22 Predictions For 2022, And Why This Is Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point Year

22 Predictions For 2022, And Why This Is Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point Year

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From not caring about Facebook, to AI driving our worlds, automation taking over, crypto currency getting real, the EV reality we have all hoped for takes off welcome to the reality of 2022. But wait because there is so much more.

There is an inherent danger in writing predictions within a month of the end of the year. Sudden shifts are not normal for the world. However, we are experiencing them at a rapid and almost un-predictable pattern. Covid’s latest variation, the Omicron variant is going to be an extensively talked about by the time we all read this on December 31st, 2021. The delta variant feels like a distant historical event now. We can witness history or help change its’ course. 2022 is a tipping point for stepping over that witness line to participating in sculpting that future.

If you have not read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Tipping Point, please do.

Gladwell_BW01_110705_Malcom Gladwell, New Yorker writer of the @#1 best-seller The Tipping Point, … [+] poses for the Toronto Star, Gladwell was just named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. The Canadian is in town today as part of credit conference._(Bernard Weil/Toronto Star) (Photo by Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Toronto Star via Getty Images

It’s exceptional, fast, and thought provoking read. He talks about epidemics, the laws of the few, connectors, mavens, and the power of context to change, stickiness factors and the power of how we think and act. For most of the time, most of the time, we do not collectively live in what he calls an epidemic. He defines epidemics as events like the cabbage patch dolls, FUBU clothing or Michael Jackson. You can recognize the epidemics you might have experienced. They will vary and have short windows and tend to only affect sub- populations. He does not talk about real epidemic, he does not talk about epidemics that affect whole populations, the globe. It is too shocking for him to have thought about.

2022 is going to be a tipping point for every one of us, because the world we live in has all of Gladwell’s characters from connecting events to maven events, massive context change, and stickiness factors everywhere. The tipping point is defined as the moment of critical mass, the threshold, and the boiling point. It is the point when everyday things reach epidemic proportions. These twenty-two predictions are combinations of each of these components. Recognize which ones are going to be epidemics you will experience.

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2022 is the tipping point to mass automation. Labor shortages, cheap capital, and a desire to buy transformation with one sweeping move trigger it as a business core. The heading says it all really. A continued shortage of white-collar labor, retail and blue-collar labor forces the move to automation as a strategy and not just a process. In many businesses, we have reached the point where incrementalism in process changes will not deliver the growth outlook needed to deliver shareholder returns. Look at McDonalds with Siri, the self-serve scanners at amazon stores or even 100% digital ticket experiences at sporting events (even the Green Bay Packers). Name a company that does not have automation as an executive mandate for 2022. In 2022 automation will be a management strategy and a driver of decisions for a full range of investments from HR to marketing, software development, even services companies deliver. It will be as important a point of differentiation as any of Michael Porters five forces as far back as 1979. You can read the original HBR piece here.

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In 2022 AI starts to consciously direct our lives. We have had the shock of Covid-19 to force us to adjust to the need to build more automation, faster decisions for near instant delivery. Pick any industry, food retail, healthcare, the internet of things, 5G networks, software code development or cyber security software. Ai is going to sit at the heart of the logistics, operational models and even core processes in these industries as over 99% of tasks can be conditionally programmed around combinations of choices. Look at how Instinet works in the financial markets with over 95% of all transactions and trades happening without human interactions. That means a vast amount of the stock market that we have our retirement accounts managed are managed by algorithms. There are now whole industries whose growth will be dependent on ai to do the base thinking for it, cyber secure, retail logistics, insurance risk modeling, software development as we all want to be software companies. In 2022 we will be surprisingly amazingly comfortable with this as we each get to see ai handle our medical records, make purchase decisions and run ever more complex and stressed supply chains with algorithms.

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In 2022, EV hits the tipping point as the new possible norm. We will not be driving combustion engineered vehicles in forty years’ time. Nobody would dispute that fact. At some point the world must truly turn that way. Ars technica quota a study in July 2021 that over four in ten of us would seriously consider an EV for our next purchase. We tend to overestimate the speed of transformation; but underestimate the magnitude of the changes when they happen. I am betting that 2022 is that tipping point moment. We might be at that point of shift to underestimating the magnitude of change. Big fleets are going electric (hertz and tesla), major brands like ford, Toyota, Nissan, gm are advertising their EV offerings. Re-birthed companies (Volvo) will be 100% EV. EV has entered our collective psyche, our wallets our advertising and now it has momentum. The automotive industry is still struggling with this idea in the movie “the other guys,” Will Ferrell is a police officer driving a Prius.  

