What 3 Top Futurists are Predicting for 2021 and Beyond

What to expect in a post-Covid world

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What will a post-Covid world look like?

3 top futurists believe they have the answers but what do they know that we don’t?

, a leading trends expert states that there are 4 key things that top futurists do:

  1. They focus on trends, not fads. If a fad is a like a wave, something that is fleeting and on the surface for all to see, then a trend is the tide, the underlying factor causing the waves. Futurists look at the tides as they are the biggest indicator of what is to come.
  2. They look for signals. Signals are small developments happening on the margins. For example, AI taking over humanity hasn’t happened yet (phew!) but chatbots on every website are now commonplace. If they can answer 90% of customer questions now then it won’t be long before they are taking over customer service jobs in the real world. Futurists look for these signals to see what they are leading towards.
  3. They watch for emerging patterns. Signals and trends help futurists spot emerging patterns. For example, where newspapers used to be the main force behind political influencing, now it’s social networks. These signals nod towards what may be on the horizon.
  4. They create expert communities. Rarely, can one person predict the future. Futurists, therefore, rely on a community of experts to provide them with global knowledge. Take NASA who regularly ask the public to assist them in developing the technology of the future. The more brains you have the better able you are to see what’s coming.

So, if this has convinced you that futurists may just be on the pulse of change then read on to see what to expect in 2021 and beyond.

Rich Karlgaard

Forbes publisher, futurist, award-winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and author. Economic and business innovation thought leader. Clients include IBM, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, and Capital One.

A boom in entrepreneurship

If the past is anything to go by then 2021 will see ‘survival entrepreneurship’ accelerate.

Back in the 1970s, business was bad; the stock market crashed, gasoline prices quadrupled and presidents resigned. But entrepreneurs thrived in this decade as we saw the rise of Microsoft, Apple, FedEx, Oracle, and Charles Schwab.

The current pandemic has seen unimaginable unemployment rates, especially amongst youths. This will lead to many starting their own businesses from the ashes of a post-Covid world. Expect to see the billion-dollar companies of the future formed within the next few years.

Say goodbye to unicorn startups

There are more than 500 unicorn startups (a privately owned startup valued at $1 billion or more) around the world, however, their success largely relies on a rising stock market.

Private investors typically hedged their bets on the fact that unicorns had potential not that they would necessarily make a profit. But, in a post-Covid world with a falling stock market then investors are likely to beat a hasty retreat.

Without funding, unicorn startups will become what their name always suggested: just another myth.

Nikolas Badminton

An award-winning international futurist speaker, author, researcher, and media producer. CEO of Exponential Minds. Clients include Google, NASA, United Nations, and Microsoft.

Social media shifts

There will be mass migration from Facebook and Twitter to . Following suit will be video creators who leave YouTube for alternative platform .

Parler — a social network of free expression, without violence and no censorship. A large user base of Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, right-wing extremists, and conspiracy theorists. Free speech without being ‘de-platformed’.

Rumble — a rights management video platform. Trump supporters shifted to this platform en-masse during the Biden victory due to reports that they felt persecuted on traditional media platforms.

In an uncontrolled, unrestrained, and unmonitored online world there will be more freedom but at what price? Governments will need to find ways to control this shift if it is not to get out of hand.

Only a few weeks ago there seemed to be confirmation that Nikolas’s prediction may be right.

On November 11, (CEO of Rumble) tweeted:

“Parler is sending Rumble more referral traffic than Facebook/Twitter combined. Dependency on them is now a thing of the past. Next up, Rumble will dethrone YouTube.”

Watch this space.

Gerd Leonhard

Futurist, humanist, keynote speaker, author, and film-maker. CEO of The Futures Agency. Clients include IBM, YouTube, WWF, Google, and Visa.

The big American healthcare pivot

Privatized healthcare in America as well as other countries will decline dramatically as governments invest heavily in public healthcare.

While the poor handling of the Covid-19 crisis is the main trigger for this dramatic turn, secondary factors include an intensifying spotlight on inequality, climate change, and the need to move away from corporate capitalism.

Affordable healthcare for everyone will need to be made a priority if governments want to avoid future medical catastrophes.

Another benefit that will arise from this pivot is the huge potential to create thousands if not millions of new jobs in the public healthcare sector.

Home-working is normalized

The pandemic changed work from a place people go to a thing people do.

research shows that 84% of companies encouraged or required staff to work from home, and 74% say they intend to keep some employees working remotely.

Gerd argues that while this shift may have been necessary it is too abrupt and has required rapid adaptation. While remote working will become more normalized, there is likely to be a trend in people wanting to return to the workplace to establish much-needed social connections.

It remains to be seen what the results of this dilemma will mean for both employees and organizations.

English literature & creative writing grad. Editor @ The Startup + Curious + Blank Page.

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