Over the course of my time as a futurist, I have well, found? Invented? Diagnosed? several trends.
And that’s where it starts. What is a trend anyway? Let’s be honest, trends are often a verbal make-a-wish. They can be anything from small (microtrends) or very large (megatrends) to complex (metatrends).
Marketing likes to cash in on clever-sounding trend words, which then sound hollow pretty fast. That’s why many years ago I distanced myself from “trend naming”.
Still, I always enjoyed it. To name to the unknown, to fill the “semantic gaps” of our perception – does make sense. It frees the head in the direction of new thinking. Here are some such words that I may not always have “invented” directly, but that I have “fertilized”:
If ecology in the classic sense of being “green” is filled with so much guilt and fear, how could the concept of ecology develop into the future? This question led to the concept of blue ecology in 2014. The assumption is that we are entering a new epoch in which the two factors, RAW MATERIALS and ENERGY, no longer define the finite shortages, but are available IN FULL.
|Old »green« ecology||New »blue« Ecology|
|Resources and energy are existentially scarce||Resources and energy are basically infinite|
|Nature is delicate||Nature is a resilient system|
|Humans disturb the sacred, delicate and harmonious nature (Gaia hypothesis)||Humans are part of nature|
|There are too many people||People are wonderful|
|The earth is a closed system (spaceship)||Earth is an open system (adaptive self organization)|
|Change comes from guilt||Change arises through possibilities|
|Crises are signs of destruction||Crises are self-corrections of systems|
NEW ALCHEMY makes it possible to “design” more and more molecules from more and more molecules, which also makes the garbage and recycling problem look completely different. All garbage is raw material, and therefore raw materials are never really scarce. Renewable energy will be available in abundance in a few years because the costs of solar and wind (and all emerging renewables) are falling (even today, LED has made light ten times more energy efficient). This changes the scarcity paradigm of ecology.
Combination of facts and activism. One can tease the truth out of the world with contextually well-prepared data and change consciousness about the future. See the wonderful book FACTFULNESS by Hans Rosling (who passed away in 2017) and his family (I contributed a bit to the creation of this title).
Available at Amazon: www.amazon.de
This term is a bit older, but I try to explain it to make it accessible in its various dimensions. Economically it means that global production processes and products are more and more adapted to the regional. This brings us to the notion that we can be both home seekers AND global inhabitants of the planet? Why can one not speak in an international language and in dialect, love one’s home country (even one’s adopted home) and roam the world? One who plays “home” against “foreign” creates a dull province. Home only makes sense in the context of a larger world context. Home differs from the “wide world” in that one is immediately recognised and understood there.
Although I did not invent the term (data guru Hans Rosling did), it is a great one. I am often asked why I am so optimistic, or whether we don’t HAVE TO BE pessimistic! Hans always answered that same knee-jerk question with: “I am Possibilist! I think a lot is possible!”. That’s the only attitude to the future that you can really make progress with.
The balance between ONline and OFFline. More and more people are suffering from their addiction to networking, from the terror of constant connectedness, which can damage our social bonds and has sometimes taken on pathological forms in social media. OMline is the state where I’m at peace with myself and my apps (and emails and Siris or whatever)
A combination of ecology (Ökologie) and Catholicism (Katholizismus). I noticed that the ecological mindset is often about feelings of guilt, acts of indulgence (»Trendbuch 1«).
At the turn of the millennium, WELLNESS became the overarching marketing concept. It quickly moved from the hotel and cosmetics sector to other product areas. There were even wellness socks, wellness salami and wellness dog food.
As a defiant answer I formulated the word “SELFness”. This is not about pampering and relaxation, but about trying to find oneself and feel better. The term had a medium success (there were even some SELFNESS hotels). Today, selfness has evolved into the mindfulness movement.
A form of moderate and socially recuperative individualism: We all want to find ourselves and to realise and assert ourselves but can only do that in the context of relationships/affiliations. This trend has been going on for a pretty long time, and the first time I wrote about this was in 1997 in »Trend Book 2« (in German), where I said, “After the culmination of the EGO era, our culture is on the search for soft forms of agreement.”