Skip to main content
Back

Cultural Currents

Dynamic and evolving cultural shifts and trends that shape the world we live in.

Trust & Integrity

Amidst the evolving unknown of data security, decentralisation, privacy and truth in media, trust becomes all the more important.

KEY DRIVERS

Social

Fake news.

Trump Paradox.

Algorithm bubbles.

Technology 

Pervasive technology.

Blockchain.

Data security and privacy.

Digital identities.

Economic

Decentralisation.

Crypto-currencies.

Alternative payment & business models.

Inequality.

Political

Desire for honesty in the wake of corrupt establishments and dishonest organisations.

Why it's important:

Trust, especially with regards to data, has become ever more critical. Many of the services we use give us little control over what they do with our data. We acquiese because we don’t see the harm in handing over our data and indeed don’t feel we can do anything with it. But as the Cambridge Analytica scandal demonstrated, increasingly, those who have the most data and the capabilities to wield it, have the most power. As businesses collect and retain more data, people will turn to those who are  transparent, give them control, and protection from malicious intent.

Audacious Change

Through the recognition that social, economic and environmental challenges are systemic and need to be addressed as such, people are looking for daring approaches to effect true, transparent, inclusive change.

KEY DRIVERS

Socio-political

Widening inequality gap, decreasing social mobility. 

Political polarity.

Desire for transparency.

Failings of the democratic-capitalist system.

Technology

The internet as a platform and agent of change.

New business models.

Economic

Capitalism as an imperfect system.

Effect on the environment.

Environment

Climate change.

Drive for sustainability.

Why it's important:

Audacious change recognises that our largest social issues are largely driven by a political and economic paradigm that people have become disillusioned with. After years of being 'conscious consumers', people are demanding change, from everyday products to structural shifts. Businesses can no longer sit on the sidelines, as people are expecting businesses to be proactive and engage with relevant issues. Business practices and models must adapt, not only to align with customers’ values but as a moral imperative.

The Optimised Self

The optimisation of body, mind and consciousness to maximise what we can enjoy and achieve in life.

KEY DRIVERS

Social

Ageing society & youth obsession.

Search for happiness.

Shift to a holistic, preventative view of health.

Influence of Eastern philosophies of wellbeing.

Technology

Scientific advances enabling us to live longer.

Rise of mobile and internet-base health services.

Economic

Baby boomer spending power.

Governmental need to reduce financial burden of unhealthy, sedentary, ageing populations.

Why it’s important:

Wellness has become an important facet of people’s lives as they look to fitness, food and spirituality as mediums for achieving or ‘doing’ wellness. People are looking past consumerism as a way of seeking enjoyment and towards fulfilment through the expansion of their mind, body and consciousness. It is crucial for businesses to understand that people’s wellness-based motivations and needs reach well beyond the gym, yoga studio or juice bar and into many other facets of life, whether the daily grind or a higher consciousness.

Superdiversity

Communities are becoming more diverse, combined minorities are becoming the majority and countries are prioritising celebration, understanding and inclusiveness of different cultures and value systems.

KEY DRIVERS

Social

Demographic change.

Migration, tensions and refugee crisis.

Addressing inequality.

Technology

Ease of global communication.

Global influences.

Economic

New world order, shifting geo-political power.

Migration.

Socio-political

Changing power dynamics as a result of growing middle classes.

Resurgence of far right. 

Terrorism, war and refugee crisis.

Immigration tensions.

Why it's important:

Changing geo-political power, local demographic shifts, a globally attuned audience and an ever stronger equality movement are requiring businesses to self-reflect on their own biases and assumptions, and the role they play in celebrating diversity and promoting inclusivity. This cultural shift offers an opportunity for brands to become part of a rapidly progressing landscape in a rich, positive and meaningful way, where actions are as important as words.

Gender Freedom

Traditional, limiting expectations and notions of gender are being challenged, blurred, ignored and neutralised.

KEY DRIVERS

Social

Freedom to choose to have families and a career (contraception).

Technology

The internet allowing like-minded people to connect.

Economic

More women gaining education, entering the workforce, and becoming significant economic forces.

Socio-political

Growth of liberal ideology, and continuing civil rights movements advocating for equality regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

Why it's important:

As gender and sexuality are increasingly viewed as a spectrum, businesses need to adapt to the varying relationship dynamics, family structures and the way we express ourselves as we move past gender binaries. It's important to have an inclusive and empathetic lens or voice. This is especially important with Gen Z who have grown up in diverse households and are the least tolerant generation towards sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia. And in connection to Work Revolution and Audacious Change, a rethink on how we (under)value the labour of care and economic implications is gaining traction.

Work Revolution

A re-evaluation of how we work and want to live our lives, on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution.

KEY DRIVERS

Social

Growing health crisis (stress, obesity) linked to the work system.

Lifestyle change and a search for purpose.

Entrepreneurialism aspirations.

Technology

Internet, AI, machine learning, robots and emerging technologies.

Decentralisation.

Increasingly online business models and DIY platforms.

Economic

New business models.

Labour efficiencies.

