22 Predictions For 2022, And Why This Is Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point Year
From not caring about Facebook, to AI driving our worlds, automation taking over, crypto currency getting real, the EV reality we have all hoped for takes off welcome to the reality of 2022. But wait because there is so much more.
There is an inherent danger in writing predictions within a month of the end of the year. Sudden shifts are not normal for the world. However, we are experiencing them at a rapid and almost un-predictable pattern. Covid’s latest variation, the Omicron variant is going to be an extensively talked about by the time we all read this on December 31st, 2021. The delta variant feels like a distant historical event now. We can witness history or help change its’ course. 2022 is a tipping point for stepping over that witness line to participating in sculpting that future.
If you have not read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Tipping Point, please do.
It’s exceptional, fast, and thought provoking read. He talks about epidemics, the laws of the few, connectors, mavens, and the power of context to change, stickiness factors and the power of how we think and act. For most of the time, most of the time, we do not collectively live in what he calls an epidemic. He defines epidemics as events like the cabbage patch dolls, FUBU clothing or Michael Jackson. You can recognize the epidemics you might have experienced. They will vary and have short windows and tend to only affect sub- populations. He does not talk about real epidemic, he does not talk about epidemics that affect whole populations, the globe. It is too shocking for him to have thought about.
2022 is going to be a tipping point for every one of us, because the world we live in has all of Gladwell’s characters from connecting events to maven events, massive context change, and stickiness factors everywhere. The tipping point is defined as the moment of critical mass, the threshold, and the boiling point. It is the point when everyday things reach epidemic proportions. These twenty-two predictions are combinations of each of these components. Recognize which ones are going to be epidemics you will experience.
2022 is the tipping point to mass automation. Labor shortages, cheap capital, and a desire to buy transformation with one sweeping move trigger it as a business core. The heading says it all really. A continued shortage of white-collar labor, retail and blue-collar labor forces the move to automation as a strategy and not just a process. In many businesses, we have reached the point where incrementalism in process changes will not deliver the growth outlook needed to deliver shareholder returns. Look at McDonalds with Siri, the self-serve scanners at amazon stores or even 100% digital ticket experiences at sporting events (even the Green Bay Packers). Name a company that does not have automation as an executive mandate for 2022. In 2022 automation will be a management strategy and a driver of decisions for a full range of investments from HR to marketing, software development, even services companies deliver. It will be as important a point of differentiation as any of Michael Porters five forces as far back as 1979. You can read the original HBR piece here.
In 2022 AI starts to consciously direct our lives. We have had the shock of Covid-19 to force us to adjust to the need to build more automation, faster decisions for near instant delivery. Pick any industry, food retail, healthcare, the internet of things, 5G networks, software code development or cyber security software. Ai is going to sit at the heart of the logistics, operational models and even core processes in these industries as over 99% of tasks can be conditionally programmed around combinations of choices. Look at how Instinet works in the financial markets with over 95% of all transactions and trades happening without human interactions. That means a vast amount of the stock market that we have our retirement accounts managed are managed by algorithms. There are now whole industries whose growth will be dependent on ai to do the base thinking for it, cyber secure, retail logistics, insurance risk modeling, software development as we all want to be software companies. In 2022 we will be surprisingly amazingly comfortable with this as we each get to see ai handle our medical records, make purchase decisions and run ever more complex and stressed supply chains with algorithms.
In 2022, EV hits the tipping point as the new possible norm. We will not be driving combustion engineered vehicles in forty years’ time. Nobody would dispute that fact. At some point the world must truly turn that way. Ars technica quota a study in July 2021 that over four in ten of us would seriously consider an EV for our next purchase. We tend to overestimate the speed of transformation; but underestimate the magnitude of the changes when they happen. I am betting that 2022 is that tipping point moment. We might be at that point of shift to underestimating the magnitude of change. Big fleets are going electric (hertz and tesla), major brands like ford, Toyota, Nissan, gm are advertising their EV offerings. Re-birthed companies (Volvo) will be 100% EV. EV has entered our collective psyche, our wallets our advertising and now it has momentum. The automotive industry is still struggling with this idea in the movie “the other guys,” Will Ferrell is a police officer driving a Prius.
By 2030 this becomes the car chase reality in Hollywood for the fast and furious twenty-four. But right now, EV’s are becoming a more common platform not just for cars but autonomous vehicles systems all around us. In 2022 ev becomes inevitable. It is a case of how fast we get there.
In 2022 we will see the first major us professional sports betting scandal since 1919. Gambling has always been a part of American sport, since the white sox scandal of 2019. However, the convergence of readily available gambling markets, global betting, fantasy leagues and the ability to spot bet all make this moment where part of a game is thrown, the perfect storm. We have seen it with cricket and tennis. So why not in the us too? Our faith in the power of sport to represent a true level playing field is going be questioned. It will not be the power of next generation stats that do this, but something as simple as the after-effects of gambling on the participants is going to make this a reality. It will not be brady, but somebody will be tempted to spot fix and they will get caught. In 2022 our faith in a level playing field will be questioned for professional American sports not called Jai Ajlai (remember it on Miami Vice).
In 2022 the subscription economy is here to stay. M.A.D. wins. We do it with Hulu, Amazon, cable, etc. You name it. The power of the subscription model is mutually two ways for the consumer (easy, dial up and or dial down) or for the vendor (dial up or change the offering completely). The currency is happiness for both parties. Mutually assured delight (mad). Every business should do this, but it needs a radically unique way of doing business (logistics, service offerings, accounting). If you do not ask yourself how you become a subscription business in 2022 you will fail in 2023. See how easy it is to send products back to amazon or to dial up or dial down other subscription services. In 2020 I interviewed one of the industries leaders in this area, Tien Tzuo of salesforce. This idea of subscribing to services and brands that delight may not be the common practices but given the ease to which you can dial up and don anything it is going to be the new norm and not the exception, because we expect instant one and instant off, instant delight and companies want new pathways to growth that their traditional thinking cannot get them. In 2022 the mad subscription economy becomes the buzzword for startups and company CEO’s looking to drive dramatic growth models. It is where digital transformation becomes a true engine for victory, both consumer and company.
In 2022 a deadly virus makes us collectively more conscious about killing the planet, Thank you, Generation X and Z. Generation z have to be embarrassed by how their parents have collectively responded to the issues of global warming. According to pew research it’s their number one concern. We see constant mentions of code red from politicians and scientists in late 2021. It will take a virus to remind us of how fragile we are as a species and in 2022 we will see a concerted effort from us to focus on solving this. Fifteen years ago I did research on the power of green to change technology companies brand value (Greenfactor). Seventy percent around the world said true green behaviors would boost their desire to work with a brand. Well in truth their behaviors have not matched their stated intent. When we look again at the data the younger generation then (in their late teens were 60% more likely to do something about it. Now with gens X, Y and Z becoming more dominant we might pay attention in 2022 to doing some real things for the environment.