Tis the season (or, rather, slightly past it) for all the predictions for the coming year. I’m a sucker for these articles and have collected many of them via my Twitter account (@TWgy) over the last several weeks. So, if you’re interested in a roundup/synthesis of 2012 forecasts that looks across various industries and ideas, this blog’s for you:
An Introduction to 2012
The End of Text Books? Not So Fast
Let’s start with the more multi-disciplinary predictions. For my my money, The Futurist remains the best source of imaginative, general-purpose forecasts, despite a being journal that still somehow seems, style-wise, a relic of the 1970s. It’s odd that the world’s foremost foremost form of futurist communication remains somehow quaint and homey, but there it is, in my opinion.
Anyway, its Top Ten Forecasts for 2012 and Beyond tends to be focused more on “beyond”, I think. For example, the forecast predicts that learning will become “more social and game-based” this year and into the future, but I don’t expect to see all the text books disappear in 2012. More likely, we’ll see some serious movement into the area of ebook textbooks as tablet computers drop in price.
The Futurist also points to things such as space tourism and the kind of nanotechnology that will restore eyesight. Very cool but don’t bank on huge solar collectors on the moon this year. I’ll be happy if we can get them on a few more rooftops.
Will More Revolutions Be Tweeted?
The Futurist also published its James Lee’s blog called “Thoughts on 2012 – Markets, Technology, and Society,” in which he makes some forecasts on everything from the economy (“mild recession”) to technology (“wireless everything”). I’m totally onboard with the wireless everything prediction but it’s way too early to tell about the economy. In fact, we’re seeing some hopeful signs with the new jobs numbers and uptick in manufacturing business, but with Europe dealing with its debt issues and even China looking soft, Lee could prove to be right. More on the economy later.
Lee also notes, “With social media, people are organizing themselves and learning about things faster than ever before. ” Yep, it’ll be interesting to see if there are anymore equivalents of “Arab Springs” in 2012. Contrary to what Gladwell said, the revolution apparently will be (and was) tweeted. In fact, 2011 was a really rotten year for that particular prediction. History has a way to doing this, but it’s seldom you get your comeuppance quite that quickly.
Normal Gets New (Again)
There’s always talk about the new normal but I’ve been hearing the phrase more these days. I always take it with a grain of salt because these trends often have more to do with shifting economic trends than anything else. Nonetheless, I really like JWT’s 10 Trends for 2012 Executive Summary, which starts with the notion that the new normal includes stripping down the size of many new offerings to appeal to cost-sensitive consumers even while allowing them to “live a little.” Yes, those kinds of predictions are a bit soft, but it wouldn’t be hard to put some really numbers to them to see how well they play out.
Some JWT predictions are just statements of fact. For example, the idea that marriage will be optional in 2012 is just a statement of a fact that clearly emerged in 2011. Still, it’s true that this will continue to impact all kinds of trends, from social to marketing.
Leveraging the Likes of Slacktivism and Gerontabletification
Speaking of values and marketing, it’s interesting to think of how businesses can leverage the nexus of social, demographic and technological trends to innovate. That seems to be the basis for Michael Schrage’s Innovative Ideas to Watch in 2012. I enjoy the sheer ethicical complexity and wit associated with an idea such as co-opting slacktivism to reach out to customers and communities. I think most of the ideas Schrage outlines are practical ways that businesses can leverage growing trends – though I rather doubt that the fun word “gerontabletification” will catch on in a big way.
Retail 2.0, Crowdfunding and Micro-Incomers
I imagine it’s a form of branding and an homage to his DaVinci Institute, but I can never quite get past the Renaissance getup of “Google’s Top Rated Futurist Speaker” Thomas Frey. Nonetheless, I do admire the constant stream of ideas, phrases and blogs that flow out of him. The man never seems to be short of notions about the future, as is clearly illustrated by this two-part blog on 28 Major Trends for 2012 and Beyond.
