What does 2050 look like?

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Published:  October 15, 2012
Taby Taylor-Ziane
What does 2050 look like?

Landor Associates recently hosted the second of its Wake up with Landor breakfast sessions, predicting the future of brands in 2050 with the launch of the A to Z of Future Trends. Director of Strategy at Landor, Taby Taylor-Ziane outlines the key points from the session.

We are in the midst of a paradigm shift – socially, politically, economically and technologically. The world is changing at an unprecedented rate. Where is all this change taking us? And what impact will it have on business and on brand?

The futurists tell us that in 2050 the world’s population will be nine billion and the population of Australia will be 42 million (almost double what it is today). Another somewhat daunting prospect is that technology may supersede human intelligence (expected to reach human intelligence in 2025). Apart from potentially competing with robots for your job, or living with your parents forever due to lack of space, what could this mean for business and brand in 2050? Perhaps we can take our cues from trends that are happening today and imagine where they might take us in 2050.

A sketch of the Super-Village (as described below)

Artisan is a trend that is mainstreaming at the moment, the keen appreciation and desire for the aesthetic in all areas of life. It’s about craftsmanship, beauty through authenticity, and appreciation for the unique, the real, the one of a kind. Although there are many food and beverage artisan brands out there (Single Origin Roasters, Sonoma Bakery), this mainstream trend has impacted on the sort of experience people expect way beyond the bakers and the café. As it continues to grow, where will it take us? Will we see the death of the supermarket? Whilst big value stores will stay, the middle market will fade away, it will be about niche or value. Artisans will be the new celebrities. Artisan butchers, bakers and candlestick makers inhabit the same space, a hybrid Super-Village denoting the middle age bazaar fast forward a millennium, where celebrity artisans take the place of most supermarket brands.

What will happen to the supply chain in 2050? You can already buy a 3D printing machine for your home and even print food. What if there is a thingomatic in every high street? With vending machines that can print your hearts desires manufacturing becomes everyone’s game, people pay for your ideas not your physical product. So what does this do to brand? It becomes purely about the ideas and the intellect and is freed of the physical product.

A sketch of the Thingomatic, as described above

The linear concept of business will probably be dead by 2050. As knowledge is the new status symbol, Entrepreneurship will be the new liberal arts. Everyone will be an entrepreneur. We will all run our own business, but business will look very different whilst the artisans of the super-village will be our celebrities the rest of us will multi-skill up and flex and flux between a variety of roles. What impact will this have on brand? The rise of curator and aggregator brands will be key to help us all navigate the plethora entities out there.

Some say we are in the digital age, well the lines between real and digital  have already started to blur, creating a Virtuality universe. Google’s augmented reality eyewear and mobile wallet embody the real blurring of these boundaries. So in 2050 will retail banks even exist? Will real money exist? Or will we invest in our network, create local currencies and keep everything a bit more on our own terms not the banks?

In a world of no traditional banks, where artisans are celebrities and we are all multitasking entrepreneurs what does this all really mean for business and brand in 2050?

In 2050 business and brand will be driven by two things People Power and an Ideas Economy.

By people, I don’t mean consumers, I don’t mean employees, I mean people, real, holistic people and people power is about those real people getting together, connecting with each other to create the world they want.

An ideas economy will see the value of ideas increase over the physical product. We will all have to produce ideas, just as those before us have had to produce goods and services and we will be fairly rewarded for our ideas as the people power of the marketplace will dictate the right price.

Yes, we’re in a time of great change, but this is going to take us to a place where people and ideas rule and as a part of the creative industry, I can’t think of a much better future to look forward to than that.

Sketches supplied by Landor.

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