In its latest annual ‘Life Trends’ report, futurists from Accenture have identified what they believe are five major trends across human behaviour that will shape business, culture, and society in the coming year. A round-up of the five trends.
People adapting to a permacrisis
The world is moving from one global catastrophe to the next, meaning people perceive living in a ‘premanent crisis’ (permacrisis).
But as humanity has for millennia, people are adapting to instability by switching between four responses: fight, flight, focus, and freeze, which will affect what they buy, and how they view brands and their employers — and companies need to be ready.
Next level for loyalty
In an unstable world, people seek out places where they feel they belong. As a result, modern brands will be built as communities first, reshaping loyalty and brand participation.
For example, the majority of the report’s respondents have tried new hobbies or joined new communities in the past six to nine months. Emerging technology is largely driving the three threads to enable this model.
a. Communities of belonging: on platforms like Reddit, Discord, and Twitch;
b. Token-gating: exclusive access reserved for token holders only;
c. Collectibles: digital arts, autographs, trading cards, and more.
The importance of work intangibles
As the debate continues around the return to the office, one thing is clear: it’s not yet a success for many people. Everyone has felt the loss of intangible office benefits, like chance encounters and consistent, close guidance of junior talent.
Now the consequences of the loss are becoming clear. Without in-person engagement, companies can stand to lose mentorship, innovation, culture and inclusion. It’s time leaders went back to the drawing board to make a logical, mutually beneficial plan.
AI the co-pilot for creativity
Artificial Intelligence is now in the hands of the everyday user and is a new tool for the creative process. Suddenly, neural networks have been made widely available to create language, images and music with very little effort or skill.
Developments within AI are also hitting the market at an astonishing speed. At scale, this is an incredible breakthrough for creativity. Companies need to consider how they will stand out in the sea of AI-generated content and how they use AI to enhance the speed and originality of innovation.
The end of the digital identity crisis?
The use, and misuse, of personal data is long overdue for a transformation. Transparency and trust in online brand experiences are quickly diminishing in tandem. But control of their data could soon swing back to the user.
Digital wallets containing tokens (representing payment methods, ID, loyalty cards and more) will allow people to decide how much data they share with — and even sell to — organisations. That’s great news for brands: the data that people do hand over will be even more valuable than the third-party information that is no longer collected in a cookieless world.
Reflections by Accenture leaders
Reflecting on the five trends, David Droga, CEO of Accenture Song, said: “In roles as leaders, workers, customers, consumers and creators, people seek ways to regain control. The outcomes will look different – a new picture of progress – from what we’ve seen before thanks to changes in attitudes and maturing technology.”
“Shifts in control ultimately lead to shifts in power, and these seemingly small – yet profound changes – in human behaviour will alter the power dynamics between people and organizations.
Flaviano Faleiro, Growth Markets President at Accenture Song, added: “New power dynamics brought about by changes to our daily lives are pushing business leaders to rethink and redefine customer relationships. People are adapting to permacrisis, seeking belonging in online communities, missing work intangibles and using artificial intelligence for creativity.”
“As businesses look to remain relevant in their customers’ lives, they must consider these macro shifts as opportunities for new progress and growth transformation.”