- Capitalism is evolving. People are becoming increasingly conscious and hyper-aware of how their purchases affect others and Earth’s resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend as the crisis reshapes our priorities.
- Growth for profit alone will fade away as people demand products and services that are personally meaningful and socially and environmentally beneficial.
- The widespread reliance on digital solutions to accommodate customers left homebound by the pandemic may pave the way for greater adoption of even more innovative technology.
- The focus of design is transitioning from “me” to “we.” Design will shift to cast its net beyond the end user alone, pivoting from user-centered design to design for all life.
- Brands with a long-term, forward-looking view that care for the planet and people—and the causes that matter to them—will emerge as winners.
Economics and politics, capitalism and resources, technology and society—all have long been entwined. But more than ever before, the consequences of that have burst into the public consciousness. The outbreak of COVID-19 around the world has strained supply chains and supermarkets, left governments scrambling for public health solutions, and led public officials, private citizens and companies to increasingly turn to new and promising technologies to accommodate a world suddenly beholden to lockdowns and disease control measures.
These unexpected events have only accelerated many of the themes we talk about in our 2020 trends. They are forcing businesses to change strategies and rethink their approach—and possibly their purpose—earlier and faster than imagined.
We defined the over-arching theme as a major realignment of the fundamentals, which was already important but has now become critical. Changes in our behaviors, values and priorities are affecting all areas of business and design.
We feel this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to innovate business models, services and products around new definitions of value.
One thing is likely: Those who embrace the long-term view—starting with their impact on the world and society and embracing the systemic complexity of the world—will emerge as winners.
As you explore the trends, consider the questions they ignite—for the future of business, technology and design, and the world, in the wake of the pandemic and beyond. The curiosity, concerns and actions they inspire will shape how brands serve people for the decades ahead.
Each year, Fjord—Accenture Interactive’s design and innovation practice—crowdsources trends for the coming year from its global network of 1,200 creatives in 33 studios. With new studios opening across Latin America and Japan, this year’s Fjord Trends are the most closely connected yet, telling a comprehensive story about our landscape and what’s coming next.
Realigning the fundamentals
Well before pandemic, the world was grappling with constant political, social and environmental disruption.
People were demanding products and services that were not only meaningful to them, but also socially and environmentally responsible. The crisis intensified that demand, with companies under even more pressure to act appropriately and, where possible, proactively in tumultuous times. Meanwhile, technology continues to fuel unprecedented change—change that again, might very well be accelerated by the crisis. Social distancing and lockdowns encouraged more people to embrace digital solutions, potentially smoothing the future adoption of everything from national digital currencies to the creation of digital doubles.
What does all this mean for businesses and people? In short, a complete realignment of the fundamentals.
This is not a bad thing. For all the upheaval COVID-19 has caused, it also presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to innovate in business models, services and products around new definitions of value.
The companies brave enough to recognize and respond to this meta-trend will experience many opportunities and challenges on their journey to transformation. As those transformations play out, one thing is likely: Those who embrace the long-term view—starting with their impact on the world and society—will emerge as winners.