Ten short months ago, we addressed the essence of understanding why and how people do what they do as a tool to build a bridge between consumers and decision-makers.
Little did we know then about how that need would escalate on an exponential scale.
Entering 2021, companies are, for the most part, still suffering from the previous year while having to fight against the second – and who knows how many after that – wave of the pandemic. Picking up the pieces is difficult when light at the end of the tunnel remains dim.
Trends help envision development in critical areas, which helps companies align their operations the way that makes the most sense and direct the resources smartly in times when the margin of error has become thinner than the crust of a perfect Neapolitan pizza.
At Fjord – Accenture Interactive’s design and innovation practice – trends play a key role in how they think and work with clients.
On top of the annual Fjord Trends 2021 report, there is a metatrend that provides a common connection. While the 2020 metatrend “Realigning of the fundamentals” today sounds like being spot on and even an understatement, the 2021 metatrend “Mapping out new territory” clearly reflects the need, even necessity, to experiment with new solutions, places and experiences to simply survive, let alone be successful.
Photo of Tim Hall.
“Throughout history, after a global crisis, a new era of thinking begins,” says Tim Hall, Fjord and Accenture Interactive lead in Finland. “As we look to the future, a wealth of potential worlds opens up in front of us. Some are scary, some are exciting, and all of them are largely unexplored. What we do now will define the rest of the century. Businesses have the ultimate permission and space to think and do differently.”
While 2020 pushed people into remote working and blurred the division of the day into working hours and leisure – and typically changing the overall relationship between employer and employee, it also drove people to discover new ideas and ways to deal with the new, unexpected circumstances.
That created a set of challenges for businesses as they searched ways to understand the altered behaviour before deciding how to respond and react. In an ideal situation, companies would have an idea beforehand, which would enable making accurate and relevant operational and communication plans proactively.
The need for trends hit perhaps stronger than ever. Those who understood the reasons why, had an advantage. Those counting on instincts and best practices had to stretch their resources and capabilities beyond all imaginable pain thresholds to simply stay alive.
Responding to crisis eventually leads to new operational models. The light at the end of the tunnel will brighten and the vision will become clearer. While companies enter unknown and even uncertain areas, the ability to map out their new territory provides confidence – even comfort. This helps seeing the forest from the trees and make decisions that pave the road to success.
Uncertainty is nothing new in the world of business, and the ability to take and withstand a certain amount of risk should be a prerequisite to even enter the game. The way 2020 changed the world has multiplied those risks, at least for this year and most likely beyond. The changes are inevitable, and the best way to adapt is to be in the frontline, actively uncovering what’s yet to come and planning a route to the world we want to live in.
Understanding the reasons why helps us navigate safely, recognize the opportunities that become available and seize them in a way that genuinely makes a difference.