I think he’s more often right than wrong. And though he’s clearly looking well beyond 2012, a lot of his ideas seem exceptionally useful. The term “Retail 2.0,” for example, may seem to be a bit stale (aren’t we done with version numbering yet?) but it’s been around a few years (no idea who coined it) and I think Frey is dead on about the challenges facing the retail world and the need to reinvent the retail experience into one that is much about entertainment and engagement as it is about stocking shelves. But, in the short term, I’m pretty dubious about “retails shops that carry no inventory.”
Some of Frey’s most compelling forecasts are of existing trends that are likely to get stronger, and I think that’s true of crowdfunding, or whatever the term of art comes to be. I don’t know if Kickstarter and companies like it will be a success in reinventing the process of funding new venture capital, but I’m certainly willing to bet this trend won’t go away till all the possible permutations have been checked out.
As for “micro-incomers,” well, I doubt Warren Buffett will be going this route anytime soon. Don’t expect some title wave of such folks in 2012, but it’s worth checking into on this trend every year to see how it’s advancing. That’s one of the things I like about Frey: he gives you a heads up about trends that may not change the world this year but that might just have a major impact in a decade or more.
The Year in Technology
So much is happening so quickly in technology that making shot-term tech predictions
Is 2012 The Year That Robot Applications Take Root? http://singularityhub.com/2012/01/04/is-2012-the-year-that-robot-applications-take-root/
100 Things to Watch in 2012 http://bit.ly/zd5IZi
4 payment industry predictions for 2012 http://gigaom.com/2012/01/07/dunlap-paypal-payment-predictions/
Five Predictions For Biotech And Medicine In 2012 – Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2011/12/29/five-predictions-for-biotech-and-medicine-in-2012/
6 Big HealthTech Ideas That Will Change Medicine In 2012 6 Big HealthTech Ideas That Will Change Medicine In 2012 – http://pulse.me/s/4zpft
Welcome to the Year of the Lightbulb http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=welcome-to-the-year-of-the-lightbul-12-01-01
The anti-prediction of 2012 social media predictions http://www.businessesgrow.com/2011/12/28/the-anti-prediction-of-2012-social-media-predictions/
IT Trends to Watch in 2012 http://campustechnology.com/articles/2012/01/01/whats-hot-whats-not-extra.aspx
5 Tech Trends for the Next 5 Years: IBM http://www.thestreet.com/story/11350395/1/5-tech-trends-for-the-next-5-years-ibm.html
Six Predictions for Digital Business in 2012 http://blogs.hbr.org/hbr/mcafee/2011/12/six-predictions-for-digital-bu.html?utm_source=pulsenews&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+harvardbusiness+%28HBR.org%29
10 Bold Tech Predictions For 2012 http://www.myjia.net/blogs/fast-company/134589-10-bold-tech-predictions-for-2012
8 Digital Trends Shaping the Future of Media [VIDEO] http://mashable.com/2011/11/09/future-media-video/
8 social media trends for 2012 http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/8_social_media_trends_for_2012_44045.aspx
Six Social Media Trends for 2012 http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/12/six_social_media_trends_for_20.html
Nature looks ahead to the key findings and events that may emerge in 2012 http://www.nature.com/news/new-year-new-science-1.9730
Predictions for 2012: Now or Never for the Standard Model of Physics http://pulse.me/s/4CLwn
8 Predictions for SEO in 2012 | SEOmoz http://www.seomoz.org/blog/8-predictions-for-seo-in-2012 via
Social Media: Five Facts to Bank On in 2012 http://adage.com/u/LmLcda
12 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2012, http://trendwatching.com/trends/12trends2012/
Web Design Trends in 2012 http://webdesignledger.com/tips/web-design-trends-in-2012
