Is the world seeing 2021 as a new beginning?
In early 2021 the world was different than it is today. Vaccination programs were in the very early stages and most countries were still under strict lockdown. Now, seven months in, let’s look at how the trends predicted by the Economist Conference Unit (ECU) at the beginning of the year look now.
Here are the 6 lifestyle trend predictions to be examined:
Trend#1: Entertainment tourism returns stronger
The report stated that “entertainment tourism returns stronger in the second half of 2021, always accompanied by technology in its operation. People appreciate more than ever visiting the natural but with highly technological solutions. More remote places, more authentic experiences supported with 24/7 digital assistance. Interaction is the basis of the entertainment of the future.” Today, this is true, but not to the extent we would have liked. Reopenings within the US and in some parts of Europe is helping dispel travel anxiety, but uncertainty rules the game: flights do not depart as planned, countries are beginning to enter lock downs again, and if you are one of the lucky ones to get to the French coast, you might not have your dreamt of petit déjeuner as a foreigner (some places only serve locals).
Trend #2: Hybrid education with the aid of technology
The ECU report shares that “[education] becomes face-to-face but technologically adaptive. Studying offline and online will be normal. Schools and universities are transformed into a hybrid scheme forever. We return to the scheme of hiring people who are very prepared to fill important positions, but we accept candidates without a university degree, for less important positions, who have the necessary experience.” This trend is palpable across cultures. The vaccination allowed some sense of normalcy in developed countries. Unfortunately, in poorer regions of the world, the reality looks like a lost school calendar year.
Trend #3: Remote medicine
In the field of medicine, the big changes that came with Covid are here to stay. “The medical system adapts to digital with remote technology. A teleconference appointment will be normal … Large hospitals are rethinking their operation because of the economic crises they have suffered due to Covid-19. People get less sick from viruses, bacteria and diseases from mishandling of food thanks to a recurrent cleaning of the common individual.” But, the new Delta variant, which is more contagious, is adding to the catastrophic numbers of infected people. Mental health has been affected to considerable levels of concern.
Trend# 4: Reputation matters more than ever
The ECU report states that “large capital is invested in doing good, while global problems are solved. Social entrepreneurship at its best with very substantial economic results. This is positive news. People became more selective of their choices as per the news feed that will help them navigate their professional and business life. New models of information and subscription news with more transparency will help to give content without ‘Fake news.’ Credibility and transparency will be the cornerstone of all companies. People, tired of so much information prefer systems curated by experts to interact.” In the online world of speed and equal access to information, companies and brands have clarity on this fact: reputation has never, ever, been so relevant for organizations and individuals alike.
Trend # 5: Concern for the environment
“Climate change will be a much talked about and supported topic with use A.I. to understand and operate it better. The adoption of bicycles as the main transport will continue to grow thanks to the transformation of cities. We will move from Covid to Climate Change as the main theme naturally. An opportunity for global unity to help transform and solve big issues.” Is the latter trend a wishful thought or more than a wave in the evolution of mankind? I hope it happens. However, it might take more time than expected for this to become part of a new reality.
Trend #6: Choose natural and healthy, recycle, repeat
“Everything goes natural and healthy. Food, experiences, and ways of interacting. Producing one’s own food, meditating and exercising, become part of day to day. Consume local but real. Being healthier is the ‘new luxury.’ Sumptuous products lose value and justification. Recycling is returning with much more force, now with great technologies that solve the problems generated in the past.” More than a trend, the latter point shared in the report is a movement. It started decades ago, and the impact will be seen in the not so distant future. In any case, it is good to see it has been embraced by all generations.
The big question:
Is the world seeing 2021 as a new beginning? Not necessarily. For the largest portion of the planet, it feels more like a continuation of 2020, topped with fatigue and some pockets of normalcy. We should never forget that there is always a silver lining to any crisis. Hopefully, this one will wake up mankind to focus on what really matters most: being alive.