Embracing Uncertainty


We are moving away from certainty and this could be a very good thing.


As we enter the second decade of the second millennium, we find ourselves in a world that is unpredictable and changing daily, challenging the learned logic of conventional science and culture. By 2022, many of the principles we have long held true will no longer apply. Here are three major movements you should have on your radar:


  1. Decolonisation

  • Age-old political systems will be questioned and transformed, while national boundaries will be pushed to extremes. History itself will need to be rewritten from other points of view
  • Western-centric standards and measures of excellence will be challenged and growing cultural self-confidence will give rise to a creatively diverse era of innovation in everything from product design to food. Chefs from across the world will decolonise ingredients and cooking methods to reclaim ancestral diets. Sean Sherman, the Native American author of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, is putting pre-colonisation food back on the menu at the Indigenous Food Lab, his new restaurant and training centre in Minnesota


  1. De-Materialisation

  • Science and technology will advance at an even more mind-bending pace and established facts will be disproved with each new discovery. This will be led in part by quantum computing, whose functioning is based more on probability rather than certainty. It takes apart the simple binary 0s and 1s of traditional computing, instead embracing multiple states, multiple 0s and 1s simultaneously- – not even computers will be binary
  • Material goods and human services will disappear daily into the shiny rectangles of our smartphones. We will see the de-materialisation of design. Driven by the rise of gaming and social media, the digital fashion and interiors industry will clothe and house our multiple virtual identities. Led by digital fashion brands Carlings and The Fabricant, we will see people increasingly purchase digital clothing, eliminating material waste and expanding the possibilities of self-expression


  1. Made in Nature

  • Most importantly, our planet will continue to send signals that it can no longer absorb the human activity and products we have charged it with. Bio-materials and biophilic design will lead product and material innovation as brands and consumers seek sustainable design solutions, such as the beautiful 100% natural iridescent pigments by Tardy, Klockars and Yau, who have developed coatings from nanocellulose as a sustainable alternative to toxic coatings and metallic foil
  • For bio-design, proof of concept will mature into proof of sales. Full Grown, a company which slowly grows trees into the shape of furniture, will harvest its first chairs for online, direct-to-consumer sales in 2022.

The most important point here is that the focus will be on working with nature, in nature and for nature.


In the quantum era, we know that reality can change depending upon the position of the observer, and this means we will seek new metrics for measuring wealth, excellence, identity, happiness, beauty, and even time, as time affluence will be just as important as financial affluence. While these changes can be destabilising, they will open up an abundance of new opportunities, allowing new voices to be heard and new solutions to emerge. It’s time to embrace uncertainty.


Want to discover more Future Innovations trends? Download a sample report.



Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.

WGSN Insider Bulletin

Big data meets consumer insights, Experience WGSN.

Related Stories

The pandemic pet boom: giving brands paws for thought

Naturally Brilliant Colour at Kew Gardens

Beauty brands prepare to step into the metaverse