2021 unwrapped: the best insights from this year to inspire your next

As we turn the page on another year of hopeful uncertainty, we reflect on the many ingenious ideas and innovations that took root despite of – and in response to – global challenges. In the past year we’ve empowered people, transformed work, improved sustainability, prioritised health, and kept people safe. As we collectively plan for what’s to come in 2022, let’s use the successes and lessons from 2021 as a launching point from which we build a positive human future.

1. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of adaptability: it's time to build to evolve

The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and social unrest have upended what was once seen as the status quo. Across all industries, organisations are under pressure to adapt faster than ever, or risk being left behind. Too often, however, legacy systems, processes and methodologies hamper efforts to grow and adapt to changing market demands. We’ve identified three key actions to make rapid evolution possible: flexible processes, adaptive planning and review cycles, and creating a culture of learning.

Learn how to create an agile, adaptable organisation >

2. Innovation is accelerating. Here’s how to keep up with the pace 

Technological developments are advancing faster than ever, with innovations that would typically take years, now being released in weeks. To keep up, organisations must align their work to a purpose, convene a diverse team of experts, embrace collaboration, and learn from past mistakes. Developing life-changing technology is an art, but with the right process, even the most ingenious ideas can be scaled at pace. 

3. What is Cyber Security Culture and why does it matter for your organisation?

Our ever-connected world, combined with the fears and anxieties generated by COVID-19, has created a greater need for increased cyber security. With remote and hybrid work now the norm, organisations need to ensure their workforces adopt safe online behaviours. To do this, they must create a Cyber Security Culture.

Learn about Cyber Security Culture and how to implement it >

4. Today's traditional organisations are the platform leaders of tomorrow

While tech companies are often seen as platform leaders, traditional businesses as diverse as John Deere and Sephora are finding success using platform models to improve operations and build community among their audiences. For other large, traditional players to succeed, they must define the opportunity, address audience needs, and develop the right capabilities to quickly scale. 

Learn how traditional companies can create successful platform models

5. Why we need out-of-the-box thinking on sustainable packaging

Currently, 79 per cent of the 300 million tonnes of plastic waste created each year ends up in landfills or the natural environment, and only 9 per cent is recycled. To combat the issue of plastic waste, the Plastic Tax in the UK and Europe will penalise organisations that do not conform to the new requirements. To find packaging solutions that are both sustainable and effective, brand leaders must determine which packaging traits are necessary for each application to find the right material for every need.

Learn how to choose sustainable packaging materials for each application >

6. The need for multiple perspectives when electrifying the future

Annika Viklund, CEO of Vattenfall Electricity Distribution discussed her role in the Swedish Electrification Commission (Elektrifieringskommission) and the importance of the grid perspective when expanding the electrification of the nation.
“To succeed in electrifying industry and the transport sector, we need a holistic approach and a joint roadmap for the whole of Sweden,” she said. “The transition means a societal change that will require tough political decisions and extensive resources, and it is therefore crucial that we all agree on the way forward, for both production and distribution.”

Learn how we can assure the success of electrification in transport >

7. Inclusive leadership: helping leaders find their VOICE

For businesses to succeed in the modern world, they must prioritise building social value alongside financial returns. Prominent social justice movements have highlighted the need for greater diversity and representation across all areas of an organisation, and especially among leadership. These and other trends showcase the importance, and the benefits, of creating inclusive environments.

Learn how to create an inclusive environment to empower the next generation of leaders >

8. Cell and Gene Therapy in 2040 

With a projected market of $14 billion by 2025, cell and gene therapy represent the next frontier of personalised medicine. Using advanced scenario planning and insights from biochemists, engineers, healthcare experts, materials scientists, and more, we’ve developed four potential views of the future in this space. By understanding and anticipating upcoming trends, we can shape the future of cell and gene therapies. 

Learn the six steps healthcare leaders can take to shape the future of healthcare >

9. Experiencing the future through virtual reality

Across the public and private sectors, organisations face an incredible challenge to keep pace as innovative technologies, societal trends and climate change create new threats and opportunities. By exploring possible futures through virtual reality simulations, we can prepare flexible strategies, build organisational resilience, and plan for growth in any outcome.

Learn how virtual reality is helping to shape the future >

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