Electric car receiving a charge from a special allocated city parking bay, Central London, UK. … [+] (Photo by BuildPix/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

Getty Images

By 2030 this becomes the car chase reality in Hollywood for the fast and furious twenty-four. But right now, EV’s are becoming a more common platform not just for cars but autonomous vehicles systems all around us. In 2022 ev becomes inevitable. It is a case of how fast we get there.

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In 2022 we will see the first major us professional sports betting scandal since 1919. Gambling has always been a part of American sport, since the white sox scandal of 2019. However, the convergence of readily available gambling markets, global betting, fantasy leagues and the ability to spot bet all make this moment where part of a game is thrown, the perfect storm. We have seen it with cricket and tennis. So why not in the us too? Our faith in the power of sport to represent a true level playing field is going be questioned. It will not be the power of next generation stats that do this, but something as simple as the after-effects of gambling on the participants is going to make this a reality. It will not be brady, but somebody will be tempted to spot fix and they will get caught. In 2022 our faith in a level playing field will be questioned for professional American sports not called Jai Ajlai (remember it on Miami Vice).

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In 2022 the subscription economy is here to stay. M.A.D. wins. We do it with Hulu, Amazon, cable, etc. You name it. The power of the subscription model is mutually two ways for the consumer (easy, dial up and or dial down) or for the vendor (dial up or change the offering completely). The currency is happiness for both parties. Mutually assured delight (mad). Every business should do this, but it needs a radically unique way of doing business (logistics, service offerings, accounting). If you do not ask yourself how you become a subscription business in 2022 you will fail in 2023. See how easy it is to send products back to amazon or to dial up or dial down other subscription services. In 2020 I interviewed one of the industries leaders in this area, Tien Tzuo of salesforce. This idea of subscribing to services and brands that delight may not be the common practices but given the ease to which you can dial up and don anything it is going to be the new norm and not the exception, because we expect instant one and instant off, instant delight and companies want new pathways to growth that their traditional thinking cannot get them. In 2022 the mad subscription economy becomes the buzzword for startups and company CEO’s looking to drive dramatic growth models. It is where digital transformation becomes a true engine for victory, both consumer and company.

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In 2022 a deadly virus makes us collectively more conscious about killing the planet, Thank you, Generation X and Z. Generation z have to be embarrassed by how their parents have collectively responded to the issues of global warming. According to pew research it’s their number one concern. We see constant mentions of code red from politicians and scientists in late 2021. It will take a virus to remind us of how fragile we are as a species and in 2022 we will see a concerted effort from us to focus on solving this. Fifteen years ago I did research on the power of green to change technology companies brand value (Greenfactor). Seventy percent around the world said true green behaviors would boost their desire to work with a brand. Well in truth their behaviors have not matched their stated intent. When we look again at the data the younger generation then (in their late teens were 60% more likely to do something about it. Now with gens X, Y and Z becoming more dominant we might pay attention in 2022 to doing some real things for the environment.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – NOVEMBER 01: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the opening … [+] ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 at SECC on November 1, 2021 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. World Leaders attending COP26 are under pressure to agree measures to deliver on emission reduction targets that will lead the world to net-zero by 2050. Other goals of the summit are adapting to protect communities and natural habitats, mobilising $100billion in climate finance per year and get countries working together to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Getty Images

It might be about embarrassing their parents and grandparents, but we need to start there to get real action to occur, and for it to handle quickly. Remember Boris Johnson saying at COP26 that there were no excuses for not handling climate change. In 2022 generation z will get angry about the world we are leaving them to handle and will force us to step up politically and practically. Greta Thunberg represents a generation of anger.

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In 2022 the grubby truth about Facebook becomes true. We stop blaming it for our own frailties. Traditional media giants are disliked because they become the story and not just tell the story. Hearst media, news international are good examples of this. They cannot deny what they do as it is printed on their paper or on their channels. Facebook or meta is a new challenge. Plausible deniability of their responsibility to filter fake and truth. It is really, really, tough to manage and we all realize this in 2022. Mark Zuckerberg can take a deep breath and keep smirking. Facebook does lose it is cool feeling just like other media or mediums and google and alphabet keeps on going because they understand the inherent risks behind owning digital media engines and what their new digital world responsibilities are. In 2022 name calling and finger pointing with Facebook declines as we realize our personal responsibilities to manage fake and true news at an individual level.

