2021 has been an… interesting year to say the least. Nowhere more so than in the world of business and finance. We’ve seen some ambitious (and let’s face it, frankly delusional) IPOs. We’ve seen CEOs abscond with funds. We’ve seen generations-strong companies crumble and just this month the destabilisation of a national institution threatened to bring the economy of one of the world’s largest countries to its knees. Add in a few billionaires heading to space and a heated up market for old dinosaur bones and, frankly, there was a lot to keep track of.
But, we can’t dwell on the past for ever. What good has that ever done anyone? No, now is the time to look to the future. To rub the sleep from your eyes and turn to the warm, sun-like sheen of 2022. A whole brand new year just teeming with possibilities, promise and adventure. And likely lots and lots of new Covid restrictions too.
Well, either way, we thought it would be a good idea to look ahead to the world of business in 2022. What trends will rise and which will fall? Who will win and who will lose? And how does any of this affect you? Join us, as we step into the future.
Science and technology will be even more focused on lifespan
An obvious one, this, but after nearly two years of a global pandemic it makes sense that investors and producers are doubling down on industries like biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and environmental sciences. Which is great for science, and great for us. When science makes great leaps forward like this, even your unvaccinated uncle benefits.
Ironically, drug development is one sphere that has seen a great leap forward, thanks to our efforts to come up with a Covid vaccine. Expect drug testing to continue evolving, and a greater exploration of A.U. tools and gene-testing tools leading to more nuanced treatments.
Blockchain will be everywhere
If you’ve heard about Blockchain but still haven’t got a clue what it is, all you really need to know is that it’s a type of efficient and secure online accounting tool that makes it easier to track transactions. Which, of course, saves businesses money and hassle.
Editors at inc.com point to data from the International Data Corporation which found that companies spent almost $6.6 billion using blockchain in 2021 – a 50 per cent increase on 2020. It’s a trend we don’t see slowing any time soon.
A.I. will take over
Not literally. Not in a Skynet sense. But kind of in a benevolent, making everything better way. (Or so we hope. “When I was a kid, I was fascinated with Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. The computer, HAL, could talk and make decisions. At the time, it was science fiction. Today, it’s reality,” writes She Hyken in Forbes. Due to the relative inexpensive of A.I. (especially conversational A.I.) Hyken sees it being adopted by small businesses in 2022.
We agree. With remote working booming more and more common and artificial intelligence becoming smarter and smarter it simply makes sense for more of the burden to be shifted onto A.I, especially if it reduces the human error factor. Just don’t tell Sarah Connor.
6G will rule
We may be waiting on 5G in the UK, but, as editors at inc.com point out, China has been researching G6 since 2018 and began legitimately testing it with the help of its major national telecoms chains in 2020.
Likewise, the US has invested a lot of energy in the sector. Again, with more of us working from home and putting more demands on our bandwidths, faster internet with a greater capacity for file sharing and Zoom calls without delays are the next logical step. Watch this space.
Keanu Reeves will be even more baffled by NFTs
While promoting his latest foray into the Matrix, Keanu Reeves was asked what he makes of non fungible tokens. The resulting footage of him laughing uncontrollably went viral. And with good reason. At the end of 2021, many of us are still non quite certain what an NFT actually is..
Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the last of them. “In 2022, we are likely to see NFTs everywhere…NFTs are part of the digital economy and are becoming mainstream because they allow people to own something that represents a part of something bigger than themselves — a piece of art or a character, for example,” write the editors of Inc.
The whole thing sounds a bit like the panic that the kindle would replace IRL books, or that minidisc players would replace vinyl. Clearly, this wasn’t the case. But whether NFTs stick around for good or remain a novelty, they’re definitely going to get more popular first.
Corporate wellbeing will be at an all time high
Answer us this: Why would you get up at 7am every morning then commute into a busy city centre to sit in a bland office with people you don’t really like only to spend most of your time being patronised/undermined by your boss?
Until the Covid pandemic, this was a lot of people’s realities. It was the way working life was, and the way it would be. Covid changed that. Suddenly we were all working from home, wearing what we want, with Netflix in the background and a bowl of cereal on our desk.
To coax us back to the office businesses have had to make it worth our while, with a new focus on actually making their employees happy. According to a survey by Simply Business, 36 per cent of those surveyed said they felt positive about the future of their business while 31 per cent were confident about their business’s ability to adapt to new conditions. Wearing your PJs in the office may be a step too far, however.
Bonus: We’re all going to care more about the planet
Or we should do, if we don’t want to melt by 2030. There was a lot of talk around COP26 about what needs to be done, and once again, the Covid pandemic put our impact on the planet into sharp focus. With fewer cars on the roads or planes in the sky for a short time nature was allowed to recover and more of us started asking questions about our impact on the planet.
With that in mind, we can expect to see increased investment in the renewable energy sector in 2022. This sector had a huge boost during the pandemic; according to the International Energy Agency, 40 percent more green energy was generated and used in 2020 with this trend due to continue into 2022.
Less of a prediction this one, than a necessity.