Creating Tomorrow: transformational trends for your business

12 need-to-know areas of innovation


The 12 need-to-know areas of innovation that will transform industries in 2022

In my last post, I wrote about the drivers of change shaping our world in the coming years. This week, I turn my attention to the need-to-know areas of innovation that will transform industries in 2022, and their implications for business and culture.

The WGSN Future Innovations Index deep-dives into 12 different innovations, all mapped against our STEPIC methodology, which analyses changes across society, technology, environment, politics, industry and creativity.

Highlights include ‘Pre-Futures’ – the move from consumers to embrace alternative knowledge systems – and ‘Speculative Futures’ – also known as the practice of imagining new futures to act on the present.

For product designers in particular, the ‘tactile internet’ is one of the most important innovations to watch. By 2022, our forecasters predict that we will not only see and hear virtual experiences, but feel them as well, as haptic technologies help us navigate through worlds of increasingly mixed realities. Scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have already developed a soft wearable skin that could enable users to ‘touch’ objects in virtual worlds, with applications from medical rehab to VR. Made of silicone and electrodes, it can conform to the wearer’s shape, such as wrapping around a fingertip, to provide feedback in the form of pressure or vibration.

But designers will also have something else important to grapple with: dematerialisation. As mindsets shift to prioritise social and environmental good over economic growth, 2022 will see the rise of limitarianism, and a questioning of what ‘enough’ looks like.

The innovation that most interests me personally, however, is the Pleasure Principle. Essentially this is challenging the notion that doing the right thing has to be inherently unpleasant. We expect activists, nutritionists and policymakers to work hard in the coming years to equate living well with living pleasurably, appealing to pleasure to incentivise behavioural change – a welcome message for those who’ve struggled through Dry January or Veganuary.

In summary, in an uncertain world, there are bold and exciting patterns of innovation already breaking through, paving the way for positive change in 2022 and beyond.

You can read more in the report available to download below.

Recommended read: WGSN Insight

In Future Innovations 2022, WGSN identifies 12 need-to-know areas of innovation that will transform industries in 2022, and their implications for business and culture. Explore these innovations so you can future-proof your business in an age of uncertainty and embrace all the possibilities that beckon.

On the road: Mallorca

Friends are beginning to ask for recommendations for summer holidays, and I’ve suggested Mallorca’s Bikini Island & Mountain Hotel to three in the past week alone. Despite running a trend forecasting company, even I don’t think I’ve ever bedded down anywhere quite so absolutely on-trend.

Product of the week: Sanatio Naturalis Precious Oil Treatment

There’s nothing hi-tech about Sanatio Naturalis’ facial oil, it’s just a brilliant, organic, botanical oil. I’ve swapped out my regular moisturiser for just a few drops under foundation every morning.



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