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In 2022 the workforce gets even more rewarded for its’ smarts. The great resignation changes shape. In a world where data rules, digital everything is common and the near instant application of intelligence to business models becomes the norm, smarts in people will get far better rewarded at work than ever before. The ability to learn, apply and frankly get rewarded quickly by the company will be the norm because people can and will move jobs fast (it can be virtual) if they are not rewarded, near instantly. This is an inevitable result of decades where labor has seen fewer and fewer benefits and suddenly, a new window has opened because you don’t need to move towns to take a great new job. In 2022 if as a leader you are not paying attention to rewarding the right behavior as it happens, you will lose your best people. Constant skill development becomes a practical necessity in 2022 for any leader because the consequence of not doing it will be felt faster than ever before. Just listen to the consulting industries greatest living guru John Kotter on this.

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In 2022 the idea that humans must feed AI power to protect the country becomes a stark reality. In a recent interview for Forbes futures in focus with the Air force’s first chief software officer (Nicolas Chaillan) he talked about the need to have hundreds of thousands of data scientists just in the DoD to counter the threat from China. Data is the new defense priority, yet we cannot find enough of them in the commercial world which pays three-time better salaries than the DoD will pay. This is a scary new reality that goes beyond an academic debate and one that affects the very heart and soul of our democracy. At what point in 2022 this becomes a public political debate is something we will not know till it happens, but the pressure and concerns are not going away. We need to find ways to convert people to this work as a defense priority in 2022. The great debate for national security in 2022 will be intelligence, cyber and skill shortage based.

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In 2022 health care systems are shocked into complete digitization, at long last. In The Digital Helix I interviewed a brilliant marketer in healthcare who told me that even patients wanted an Amazon like experience in their healthcare systems. That was 2017. It all sounded good and logical but clearly the systems were not shocked into real actions. It took until 2021 until all healthcare organizations recognized the practical realities of Covid-19 that they saw the power of shared records, near live sharing of data across systems (private and government) and with virtual healthcare as daily reality. The systems are now severely strained with over stressed human assets and a constant anxiety about another outbreak. Doing it marginally different is no longer a viable model. In 2022 healthcare leaders realize they must have to focus on digital transformation at a deep level or they will fail and fail in a very public way.

NEWPORT BEACH, CA – JUNE 20: Dr. Robert Louis, a neurosurgeon at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian … [+] in Newport Beach, uses Surgical Theater technology that enables a surgeon to digitally perform a complex brain procedure in virtual reality, on (Photo by Mark Rightmire/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Staff Photographer

This means more consumer apps to connect into measurement and management, more automation between systems, near complete record sharing in near latency free time from lab tests to the desktop of medical experts. In 2022 healthcare becomes digital for the first actual time. It must.

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In 2022 5G gets it act together for consumers and business. It was not its fault. Do you remember when the idea that 5G would explode was common? Most of us have not seen it as we ended up working from home for two years. In 2022 we get back to travel, commuting and going to events. Watch out because promise of 5G becomes very real for us as consumers as we look for have the type of bandwidth we got at home as we travel outside the home. Once you have it, once you experience it, you will not want anything else. The same will be true of business’s looking to get campus like access to its’ pockets of increasingly mobile workers. Again, it was not the fault of 5G, the world was not ready to experience it all. Think about where all this new infrastructure will explode in value from all this pent-up demand. Private 5G gets a hard kick start as companies look to mix and match humans and machines in factories, warehouses, transport systems. As we sort out supply chain issues, 5G becomes part of the formula. As we look to commute more, watching tv on the train or working as we commute and using zoom becomes more common. In 2022 5G delivers more than we expect, it is just a little late, but it had time to mature. The edge becomes real with 5G in 2022. Listen to Verizon’s leader, Srini Kalapala, on this and it was just a matter of time.

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In 2022 non-sovereign currencies become more than a curiosity. Ask Tom Brady. This is more a comment about the wider shifting sands of the global economy and a hardening of a lack of confidence what sovereign governments are doing for us. When Tom Brady does an advertisement for crypto exchange you know this has gotten serious. In 2022 the underlying conditions for crypto become very real. We are all living in virtual space, we should all be comfortable working in virtual currencies. Even Elon musk is playing with us here. We are consuming in small slices (in game features) and major companies from AT&T, PayPal, Starbucks, Esty, etc. Are accepting it. If 2021 was the moment that crypto came out of the dark, plus it consumes a horrendous amount of electricity, greater than all of Google, it also become part of the zeitgeist. Currencies work when they are more than a gamble and you can use it for everyday activities too. The Chinese government has banned it unless they do it. In 2022 crypto becomes very real as more and more companies accept it, can manage it through exchanges and increasingly see where it is going to go. New York’s new mayor wants to be paid in Bitcoin. Think about that as a new norm for 2022.

