Future Report 02, general
6 Purpose Economy - Power of the Companies
The internet and digitization became the birthplace of a new generation of huge worldwide companies. Corona accelerated digitization which in turn accelerated the power of these international megacorporations. Realising some companies have a larger revenue stream than some full blown nation states, you can truly understand how much power they have accumulated.
These new powers have arisen in a time where the digital world barely has rules and laws. Many laws come from an era before the internet or have not been properly adjusted yet. This gives the big players control over the internet and its users. They are able to act like outlaws in the wild west, creating their own rules and playfields to maximize their profits and influence. They can do whatever is in their interest and whatever boosts their profits without regard for impact on society.
Consumers are well aware of the problems in the world. Inequality, environmental issues, forced labour, etcetera. When a consumer feels that a company uses their power to solve specific problems in the world, they will be more inclined to choose their products. Consumers choose products that line up with their beliefs. They vote with their wallets on products like they would on a political party. To a consumer, it’s okay for companies to make money as long as they use their power, or even some of the profits, to make a positive impact on the world.
The same awareness is there from the companies themselves. They are realising there are more urgent problems that need to be solved. They realise they can use their power and profits to potentially change the world for the better. Some companies are most certainly trying to change the world for genuine intents. Whether it be within their core business or as a side project (NGOs), some companies are proving they are determined to solve issues that governments won’t tackle. However, not everyone’s intents might be as it seems. There may be a big conflict of interest as these huge companies are garnishing more power and play an even bigger part in our daily lives, even crossing into political territories.
The purpose economy is becoming mainstream. It results in companies playing a major role in societal matters and issues.
The New Question
We are getting confronted with the fact that large companies with no democratic system, who are not there to protect and serve the people, are playing enormous roles in world issues and societal issues. They are there to make profit and gain as much power as possible to maximize these profits.
Corona once again has been an accelerator in this process. It has exposed that the intentions of companies aren’t always clear and certainly not in the interest of the people. Who is truly in charge at this time? The government, or big companies?
Altogether, corona has accelerated digitization which in turn gives big corporations more power. The purpose economy causes them to mix in with politics, combined with their huge profits they gain a lot of influence. The shift of power from governments to companies is going to become a hot discussion in the coming years, and will play a big part of how our society is structured and organized in the decades of The World After.
7 Fear of Exclusion
Inclusion is the word of the decade it seems, where everything that was previously deemed as excluded is now on full show on the catwalks, in advertisement, or in tv shows and movies.
This results in a society where we are forced to watch our words carefully and include anything where possible. This kick backs into an opposite reaction, because everything has to be included, we are creating a fear of exclusion. The more we try to include, the more people realise some things are left out. It is inherently impossible to include everything, which leads to exclusion.
The example of the rainbow flag perfectly demonstrates this. It was a symbol people could identify themselves in, no matter who or what you were. It stood for something abstract. With the recent addition of skin colours, the abstractness is thrown out the window. The more things we try to put on the flag, the more people feel excluded. A feeling of ‘why is x on the flag, but not y’.
This is amplified by (social) media, which can often be heavily focussed on trying to create a fuss over anything said in the media by celebrities or companies. Everything can be spun into a way where exclusion is highlighted.
It creates an anxious culture where even if you have the best intentions and beliefs, the things you say or show could be manipulated later. As a result big companies start to check everything they say or publish. Creativity suffers and speaking up in any way is silenced.
It is no secret that our society has a rough history with exclusion of certain races, sexes, genders, or disabilities. We have to talk about this history and overcome it. If we do not break out of this anxious culture, we are actively blocking the discourse we need to have to move forward into a better society. One where inclusion is a realistic goal. As society looks for this goal more and more start to realise how to get there.
8 The Divide
During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic we all got together to defeat the virus. The government, the people, NGOs, and the businesses. At first society was prepared to live a life dedicated to eradicating corona at all costs. We all tried to contribute no matter how intense it could become. Companies joined in, social distancing, wearing facemasks, closing their stores, or working from home.
Slowly but surely however it became clear that some companies and NGOs benefit from the coronavirus pandemic or its resulting lockdowns. Government interests and their involvement with businesses and NGOs that benefit from the coronavirus pandemic has also been questioned.
