Anticipating directions of change for the near future 2022+, I have identified four cohorts with opportunities for design and concept development.
During the Anthropocene era humans have been the dominant force shaping the planet. In 2020 the amount of anthropocenic mass exceeded the weight of all global living biomass. We are entering the Post-Anthropocene era. What does it involve?
It is time to shift the focus to more than human design, long-term thinking and regeneration of the planet.
The main theme 2022+ is the movement from human dominance towards Co-existence. It is about design for both human and non-human. During the pandemic it has become clear that there is interconnectedness between systems of nature and human. Coexistence is a more systemic approach following i.e. Symbiotic thinking and ability of living together, most often for mutual benefit.
STEEP analysis is a common tool that uses external factors influencing trends to predict futures. I have used three levels of change from macro and mesa to micro in order to understand their impact and spot opportunities.
STEEP (= Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Political)
Assess potential impacts of the issues in each STEEP category between macro (structural forces), meso (shifts in social or group behaviour) and micro (shifts in values and attitudes).
The big picture of Impact analysis in each STEEP category reveals clusters of emerging signals of change. Together with trends they form cohorts with shared characteristics.
DRIVERS of CHANGE
In each cohort I have identified two main drivers of change.
The image below presents the outcome of analysis revealing four Cohorts and main Drivers of Change:
ECONOMY + ECOLOGY COHORT
is about the end of capitalism that has caused climate crisis. It is recognising planetary boundaries for growth and the need for social essentials for all.
DRIVERS of CHANGE
Planet & People First ->
Shifting to long-term thinking and Design for future generations
COHORTS/ Opportunity mapping
to anticipate future possibilities
OPPORTUNITY MAPPING deepens understanding of opportunity dynamics. There are several ways to practice mapping techniques. They explore language and trends in relation to power systems. They also reveal social order.
A simple way to use mapping is to start from the desired outcome based on the impact analysis and work backwards how to get there.
Co-existence as a desired outcome
Image below is a summary of four cohorts with Drivers of Change and two opportunity areas for each cohort.
SOCIAL DIVIDE COHORT
is about growing inequality and disruption
DRIVERS of CHANGE are
Participatory bottom up approach to reverse polarisation
Need for accountability and action
Common ground => New platforms of engagement
Cultural democracy => Everyone should is able to contribute to culture’s creation and evolution
This is just a small example of an outcome used by following STEEP analysis method. The initial research is always including a wide selection of trends and their impact across industries.
Next phase after STEEP analysis is to develop cohorts further towards scenarios that guide design and concept development.