WEFestival NYC: The top 10 future trends you should look after.


I fully agree with the “Entrepreneur” article. The New York City Women Entrepreneurs Festival (WeFestival) is one of the few events still worth attending. I was fortunate enough to be there this year.

Focus, the 2015 keyword.

Conversation is the format.

Celebration, the mood.

Diane Von Furstenberg inaugurated the first evening: every sentence she told was an authentic life lesson. This post is dedicated to the speech performed by Erica Orange Vice President of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc., a leading futurist consulting group.

Looking back to the Macroeconomics Bias, we will notice that we were in the Agricultural Economy for 10.000 years, in the Industrial Age for about 250 years, in the Post-industrial Era for 50 years, in the Information Economy for now almost 25 years. The course between the stages of the economy it’s becoming shorter and shorter: we are experiencing a compression of time. It’s driven by technological change. Happening at exponential rate. The new technologies are having a big impact on conversions: improved efficiencies in markets, things becoming commoditised, profit margins are shifting. In many cases it means that we are not any more able to make money on all those things we were able to monetise in the past.

Recession or transformation?

2008 was a key milestone to understand future trends. 2008 was the black year, the year of the recession. The economic shift became endemic, it started restructuring the entire landscape. Someone would see only the caterpillar, someone else will be able to see the caterpillar that is turning into a butterfly.

Where people are spending their money? Where jobs have been created? What is driving this new economy? Those are the questions to which the futurist consulting group would like to answer. They found out 10 major growing areas supporting the economy we are moving into. We may not have flying cars, self-tying shoelaces and Xray vision as pictured in 1989 “Back to the future”, but we are moving from a linear and tangible evolution to something intangible and not linear. A set of disruptive technologies intended to be combined and recombined in an infinite loop in order to create newer and newer disruptive changes leading us to the “metaspace economy”.

  1. INNER SPACE: understanding what technology makes to us. We are living the neurification of everything. Neurofinance, Neuroeconomics, Neuroadvertising. We can know how brands resonate to the brain. It will drastically impact consumer studies, business intelligence, market researches. Privacy and security implications will be profound.
  2. DESIGN SPACE: it will be the most important differentiator in the market space. Design and design thinking will become a must have skill for managers. Everything will have a design aspect. Ergonomic, safe, consumer friendly, female friendly, culturally designed. It will affect every level of the organisations.
  3. PLAY SPACE: gamification. Levelling up, rewards, prizes all gaming structures you can use to attract and keep consumers. Millenials and youngest generation love it. It changed already the office space -Google and Facebook, as usual, were pretty ahead! We will see more and more studies about the effects of playing and rewarding on the brain.
  4. MICROSPACE..or better  BAANGFUEL: bits, atoms, antimatter, neurons, genes, frequencies and vibrations, ultra and intraspectral energy and light. All the evolutions related to nanotechnology, new materials technology, 3D printing and 4D printing. Compression of time applied to technology in action: few years ago 3D printing was known by few experts. Now 3D printing is becoming democratised, open and commoditised: prices are dropping down and we 3D print food, body parts, electronics. It’s one of the largest frontiers out there. We are fast moving into 4D printing: an emerging area of research which involves nanobots with the ability to self replicate, transform and self assemble on their own into a pre-determined form. Advantages could be impressive: no manual labour, faster, cheaper, printing larger objects in a smaller volume. A company called Nervous is experimenting 4D printed jewellery and dresses. Check out 4 printing explained on Pinterest.
  5. GREEN TO BLUE SPACE it describes a spectrum of activities from “Doing Green” to “Being Green” to “Being Blue”. Doing Green is now expected and obvious, not anymore a competitive advantage. The goal now is Being Green: successfully, authentically holistically leveraging the value proposition of Doing Green. It means to scrutiny how the product was produced, where the material was sourced, who built it, how it was shipped, which packaging was used…its entire holistic framework. An example? Greenbutts. The problem: 5 trillion cigarette butts –  over 30x of the total garbage collected- become litter every year, the synthetic filters they are made of are resistant to degradation. The solution: Greenbutts literally transform litter into flowers. They produce cigarette butts made of cotton and seeds: when you throw it away the seed will go into the Earth and flowers will grow. The ultimate goal for companies? Be Blue. Blue is the colour of the Earth when you see it from the space. Blue means putting back in the environment more than what you took in the first place. Brooklyn is becoming blue: vertical gardening and vegetables on rooftops. We will see companies leap frogging from Doing Green to Being Blue.
  6. INTERSPACE all the new nets that use the architecture from the Internet. For instance IoT: the smart home, the smart car. Ecolingua is the new word to describe what is happening: devices talking to each other without human intervention. The ecology of language is moving away from just person to person interaction, it’s focusing on smart things talking each other. The shift is from who is talking to WHAT is talking.
  7. STORAGE SPACE  we are running out of room to put our stuff, which is why the personal storage business is one of the fastest growing in USA. Nowadays 54% of people lives in cities, this proportion is expected to increase up to 66% by 2050. We are also running out of room to store our data. We are operating in something called the Yotta sphere, million of trillion of megabyte. Housing people and data will be a critical issue for the future.
  8. OUTER SPACE diving deeper into space, quantum physics, uncovering the mysteries of the Universe.
  9. TIME it will be the resource to be the most in higher demand and in shorter supply. Time is going to move from being linear and sequential to be multilinear and simultaneous. Virtual reality permits us to live many lives at once and have multiple personalities. Life trajectories, the stages of careers are no longer linear: you can have a set of micro careers and life trajectories. The whole notion of retirement is under review: older people are reinventing themselves. Timimplosion: the implosion of time in smaller chunks. Collaborative consumption is becoming massive. The sharing economy represents a tremendous value shift: from ownership to valuing in access. It’s all about access now: people want what they want immediately. The sharing economy is creating a set of new micro part-time jobs for the middle class like being a Uber driver or renting your flat with Airbnb. Also the concept of generations that last 12-15 years, demographically based should be rethought. Bucketing people in Millenials or Gen Z is no longer mirroring the reality. We should bucket a generation in small chunks of 2 or 3 years.
  10. CYBER SPACE not only what is happening with the Internet, but also with MMOG (Massive Multiplayer Online Games) and virtual reality. Oculus Rift headset was just the beginning. Immersive virtual reality experiences could potentially transform everything: how we learn, how we communicate, how we date, how we get work done. The boundaries between what is done in the virtual space and what is done in the real world are going to be completely blurred. Two major weaknesses are holding us back from claiming to be fully in the virtual reality age: the sense of touch and the sense of smell. Those senses can’t be replicated (yet). Too difficult since closely tight to memory –  Google Nose was a nice trial…of a funny April’s Fool prank. Last but not least: the democratisation of finance and the digital, virtual and alternatives currencies. Not only Bitcoin, there are already over 70 currencies in circulation and in the future we will have hundreds more.

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