The 5 trends of 2023 by Jürgen Hase
The last few years have changed our lives in a big way. Covid-19, home office, war, energy crisis and all that has followed have been major factors of change and will continue to influence our professional and private behaviors in the future.
For me, the turn of the year is a time to reflect on these influences and readjust my plans for the coming years. Developing a start-up, or rather, many start-ups, in such times is a particular challenge. But it is also a huge opportunity.
So what are the trends that will have a significant impact on our private and professional lives in the coming years? From my point of view:
1. Digitised services, from analogue to digital & vice versa
I know it sounds banal, but digitalisation is far from complete. Its influence on our lives will only increase. The smartphone will continue to move into the center of our lives: new cool apps, digital services for news, communities, entertainment, gaming, food, sports & fitness, even business and government services. Analogue tasks are being reenvisioned in the jungle of digitalisation as we explore the potential of new tools and learn to use them properly. Being open to this change is key – but so is considering if everything is really better digitised, or if a video chat just doesn’t quite live up to seeing friends in real life after all… The Metaverse is one of these bets on the future. How far do we need this virtual world? Will it replace our real lives, or is it up to us to shape it in such a way that it brings real value? I have a thousand ideas about this. Whether they all make sense is something we should discuss together.
2. Knowledge and learning – digital competence
Knowledge is THE building block in our lives. From fire to flying to the moon, it is knowledge that has taken society to new heights. But the speed of information turns a sack of fallen rice in another hemisphere into a political issue that escalates to a potential danger in seconds – when in reality it is just a sack of rice. Knowledge is good, knowledge is important, but we must learn to better work with it and to properly assess information’s relevance. Information provided to us is often personalised, and it usually serves someone else’s interests. Digital tools like AI, ChatGPT and many others influence our daily behavior. Not always in a bad way, but we need to learn to better evaluate these things; we need to learn to develop digital literacy.
3. Growth vs. sustainability or “can we go a little slower”?
Higher, faster, further, in even shorter time. This thinking has driven our society to ever increasing prosperity. Growth is the buzzword. But many are questioning this perspective: is growth always the basis for prosperity, or do we need to rethink this? The context of sustainability and a fairer distribution of prosperity cannot be ignored. In my opinion, this sometimes means decelerating our own behavior. Do we have to go along with every digital idea? Do we really need it or is it just 24-hour hype that devours a lot of resources but doesn’t help us as a whole? Why not go for a “to-stay” coffee again instead of “to-go”, why not listen to others again and try to understand them without jumping straight into counterarguments?
Digitalisation, with its infinite possibilities and rapid changes, can easily accelerate mischief. We should rethink our (digital) actions and ask ourselves, honestly, do we need this now, immediately – even the pizza delivery in 10 minutes. I say no, there is another way, although I have nothing against delivery services in principle. But time is not the only criterion. Sustainability and meaningfulness are relevant too.
4. Security for my eDNA
The smartphone is a completely individualised device tailored to its user; it is increasingly becoming our eDNA. No one likes to share it because it contains very personal data. On the other hand, we give strangers unlimited access to our eDNA, intentionally or unintentionally. No one reads the terms and conditions; we agree to them without review. Tracking is the order of the day, at the latest when the app is opened. Even personalised advertising, which suggests topics that you neither googled nor noted in writing, only discussed in verbal conversation. A key issue in the coming years will be to improve digital security, so that the personal eDNA remains just that – personal.
5. Off to seek new shores – but not alone
I think most can relate: I have an idea and I wonder why something like it doesn’t exist yet. We should communicate more about it, discuss it with others. Even the craziest idea – why not put it on the table? I’m all for it, let’s do it – whether I’m an industry expert or from a completely different background. The trick is to just do it – to talk about it. And: if the idea is good, implement it – but not alone. Everyone has unique expertise, and diverse contributions make things work better. Let’s unleash the free spirit of innovation together; let’s spin ideas, try them out, discuss them. We need to learn again, to discuss wild ideas openly and without fear of being laughed at. Respect, courage and the desire to try something new are just a few keywords here. Get people who think differently on board, develop a vision together and look for partners to support you. Partnerships are one of the key elements to turn a vision into something real.