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Welcome to the fractional economy. Consumers invent new ways to rub shoulders with celebrity and fame, (NFTs and Wimbledon). We are all searching for meaning. The idea of touching celebrity or owning a tiny slice of it is not new. NFTs make this idea an unbelievably easy reality in 2022 for a lot more people. A tiny slice of anything extends the cryptocurrency idea to owning something. Imagine every athlete selling an NFTs on their Super Bowl winning jersey, the putter than won the masters, or an NFT of the racket that won Wimbledon. In 2022 this becomes a reality for tens of millions of people. The idea that many fractions are worth more than one whole is a new economic theme around partial ownership that allows people touch fame and rub shoulders with celebrity.

Ballet dancer Natalia Osipova poses beside a screen showing a freeze-frame image from a dance … [+] performance video at Bonhams in London on November 29, 2021. – Bonhams are to offer the world’s first ballet NFT (non-fungible tokens) entitled: “Natalia Osipova: Triptych”. NFT collectors, art and ballet fans are invited to bid for one long-form and two short-form performances in the collection. The bidding for the collecton opens on November 29 and closes December 10. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Get ready for the tiny fractional economy in 2022 for everything. It is simple. Imagine one million people each paying $10 to say, “I own a part of Aaron Rogers super bowl jersey” Just imagine the possibilities of the NFT world. Even a McDonald’s can be an NFT.

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In 2022 for content creators, it is about the portfolio of fun. One ted lasso is not enough. We all threw ourselves into binging tv in 2020 and 2021. Would ted lasso have broken through our hearts and minds in a normal world? Not, but the patterns are shifting for us all as the idea of destination tv (outside the NFL) become less and less common. We can watch things where and when we want (thanks 5G). That changes the collective chemistry of sitting around a sofa and watching a movie or a re-run of friends or Frasier. This makes it hellish for content creators as ritual no longer drives consumption. We can pop off or pop back on at will. The smart move for studios stars and directors is to sell or create a portfolio of entertainment ideas. In effect creating a net of connected or similar content that attracts and sustains our fragile attentions, Marvel and Chuck Lorre have shown us the way. Pitch ten films or four ideas and not just one. In 2022 we will see a new set of content giants who deliver sets of content to trap and entertain us become real. Get ready for it.

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In 2022 the richest .1% will disappoint us even more than before. Thomas Piketty’s book, capital in the twenty first century was wrongly critiqued for arguing that wealth in equality right now is worse than ever before. It is not that is worse, it is just increasingly seen as incapable of helping change the world around them that has facilitated that wealth. From the environment to economic and academic opportunity this issue is amplified with an increasing lack of faith or belief they can govern us properly and help. Maybe it is unfair to converge our views of the ruling classes with the money creating classes but when we constantly see billionaires flying friends in for birthday parties on private jets you recognize that the .1% drive 15% of global carbon footprint you have to recognize that tone deaf is no longer excusable. In 2022 the .1% get constantly hammered in every form of media and by most of the 99.9% of the rest of the planet as they increasingly look to lack any noblesse oblige at a time where it is less and less cute to be obscenely wealthy and do nothing with it.

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In 2022 CEO’s start living up to their corporate promises. Corporate governance has been banged around very badly over the last three years, #BLM, #Metoo, issues with the environmental impact of what companies make and their role in societal impact (or general reticence to have one). Some interesting ideas around healthcare are out there with positive signs (Citi Bank, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway). They are few and far between and. Covid-19 may have given companies more breathing space to do something as people worked from home and most companies in the us looked to hire more people, not less in 2020 and 2021. The idea of what work is and should be are being questioned everywhere. In 2022 CEO’s and other leaders need to re balance their view of their people and their world. They are not there just for immediate profit but to genuinely live up to their mission statements. In 2022 a new breed of CEO’s will not pay lip service to employees’ needs, their missions or the responsibility thrust onto them by the times we live in. The idea of transparency for all holders of the company’s equity (stock, jobs, customers, overall markets) will have an increasing and instant say on these CEO’s. In 2022 we will have more CEO heroes than ever before because the world needs it, demands it and is ready for it.