Social mobility and a widening equality gap.

Talent shortage.

Environment

Sustainable ways of doing business.

Why it's important:

Workplace purpose and flexibility come to the fore as organisations undergo human-centric transformations to attract employees with fulfilling roles. Technological advancements in the workplace are changing businesses’ internal practices and systems to empower their employees, clients and customers through sustainable and/or new business models. And while fears of automation uprooting traditional work roles exist, technology may also allow us to focus on reshaping the workplace to be more inclusive and equitable.

 

a.daptation

The evolution and conflict of the connected self as technology becomes essential to how we function.

KEY DRIVERS

Socio-political

Constant connection.

Citizen activism.

Democratisation of communications.

Technology 

AI, VR, automation and other emerging technologies.

Convergence.

Ubiquity.

Economic

Labour efficiencies.

New business models.

Environment

Solutions for environmental issues.

Why it's important:

The way people interact is ever-changing as technology augments our everyday interactions, experiences and the way we view relationships. Technology plays a larger role in our lives and the rise AI, machine-learning and automation is making people question how they might navigate the future world of digital connection. Businesses need to understand the nuances of these digital platforms, technologies and mediums and adapt their practices to find meaningful ways to engage with customers. Businesses and people alike will also need to reframe how they view communication and experiences as technological advancements and integrations shift and mould how we interact.

Urban Inhabitants

Cultivating quality of life as urban areas expand rapidly.

KEY DRIVERS

Social

Individual and societal well-being.

Changing demographics.

Widening inequality.

Technology

IoT, AI, automation and driverless vehicles.

Economic

Migration.

Housing crisis.

The need to build high quality of life cities to attract talent and income.

Environment

Pollution, climate change and sustainability.

Why it's important:

People are beginning to realise that the notion of a white picket fence may not be a reality in this current climate. The housing crisis, migration and moves towards urban wellness are influencing impressions of city life and ever growing urban areas. Wherever you live, human needs for belonging, connection, safety, health, novelty and stimulation remain, with businesses and organisations playing a role in understanding and meeting the needs of urban inhabitants.

Make It

The ability to learn, create, connect and source at scale enabled by tools and platforms on the internet.

KEY DRIVERS

Social 

Self-actualisation, purpose and learning.

A shift to openness and collaboration.

Technology

Emerging technologies and internet platforms.

Ease of communications.

Economic

New ways of earning income.

Entrepreneurialism aspiration.

Why it's important:

People are becoming more proactive in upskilling to achieve their personal or business goals. Entrepreneurial aspirations are becoming more widespread, especially with Gen Z and Millennials. Businesses can either engage, facilitate or empower the entrepreneurially-minded to succeed and grow their craft or monitor the space to stay on-trend or beyond.

Golden Age

The breaking down of traditional notions of what 'older' or 'retired' looks like as the population ages.

KEY DRIVERS

Social

Populations are living longer and healthier than ever.

Age irrelevance on the internet.

Technology

Scientific advances enabling us to live longer.

Economic

Baby Boomer’s consumer demand and spending power.

Why it's important:

Led by rebellious Baby Boomers refusing to adhere to traditional expectations of what 'older' means and boosted by technological and scientific advancements in health, medicine and care, people are becoming less pigeon-holed by their age. Age offers new options and experiences. Rather than shutting them down, this provides businesses with the opportunity to become part of a new journey for people to learn, enjoy, connect, have adventures and follow their passions.

Beyond

The shift to a post-materialist experience-oriented culture, where people seek more meaningful ways to live fully and stretch themselves beyond.

KEY DRIVERS

Social

Decline of religion and the search outside to fill the existential gap.

Technology

VR/AR creating new experiences. 

Technology overload.

Economic

Peak stuff – money, work and material things are no longer enough.

Environmental

Return to nature as the cradle of significant experiences.

Why it's important:

People are shifting away from materialism and consumerism as a means to satiate their existential needs. While the last decade has promoted meaningful and purposeful experiences as an alternative to wasteful or meaningless consumption, people now expect more from their experiences – those that offer some sort of transformation or self-evolution. Technological advances also offer a means of new and innovative experiences but businesses need to be wary of not overwhelming customers with technology. Businesses need to understand their role in this changing dynamic and landscape, how to be enablers of transformation, not just producers of more stuff.

Nature

Bringing nature back into our lives as we seek equilibrium for the planet and our wellbeing.

KEY DRIVERS

Social

Holistic wellness.

Nostalgia. 

Technology

Digital backlash. 

Economic

Consumerism and industrialisation backlash.

Post-growth ideology.

Environment

Climate change and natural disasters.

Urban lifestyle.

Pollution backlash.

Why it's important:

Sustainability should be embedded in any company today. Customers are looking for businesses to be leading forces for change, to provide them with the solutions that help them minimise their impact on the planet, while still creating convenience in their busy lives. Whether this is a radical rethink that makes life easier or a quick switch to smarter, greener affordable solutions, people are open and ready to reward businesses that can facilitate this.

Stay in touch!

Sign up to receive our latest thinking straight to your inbox each month.