The top trends of 2023
As futurists, we study trends and factors that impact the future.
Futurists are not crystal ball gazers. We don’t just make wild predictions of what the future might be. Rather, we gather evidence and extrapolate the trends that are set to shape the years ahead.
Businesses and consumers have encountered huge amounts of change in the last few years. And this doesn’t appear to be slowing down in 2023.
As much as it may feel like it sometimes, the future is not an inevitable destination. By observing the demographic shifts, social trends and technological advancements that have shaped the past, we can make informed predictions about the trends set to shape the year ahead.
Here is a brief summary of the trends from our Strategic Insights for 2023 virtual event.
The top trends of 2023
Consumer sentiment is being significantly impacted by a multitude of headwinds like global uncertainty, rising interest rates and cost of living. This impaired sentiment can lead to reduced future spending. So, whether we enter a technical recession this year, from a consumer perspective it already feels like one.
2. Population growing pains
Closed international borders for the last two years have resulted in movement of the population internally. Large scale, rapid, population movements from capital cities to regional areas is bringing opportunities but also growing pains that these areas will need to manage.
3. Trust doom loop
In recent times, trust in government, leaders and institutions has declined. Yet in an era of fake news, trust is more important than ever. What we have seen governments and institutions do in response is to double down with policy solutions. However, virtue can’t be legislated. This burns off any good will, acts as confirmation bias of the negative views of power and trust is further eroded. Leaders need to avoid the trust doom loop by being aware of overreach, solving issues collaboratively, using the power of relationships and appealing to people’s highest nature.
4. Virtuous consumerism
Sustainability has been on the rise for some time. As the pandemic quietens down in public conversation, concerns for the planet and supply chains will take its place.
Consumers in 2023 will continue to consider environmental impact, sustainability, circular economy and supporting small business as well as price and convenience when choosing what to buy or who to do business with. As a result, organisations need to be thinking about their ESG strategy – authentically though, not just at a governance level.
Digital transformation in the worlds of Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things and cloud computing is going to accelerate in 2023. The evolution of these technologies and their interconnectedness is blurring the boundaries between them, to create more personalised and efficient processes and systems. Increasingly, technology isn’t just a tool we use, but it is embedded into life and humanity. We can expect to see AI become even more integrated into humanity in the year ahead. Especially because AI is at its best when humans are in the loop, to ensure it is used to enhance human flourishing.
6. From industrial to artisan
As the world of work moves away from manual and industrial labour due to the sophistication and adoption of AI, work will become more about value added rather than how much we can output. This is resulting in a counter-trend from mass production to quality, niche and unique.
Workers too are looking to be creative and fully engaged in work which contributes value. As people focus more on local impacts, artisan products and working with purpose, it seems that bigger is not always better.
7. Rise of the intrapreneur
People are searching for meaningful careers and a sense of ownership, but without the risk and cost of their own organisation. Meet the intrapreneur, highly engaged and innovative like the entrepreneur, but works within an organisation.
In a world where side hustles are ripe and people are holding down multiple jobs, organisations will need to pay a premium if they want undivided attention from their employees.
As a result, we can also expect to see a leadership shift away from monitoring to mentoring and doubling down on culture to attract and retain great talent.
8. Preparing for intergenerational transfer
People are continually ageing and evolving, however in 2023 we will see some significant generational changes that we need to be prepared for.
For example, in 2023, the oldest of the world’s youngest generation (currently), Generation Alpha, will become teenagers for the first time resulting in levels of even greater influence than they already have. Oftentimes intergenerational knowledge or wealth is transferred from one generation to the next.
However, there is a shift from hierarchical and linear generational transactions to flatter and more collaborative intergenerational connections.