It is hard to believe that we are at the beginning of a new decade. Beginning in January, the term “The 20s” will no longer refer to Prohibition or Flappers but Robotics/Artificial Intelligence.
First, let’s say farewell to the most transformative and turbulent decade of the 21st Century. It has set the tone for the next century’s business and cultural priorities. These are the trends that will be shaping the next decade.
1. The millennial generation is now both consumers and business leaders.
According to Pew Research, Millennials surpassed Gen X in 2015 as the largest generation of the U.S. workforce. They numbered 56 million in 2016. As we have recently observed, Millennials now drive purchasing decisions in businesses. B2B, as well as B2C businesses, must adapt to Millennials and better align themselves with their values and priorities.
2. Companies are more responsible for the environmental and social consequences of their actions.
Customers now consider more than just products and services when choosing what product to buy. Customers want to know where their products are made, how they impact the environment and the companies that make them.
Companies will have to change how they do business, from the way they invest their energy and source their labor to the way they source their materials.
3. We are woefully unprepared to deal with modern cyberattacks and the potential threats of the future.
The last ten years have shown us something about cybersecurity: the business world is not prepared. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that cybercriminals are at the mercy of a lot of our institutions.
Ransomware attacks saw a 35% increase in 2018, while large-scale attacks led to huge losses and exposed consumer data. We’ve always placed responsibility on consumers to secure themselves, but that is not sustainable for companies who want their customers to trust them with their data.
4. The consumer has control.
Digital tools make it easier than ever to mobilize consumers for or against brands. There are plenty of examples of their success. According to Harvard Business Review, 67% of company valuations today are “intangible.” This means that a company’s worth is not under their immediate control but in the hand’s consumers and the public.
5. Data security is a top priority and a commodity.
Apple was once widely criticized for its handling of customer data. Now, Apple is the “tech company that you can trust” to handle your personal information. Brands now have a major selling point: personal data protection.
If they want to stand out in this increasingly sensitive area, companies will try to integrate personal security into their branding. To meet their data security requirements, consumers will prioritize certain brands.
6. Artificial intelligence and automation will enhance the employee experience.
AI was only a pipedream 20 years ago. It’s now a part of every aspect of business, from customer service to industrial production.
Employees were worried for years that machines would replace them, but we are beginning to see that AI’s best applications are to ‘augment’ our intelligence, and not replace it. While it is clear that automation and AI will eventually eliminate certain jobs, they will also open up new possibilities.
How we train our workforce to share their space and collaborate with intelligent machines will determine the future of the next decade.
7. Our collective future is being shaped by personal technology.
Personal technologies are giving people the tools they need to be more empowered than ever, even as companies improve their technology infrastructure. Personal technologies are empowering a whole new generation. Previously, only elites and professionals had access to software and hardware.
What will it do to their future expectations and skills?
8. Video games are now a part of mainstream media.
Millennials, and to a certain extent Gen X, were the first generation to be exposed to video games. These gamers clearly loved them and still enjoy them as adults. You are more likely to own video games in your home than you think, regardless of whether you play on your phone or in one of the new televised leagues.