Many different opinions exist on these benefits. No matter which opinion you carry, it is clear a divide has formed. Society has been divided in two camps, pro-corona-policy and anti-corona-policy. Families are split up, jobs are lost, friendships have been broken. Some are starting to lose their trust in governmental institutions, national healthcare, businesses and NGOs related to corona.
This divide so far has been a business taboo for those not related to corona directly. Speaking out against the corona policies was risky, we would rather ignore the issue than to be ostracized as a business. Of course customers could be lost but more importantly, business relations could sour and internal teams could be broken up. The issue remained unspoken for a while.
Now that some countries have started excluding unvaccinated people from the work floor the divide has gone from social to fully entering business life. How are other companies relating to an unvaccinated CEO? Or an unvaccinated client that is bringing in big profits?
At the same time consumers are starting to choose companies that line up with their beliefs and opinions on the corona policies. Just like in the purpose economy, consumers will vote with their wallets like they would on a political party.
The divide is inevitable and only growing. Choosing which side you are on could be critical for your business. On both sides, loyal customers are there to support your views. However, the exclusion of the other party could be detrimental. Realise that with a rapidly changing coronavirus situation, the public opinion shifts rapidly too.
The divide is only going to grow. The dilemma of ‘which side are you on’ is going to be a typical 2022 business issue.
The immeasurable is part of the new DNA of The World After
Spirituality is a broad concept with many differing views. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, the connection we have to the immeasurable and irrational. The connection of our minds with the universe.
Pre-corona our minds were focussed on materialism, numbers, and science. Religion lost its appeal. Our feelings and beliefs were seen as something immeasurable or irrational, which had no place in business life. Just before corona hit we saw a revival of spirituality with yoga as the biggest example.
Corona has given people time to reflect on their lives, and it empowered them to spend more time with nature and the universe, during a time where they needed this empowerment to overcome a difficult and lonely time. This means the revival of spirituality that was formed before corona got accelerated like crazy. This is just the beginning of a new conscience, one where materialism and data are on the same level as spirituality and the immeasurable. We see many different spiritual beliefs as people empower themselves with what they deem necessary for them in these trying times. Meditation, manifestation, personal empowerment, intuition, or high energy to name some. Corona was the catalyst that has rebirthed spirituality for many of us, and gave back an ‘irrational’ part of our lives we now fully support.
Spirituality will become a part of daily life, especially for the newer generations. It is going to enter business life, which might sound strange for some. However when everyone becomes more spiritual, even the clients, a more spiritual approach to business and marketing will make sense. It will change the way we run our business, as our teams are more spiritual and so is the mindset on which they make their decisions.
Spirituality is an add-on to all the numbers that lead our businesses. The data, the algorithms, and science will continue to exist and play a big part in our decision. There will be extra room for the immeasurable, the irrational, our feelings and beliefs. It is not going to disrupt the existing systems, it’s an extra approach or vision. An example could be businesses taking horoscopes into consideration when taking decisions, similar to business in China.
The trend of spirituality is sometimes not understood, just how sustainability and purpose economy were once not understood.
Female empowerment will result in the feminisation of society and feminisation of men.
With more women in business, the men started taking over traditionally ‘female’ roles, such as pushing the pram and cooking. As a generalization, men are starting to appreciate a more sensitive approach. The man becomes more female, in emotion, and also visually. In contrast to the last decades where females had become relatively more manly with short hair, and manly clothing (especially in business).
This all falls on top of the corona pandemic, which gives our life more of an emotional overtone empowered by spiritual development; a more female vibe.
LGTBQ+ acceptance is everywhere and the third gender becomes a recognized state of being, even by governments. We see the rise of the third gender in a time where all genders are starting to have less differences between each other. The clear line between male and female has blurred into a spectrum. A spectrum with a more female touch.
We will start to see men with a more female mindset, which also expresses itself visually. We can see men in skirts, pearl necklaces, make-up, and ruffled shirts. History proves us that nothing is new, so even if it feels weird right now, it’s just because we have been used to a different society before this.
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