Fjord Trends 2018: Navigating tension to innovate and design for positive, long-lasting change

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January 08, 2018
Fjord Trends 2018: Navigating tension to innovate and design for positive, long-lasting change
By: Abbie Walsh

Our annual Fjord Trends report supposes what’s just around the corner for you—as an individual, an employee, an organization or a consumer—and how the emerging changes will impact business and society in the year to come. This is a fascinating era for all of us with even the near future offering up incredible change across all aspects of life.

In 2016 and 17, we saw what can only be described as a great polarisation take hold, unveiling deep divides in opinion and values. While disagreement is no new phenomenon, the current gulf between opposing opinions is worthy of attention. Together with rapid technology advancements, the division is altering the world we live in, but also creating tremendous opportunities in the process. You can find these challenges and opportunities in our Fjord Trends report for 2018.

2018 Fjord Trends theme: Tension

Each and every one of our seven trends is born out of a fundamental tension, whether it’s a shift, a disagreement, a collision or a parting of the ways. Digital versus physical, human versus machine, centralized versus decentralized, speed versus craft, automation versus control and traceability versus anonymity. Those that will come out on top are those who successfully navigate, and even embrace the tensions to innovate, design and change the world we’ll be living in for decades to come.

Below is a snapshot of each of our 2018 Trends—follow the links to dive into more detail, or download the full report here.

Physical fights back
Digital has had the limelight long enough—there are two brand experience headliners now. The time has come to blend the digital with the physical.

Computers have eyes
As well as comprehending our words, computers now understand images without any help from us. Imagine the exciting possibilities for next-generation digital services.

Slaves to the algorithm
How do you design a marketing strategy to win over the algorithms—immune to conventional branding efforts – that sit between brands and their customers?

A machine’s search for meaning
AI might change our jobs, but need not eliminate them. We can—and should—design our collaboration with the machines that will help us develop.

In transparency we trust
Blockchain has the potential to create transparency that will clear the fog of Internet ambiguity, regain lost trust, and repair relationships with the public.

The ethics economy
Organizations are feeling the heat to take stands on political and societal hot button issues, whether they want to or not. And consumers are speaking with their dollars, choosing brands that align with their core beliefs.

Design outside the lines
Design’s rapid ascendency and newfound respect within organizations is a win for all. But, in a world in which everyone thinks they’re a designer, today’s practitioners need to evolve—how they work, learn and differentiate themselves—if they are to continue having impact.

We would love to hear what you think. There’s a spot for your opinion on the microsite and, so please head over there and let us know your thoughts.

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