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Do you want a degree with those fries? In 2022 get used to a whole new employment model supporting employees’ ambitions. Low-cost labor in the us has been badly mishandled for decades. Long hours, poor pay, extraordinarily little life training or work skills. Yes, you could become a manager and work your way through a long labyrinth of job titles. In truth this idea has marginal appeal to most people looking for diverse and developing opportunities in a world rapidly changing with technologies (software, the cloud, AI). In 2022 far more companies than amazon and McDonalds (hoorah to them) will get the new relationship of labor and employer around education and professional life development. Employees will expect this. Employees understand the trade-offs and it will be noticeably clear to customers from the passion employees doing this bring to their jobs. As a CEO ask yourself if in 2022 you are going to lead that approach of funding or supporting the ambitions of your people, or if you hang back and wait.

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In 2022 dark factories become a distinct inevitability. There is no doubt that the idea of 24/7/365 factories run, supplied, and adjusted by machines is close to becoming a reality. These are not innovative ideas, but in 2022 there will be a collective recognition that labor shortages, adaptive manufacturing capabilities and customers demanding more and more customized experiences, integrated intelligent systems driven by digital feedback loops and re-programmable devices in the cloud means the near human free factory is inevitable in 2022. It will not be a promising idea. It will become a living reality. Imagine what the combinations of AI, automation and robotics start to deliver (together).

LAFAYETTE, CO – NOVEMBER 12:BEOMNI, a remotely controlled humanoid robot, navigates the hallways … [+] during a demonstration at TRU PACE Center in Lafayette on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. (Photo by Matthew Jonas/MediaNews Group/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images)

MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Imagine how we start to plan to work with a world where there is an 85% chance a factory worker has a co-bot assistant. In 2022 we will no longer have to just imagine this. Factories will be dark or will be co-bot dominated.

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In 2022 marketing becomes mostly machine and system driven. Look at what machines can do at chess. Seriously customers are smarter than the companies they buy from. They see the reviews, hunt for what they want, or check up on claims marketing makes in near latency free time. If we believe in a world of customer centric choice and a world where the volume of spend on marketing resources is shrinking, then it is inevitable that we need more machines help to succeed. Most marketing activities are not esoteric, or brand building based. They are certainly relationship based, communications orientated, and demand focused. However, algorithms will increasingly show marketing what to do, when to do it and at a base, level how and where to do it. This scares and excites me, but it is inevitable. Look at ai.artists.org for examples of where this can go. In 2022 a marketing algorithm will win a major marketing award (major one) for everything from creative to customer driven performance.

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In 2022 China becomes a clear public threat (AI, free speech, missiles, cyber, supply chain, etc.). There can be no hiding from the fact that China has a key role in the globe across a number of areas: cyber threats, economic strength (the largest automotive market in the world), natural resources purchasing, military investments and a lot more. The us and China make up 45% of the global economy on less than 15% of the world’s population. In 2022 the tension will become un-bearable as the complexity of this tension extends itself to government policies, trade as well as company’s abilities to work fluidly in both models. In 2022 CEO’s will need to make challenging decisions about how they handle China in the same way governments around the world will need to.

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In 2022, the car is dead, long live the automotive revolution. I love cars. I love the experience of driving and the sense of independence and honestly the status or coolness they can simply too. Well, I am no longer the mainstream. However, the automotive industry is going to radically change how it considers itself as being valuable. Heard of Rivian? Backed by amazon and a market cap on launch over $70BN? A hot company delivering specific trucks, SUV; s and an industrial automotive product. These EV’’s are the epitome of re-invention of a 130-year-old industry. We have all been obsessed with the idea of level five autonomy. That is a long way off, (sorry).

BERLIN, GERMANY – DECEMBER 16: German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt and Deutsche Bahn head … [+] Ruediger Grube sit in a self driving Bus during the presentation of a pilot project by Deutsche Bahn to demonstrate a self-driving public bus on December 16, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. The project is a collaboration between Deutsche Bahn and Berlin’s Technical University at the university’s EUREF campus. (Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)

Getty Images

However, autonomous vehicles in warehouses, campus environments, hospitals, truck trains, rail systems are going to go where we need them in the tens of millions. Thirty-three million autonomous vehicles will be on the road by 2040. In 2022 we realize that we have had to narrow a focus on the automotive industries exciting future. Much of what they build might only partly be driven by human beings. That becomes a common acceptance in 2022 as we experience and see autonomous vehicles in various aspects of our lives.

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In 2022 a lot of vastly different things will happen we have no idea about. It might be a chicken way to finish this set of predictions. Worlds after major crisis see dramatic un-predictable things happen. They are often mixed with the predictable (the twenty-one above). For example, our eating habits. Maybe we are open to eating insects. Maybe we are going to handle homelessness.

You can fill in the gap yourselves. Thank you for reading and find my podcast and other stories here on Linkedin.

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