The Brand Keys 12 For 12: Brand and Marketing Trends for 2012 Part 1 Robert Passikoff, Forbes.com http://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2011/12/13/the-brand-keys-12-for-12-brand-and-marketing-trends-for-2012-part-1/
Predictions for 2012: China Steps Up http://pulse.me/s/4CLnf
Where The Jobs Will (and Won’t) Be in 2012 http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mkl45fekl/the-best-cities-for-jobs-right-now/
The 5 Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2012 http://www.inc.com/keith-cline/talent-shortages-in-2012.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=button
Why 2012 will be year of the artist-entrepreneur http://gigaom.com/2011/12/29/why-2012-will-be-year-of-the-artist-entrepreneur/
Talent time-bomb explodes for HR http://pulse.me/s/4sz3F
What 2012 holds for HR http://www.hrmagazine.com.hk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1007%3Awhat-2012-holds-for-hr&catid=53%3Auncatagorised&Itemid=40&lang=en&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews
Leadership 2012 http://www.corpu.com/leadership/leadership2012/
Guiding Growth: Future Trends in Leadership Development cmaconsult on slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/cmaconsult/guiding-growth-future-trends-in-leadership-development
“Top 7 HR Trends for 2012,” http://www.acumendatasystems.com/blog_top_7_hr_trends_for_2012.asp
http://www.humanresourcesiq.com/talent-management/videos/the-talent-speaks-2012-talent-management-trends/ (bad video of guys looking uncomfortable while chatting talent)
http://www.hr.com/en/app/blog/2011/12/strategic-hr-predictions-for-2012-brace-yourself-_gvy5foew.html (summary of Bersin’s)
http://www.tlnt.com/2011/12/01/looking-to-2012-14-hr-predictions-and-balancing-the-global-workforce/ (summary of Bersin’s)
10 Predictions for 2012: The Top Trends in Talent Management and Recruiting http://www.ere.net/2011/12/05/10-predictions-for-2012-the-top-trends-in-talent-management-and-recruiting/
Business and Economic
Top economic predictions for 2012 http://www.boston.com/business/gallery/economic_predictions_2012?pg=2
A Major Historical Trend That Predicts Recession In 2012 http://www.businessinsider.com/a-major-historical-trend-that-predicts-recession-in-2012-2011-12?utm_source=twbutton&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=moneygame-contributor
10 Sustainable Business Trends Worth Knowing for 2012 http://blog.taigacompany.com/blog/sustainability-business-life-environment/10-sustainable-business-trends-worth-knowing-for-2012
Social Media Marketing and Business Trends 2012 by Priit Kallas, Dreamgrow.com http://www.dreamgrow.com/social-media-marketing-and-business-trends-2012/
Manufacturing in 2012: Complexity and its Consequences http://www.manufacturing-executive.com/community/leadership_dialogues/the_adaptive_organization/blog/2011/12/30/manufacturing-in-2012-complexity-and-its-consequences
10 Cutting Edge Mobile Application Trends for 2012 (slideshow) ITBusinessEdge.com http://www.itbusinessedge.com/slideshows/show.aspx?c=87261
Companies and People to Watch
12 People to Follow on Twitter in 2012 http://www.inc.com/eric-markowitz/12-people-to-follow-on-twitter-in-2012.html?utm_source=pulsenews&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+inc%2Fheadlines+%28Inc.com+Headlines%29
Science Fiction’s predictions for the year 2012 [Triviagasm] http://pulse.me/s/4LQiU
My Fearless Sports Predictions for 2012 http://pulse.me/s/4vd2V
Food Trends 2012: Custom French Fries and Grilled Cheese Infused Vodka http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2011/11/food-trends-2012-custom-french-fries-and-grilled-cheese-infused-vodka/
Color Trends for 2012: Balance to Preservation by Susan at yourhomeonlybetter.com http://yourhomeonlybetter.com/color-trends-for-2012-balance-to-preservation/
Chefs predict top menu trends for 2012 http://nrn.com/article/chefs-predict-top-menu-trends-2012