals account for preferences, mobilisation or why people change their minds?  Despite the power of global forces, geography and culture continue to matter: complex collective and individual behaviour needs to be understood in context. We help our clients understand the implications of this context for their needs.

At Counterpoint we use an array of social science tools and techniques to help you access the heart and soul of a place.  We shine a light on the institutions and habits that most newcomers overlook, and that the locals no longer notice.  We speak to emerging actors, listen to new conversations and help you make sense of a place at a particular time.

Whether you’re looking to tailor a product, a policy, or an event you will need to understand the intricate and powerful dynamics that shape the place in which you need to work, and how these dynamics affect the people you work with.  Especially at a time when social movements and cultural attitudes challenge established policies and corporate strategies. This is true for the far away, just as it is for the local. Some of our best customers need help deciphering the place they thought they knew best.

Some examples of our work

Egypt and social justice after the revolution: youth demands and expectations


An investigation for the British Council into the nature of youth demands one year after the Arab Springs. Implications for international NGOs and foreign governments. 

Understanding Singapore’s middle classes: prosperity and anxiety


A year-long investigation for the Office of the PM of Singapore and Public Services Division on emerging anxieties in Singapore’s middle-classes and their policy implications.

Recapturing Europe’s Reluctant Radicals 


A three-year project designed to understand the outlooks and motivations of supporters of European populist parties in different countries (funded by the Open Society Foundations).

Products and services:

  • Bespoke political, cultural and social risk reports
  • Comparative cultural and social risk assessments
  • Social and cultural risk monitoring across countries and industries
  • Scenarios, horizon scanning  and strategic foresight
  • Briefings and advisory


Strategic advice to manage new forms of cultural and social risks

Decoding cultures and making sense of context

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Interpreting public behaviour and emotions

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Crafting the right conversations

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News & events

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The Rise of Climate Populism – New project

Observers of populism have noted a shift in the past few years: while migration and immigration are still at the of heart populist rhetoric,...


The European Way of Digital

Counterpoint and OSEPI have launched a new Bridges publication, The European Way of Digital.   Europeans worry about how digital technology is changing their...


Re-imagining the Open Society in the Digital Age: A Bridges Project Position Paper

The guiding question for the 2019 Bridges Programme is a broad one: how can emerging digital societies support social well-being and liberal democracy? what...