It’s 2021. A new decade off to a distraught start (with lockdowns).
It’s also the time of year when experts are busy sending out the fruits of their analyzing, uncovering, connecting and interpreting. My inbox has been filled to the brim with predictions and forecasts. In recent years, you would have found an Email from me, too, trying to decipher the emerging patterns for business and self.
This is not that kind of Email, I have to disappoint. Although I did begin laying out observations and theories, and structuring my insights a few weeks ago, I couldn’t seem to bring them into a coherent or specific narrative.
As 2020 drew to a close, the thoughts in my mind increasingly took not the form of a text or linear story, but individual words, somehow inter-independent of each other.
Maybe this new decade needs a different approach. After all, if 2020 hast taught us anything, it’s that the old way of doing things is past its prime (yes, it’s been said more than once already).
The expiration date on so many things has been reached – from fashion business models (from linear, maximum profit to pseudo-circular fashion), to work environments in general (remote work and side hustling).
But 2020 has also shown us that there is no linear or singular progression of events or developments. A vast diversity of approaches opened up and scattered across the digitally connected globe in nanoseconds. I heard, saw and read so many different stories and points of view last year. I was uplifted amidst our collective solitude.
I feel this diversity will be transported into 2021 and will cross-connect various fields and individuals more strongly. A creative and conceptual cross-pollination of sorts. I already see collaborations forming across greater divides – from brands to individuals. Everyone is looking beyond their well-defined village and experimenting with new ideas, forming new creative tribes that are diversely inter-connected, like many neural pathways.
We don’t wear one stamp anymore. Everyone is more than just a creative/engineer/manager/artist/producer/employee/freelancer. The sudden shock of solitude has birthed many creative seedlings across many cultures. So much positive (and disruptive) potential sprang forth in 2020. And I believe people’s appetite has been wet for more.
This new courage for experimentation (fueled by easy distribution of social platforms) will not be haphazard as in the past. Activism is giving way to more mindful, deliberate action. Although mindfulness or consciousness have been widespread for quite some time, last year it grew from an individual concept of self to a business attitude. A thoughtful, deliberate approach can become efficient and effective in a more long-term capacity. Re-actionism is a (albeit slow) down-ward trend.
I look forward to this new flexibility we are already experiencing (probably mostly in our working environments at the moment). I look forward to shaking my brain a bit and creating new habits of thinking and living.
And I’m curious to the positive results of collective creativity, uprooting conventional business models, re-prioritizing and re-focusing how we spend our time and energies, who we spend them on and with, and what we expect from our environments and outcomes.
But mostly, I look forward to not predicting (which we can’t do anyway, not even the most experienced of us) but taking more time to structure and share observations with the greater collective, incorporating more points of view before they become insights.
Because if there is one thing I do feel capable of predicting, it’s the forming of a collective smartness and stronger communities of multi-faceted thinking.
The Social Animal by David Brooks stimulated and entertained my brain during the holidays. Findings from neuroscience, sociology and psychology research woven into the life story of two characters, Harold and Erica.
For anyone who wants to know the scientific facts but needs a little context and storytelling to get them through the dry stuff – my reading tip for you this month (and exempt from your minimalist-purge project, please).