Each year when I see those articles, videos titled with the number of the year and try to prove that something will magically change just because it is a new year, I wonder what a difference a year makes. Mostly all those sources say what was said the year before. Copy-paste. Boring. Useless. So today I’m coming up with some fresh reflections, a little 2022 foresight.
Once again we are witnessing frightening surges in COVID-19, and facing uncertainty, both familiar and exhausting, over how the new COVID-19 variant will affect life across the globe in 2022.
And yes, we can enter a new year with negative thoughts. Everywhere Omicron, rising inflation, fractured politics, extreme weather and looming global crises. These are serious and important concerns. But my job and the job of other future consultants is to examine counter-trends and to consider what could go surprisingly right in 2022. And create business concepts that work despite/with the circumstances.
And besides, our clients, partners and readers have enough negativity and worry in 2021.
So, here’s our 2022 “positive scroll” through trends (aka 2022 foresight), events and forces for change that are hopeful developments on the horizon.
- COVID goes from pandemic to endemic
It’s altogether plausible that, by the end of 2022, the combination of vaccines, better therapeutics, and resistance from prior cases could make COVID a weaker health threat and more of local and manageable trouble, similar to seasonal infection.
- Climate change harder to ignore
Extreme weather events are not good. The fatalities and damage arise and we often reach tipping points. The problem gets international attention so now is the time for action. What we can expect?
Probably in climate change adaptation, initially (reinforcing and climate-proofing infrastructure, relocating housing in flood plains and wildfire regions, practising controlled burns). What needed to be said: we won’t stop the climate change itself.
- Virtual new normal
For decades futurists have been predicting the coming age of virtual work. The trend was strong but it looked postponed. Everything changed when the COVID pandemic came. It forced new ways of working. And now, in whole or part, the virtual work world is here for good.
Even when the acute COVID contagion risks ease, it appears that many workers will enjoy unprecedented freedom to work remotely, at least part-time.
All the workflow changes still evolving, it is a challenge for business processes and corporate culture, but all stars show that this is the direction we will follow. The advantages for working virtually are strong, both for the employees and the company itself. Firms will not be limited to local talents, they will be able to reach many different people across the globe.
But remember that remote work will have a cross-impact on urbanization/deurbanization, commercial and residential real estate, the environment, and transportation, and then its results of those trends, including tax bases, political shifts, technology, public works, and many more. This is where scenario planning comes. Isn’t this fascinating?
4. Mental health to the top
An unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the attention it has brought to the state of the nation’s mental health.
Every Foundation, Institute, Research Centre is reporting raising numbers of symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, among kids and adults. WHO has published many useful informations here.
Medical leaders were promoting mental health awareness and investments long before the pandemic. But it looks like the pandemic finally bring this issue to rightful prominence. With the support of the governments, medical professionals, community organizations and affected families. The question is: do we have the right therapies? Do we approach mental health correctly?
- Be aware of the speed of change
I said it will be positive, but now I would say that this article is full of faith and hopes. The world is not ideal so we will not pretend it is. Putting sugar on top of everything is not a solution, right?
The world is facing challenges for addressing pandemics, war, inequality, political polarization, climate change… but still, sapiens is adaptable creatures, and at some point, we will begin to accentuate the positive, diminish the negative – but let’s do this realistically, ok?
Remember how fast everything can change.
Who knows? Maybe the next big turnaround has already begun. We’ll be watching – with faith and hope – as the events of 2022 unfold.
Meanwhile, don’t wait for better times. Things can go right despite pandemics. Your business can grow further. If you look for the next opportunity, we may have something for you to consider. What would you say?
And one more question: did you enjoy our 2022 Foresight?