Forecasting is becoming an ever more pertinent technique for future proofing your strategies. Especially when working in advocacy or communications, it’s an essential part of our jobs to be able to discern lasting trends from temporary fads and hype. Furthermore, monitoring predictions and trends can help us identify new opportunities in emerging markets or industries. This can be useful for developing partnerships or promoting policies that support these new opportunities. Hence, we selected a number of trends from InFuture Institute’s 2023 Trend Map that we believe are worth keeping an eye out for. The predictions are segmented into 3 trend maturity levels:
The ‘New Normal’ refers to current, leading trends. Essentially, things we can readily observe all around us, some of them, perhaps, we even got used to:
- Digitalisation of Conflict: Digital technologies have inadvertently changed the nature of contemporary conflicts. This has been especially highlighted by the ongoing war in Ukraine – while social media can be used to deepen social divides and incite violence, it is also an excellent tool for predicting conflicts, changing their narrative, rallying support and ultimately building peace.
- Knowledge Democracy: This trend hones in on the relationship between access to science and capacity for development. Transparency is now expected from corporations and organisations in an effort to democratise knowledge – both in terms of researching and using the knowledge to innovate.
- The Silver Tsunami: According to Eurostat data, the 55+ years old demographic is supposed to reach 40% by 2050. This growing segment of the population is changing the structure of society. As a consequence, the need to come up with strategies and solutions based on the needs of an ageing society will only become more and more prominent.
The ‘Reactive Zone’ is all about the short-term perspective, and refers to phenomena which have the potential to evolve into lasting trends within the next 1-5 years:
- Hyperlocalism and Deglobalisation: These two trends go hand in hand: as interdependence between countries decreases due to geopolitical tensions and social polarisation, more people want to be able to realise most of their needs within their local ecosystem. Hence, understanding your local environment will be only increasingly more important.
- Techno-socialism: It’s a perspective in which technology, and especially AI, is used primarily to solve issues and increase the general quality of life, rather than generate profit. It’s been gaining popularity in response to the climate and economic crises, brought on by the current profit-oriented economic system. This highlights the growing expectations of companies contributing more ‘social good’ through their operations.
- Decentralisation: The importance of decentralisation grows alongside the development of blockchain and web 3.0 technologies, as well as the metaverse. As a result, there is a latent mistrust towards large tech and media corporations owning and controlling information outlets and collecting consumer data.
The ‘Innovation Zone’ zooms in on things we should keep in mind for long-term planning. While these perspectives will continue to mature over the next 5-20 years, monitoring them will allow you to stay ahead of the curve and make informed and future-oriented decisions:
- Quantum Economy: While quantum computing has not yet reached maturity as a technology, it’s been garnering loads of attention globally. It offers the prospect of accelerating computing and optimising processes on a revolutionary scale. By staying informed about quantum technology trends, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about investment, research, and strategic planning for yourself and your career.
- Generative AI Implementation: The past year, we’ve observed an incredible upsurge in Generative AI – that is, AI using algorithms and machine learning to produce content using preexisting data. It only makes sense that through the coming years (or decades) regulating and implementing this technology will generate novel challenges related to data privacy and intellectual property. These changes have the potential to re-shape creativity and content creation as we know it – hence, monitoring Generative AI is in your best interest.
- Metaverse Economy: While NFTs and the Metaverse have had a turbulent couple of months, it is undeniable that this technology is not going anywhere anytime soon. We keep seeing more and more brands, artists, and even politicians, extend their work to this growing, digital, parallel world. This trend predicts that the developments in the Metaverse technology will keep influencing society and the economy at large.
Access the InFuture Institute’s Trend map here: https://infuture.institute/en/trends-map/#opcje