The next decade will undoubtedly be dominated by the large-scale trends we have long anticipated. Driverless cars, passenger drones and the rise of the robots all represent developments that are impossible to miss and will be defining for our era. However, while it’s easy to be dazzled by large-scale trends, it is equally undeniable that some of the most exciting breakthroughs that will shape the coming decade will occur at a much, much smaller scale… in fact, they will be microscopic.
For years, millennials have been the central topic for discussions of marketing, workplace culture and employment. However, while millennials remain crucial to these discussions, our current moment is revealing a new subject of discussion: that is, the millennial’s younger cousin, Gen Z.
It wasn’t always trendy to be sustainable. In the past, speaking and acting on issues of climate change and the environment often rendered you a hippie or a leftie, or worse still, a vegan. However, what was once an issue kept in the margins is now overwhelming the mainstream, with the need for urgent action being widely acknowledged by businesses, leaders and public officials alike.
The empowered consumer is a trend that has been changing the marketplace for years. As consumers have a louder voice, more access to information and a larger array of options than ever before, the relationship between businesses and customers is changing and the balance of power tipping in favour of the customer. COVID accelerated this to a new level altogether.
Among the most significant and lasting changes created by COVID last year was the sudden shift to remote work. Return to offices this year have been varied, and where we will collectively end up in our work life in years to come is proving difficult to predict.
Buying a car has long been esteemed as a core milestone for people of all ages. Many of us fondly remember buying our first car, and we all celebrate the buying of a new one, turning to social media and friends to showcase our shiny new purchase. However, trends of recent and coming years are pointing towards a way of living in which celebrations of these purchases will happen less and less.
Recent years have seen cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Etherium attract enormous attention and fascination. While early investors in these currencies made small fortunes overnight (Bitcoin’s value soared over 70% in 2020 alone), what the fever-pitched excitement over cryptocurrencies overshadowed was the more important technological transformation being driven by blockchain.
In previous generations, the role of technology in everyday life was clear, with each innovation finding a clear role in serving the interests of the individual. Not only was the role of technology clear, but its distinction from humans was clear. People used a computer when information was needed or used a phone when a call needed to made, but its role as a servant to the human was evident.
The notion of robots or technology overtaking us was the stuff of science fiction and had no real substantial basis in the real world. However, as our lives have increasingly centred themselves on our technology, these distinctions between human and robot, servant and master are becoming less and less clear.