The Quakefront 2022

The Quakefront 2022

by Akash Das

The Quakefront 2022

by Akash Das

2022 will be the focal point of multiple quakes throughout creative industries owing to many STEEP* shifts. Gen Zs will actively enter the workplace making changes that ripple throughout ecosystems. Innovations in circular systems and alternate models of being & businesses will continue growing as uncertainty towards the future intensifies.
The doomsday clock is 100 seconds to midnight in 2021 and as we move towards 2022 political and ecological cross-disrupts will empower groups like Extinction Rebellion to be more widespread and these re/actions will be felt with pronounced tremors. Covid-19 derailed and disrupted the lifecourse of modern society and amplified our collective anxieties. While the vaccines have made the second half of 2021 feel like control and normalcy is slowly returning, the looming threat of VoC and worsening climate continues to keep individuals and governments on edge. 2022 will usher a complex paradoxical time as economic contractions and paranoia begin to ease but psycho-socially the mood will be of caution, community and care. As we enter an era of “uncertainorm” we shed light on critical emerging paradigms that’ll shape times ahead.

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1. According to a report by Board of Innovation the coming years will witness an evolution towards Low Touch Economy. Innovators who are quick to this transition will be able to best address consumers’ growing need to experience with safety at crux. RCA students Sandeep Hoonjan and Xianzhi Zhang have developed a pair of “phones” that allow people to physically experience conversations while in Covid-19 lockdown. As the world was already struggling to establish IRL interactions long before the pandemic, designing low-touch experiences for a touch-deprived society will be a tightrope walk.

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2. GenZ will be a major workforce by 2022, and like Millennials they’ll be starting careers in a recessionary economy, thanks to Covid-19. This will make the already polarized cohort ever more so, with many focusing entirely on professional growth and hustle culture, while many establishing a frugal approach to life, values and needs. Couple this to their entrepreneurial mettle and collaborative aptitude, they’ll bring about a new wave of time & space desynchronized work culture, which will need to be integrated to existing structures.

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3. We will observe paradoxical and polarizing tastes being developed in 2022. In times of strife, buying behavior is either rooted in core values & identity or in logical decisions based on essentiality. 2022 will witness bi-polarized consumption either motivated by “tribing” (one’s need to feel they belong) or “differentiation” (one’s unique social DNA). Brands willing to innovate for both polars harmoniously will press advantage.

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4. 2022 will be the year of the hyper (dis)connected consumer. They will be connected through billions of devices, yet disconnected in essence; finding any information at a click, but losing the attention quick enough to derive contexts. According to Ericsson’s 2019 IoT Report by 2022 we will have 29 billion connected devices and around 550 million 5G users. As staying connected digitally becomes easier and essential, accelerating our distancing from physical socialization. Brands need to declutter their communication and identities, and allow transparency and trust to be the totem poles around which they establish their offerings.

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5. A sustainability phenomena of balanced ownership is emerging. This mindset, inspired from the Scandinavian principle of Lagom meaning, “just right” is transforming minimalism into an optimized version of itself. IKEA recently launched a campaign on Lagom - practical guides to best employ use of existing resources mindfully and with balance. To allow accelerated growth brands must develop practices and processes allowing balanced fulfillment in users’ lives, helping choose what feels “right” rather than “less”.

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6. As phygital beings evolving in the metaverse, our identities are set to become more kaleidoscopic, wherein profiling consumer tastes will be a challenge for brands as they continually fluctuate and fragment. Gender, race and relationship fluidity will become acutely mainstream across all design sectors. “Design has to find new ways of enabling individuals to express an increasingly fluid and nuanced multiplicity of identities, not just in easily customizable fields like fashion and graphics, but in objects, spaces, software, and so on,” says Alice Rawthorn to eye-on-design.

The coming years will pivot us into some of the most challenging times we have witnessed and, precisely why this will be a time where foresight-led innovation will usher in a healthier roadmap. And in closing, “We ourselves must walk the path” ~ Buddha.

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