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December 16, 2021

December Trends to Watch

4 min read
By Maryam Mohamedali
Looking for inspiration, trends, and rumblings that could impact our industry?

To celebrate the approaching end of 2021, we wanted to share 3 trends that are particularly close to our hearts at TST. This month’s list is important to us because it exemplifies a future that we wish to create. It’s a future in which we continue to learn from the youngest among us, learning becomes increasingly democratized, and we respect and revive the people and cultures that came before us.

Here are your December trends:

 

1) YOUTH AWAKENING

From ravaging to reckoning.

Having entered teenage-hood in the age of life-limiting, global issues such as the climate crisis, young people are taking ownership over conjuring the kind of world they want to live in. They’re taking entrepreneurial and digital-led mindsets, securing themselves financially  and becoming activists.

There’s also a growing acknowledgement that other generations have a lot to learn from this age group. To promote a future of inter-generational dialogue, marketers are creating content to encourage older audiences to learn from their young counterparts.

 This trend is being driven by…
  • Shifting demographics: For the first time, children of colour comprise more than half of the total US youth population. It’s become clear that the global population is evolving. We’re passing on our habits, mindsets and social values to the most diverse generation in history, and some are being accepted, while others are being questioned and rejected in favour of the global good.
  • Youth Activism: Faced by global-scale, complex issues, young people turned their anxieties into action, speaking out on matters of concern including the climate crisis, racisms and inclusion. Think Greta Thunberg, Naomi Wadler, Malala Yousafzai.
One thing you can do to be ready for this?

Create opportunities for facilitated, multi-generational interaction in the workplace. This could be anything from a training session wherein multi-generational groups workshop a solution to a problem, to informal gatherings where ideas are shared on a particular topic. Aim to get people to see something from different and new perspectives.

 

2) CO-LEARNING SPACES

Beyond Co-Working.

According to Seeking Alpha, half of nine to twelve year olds in Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada play either Roblox or Minecraft. Alpha and young Gen Z normalise conducting life entirely in digital and immaterial spaces. The immaterial, or digital, is where they play, socialize, learn, buy and sell. Increasingly, it’s also where they study; young people are live streaming themselves while studying in an effort to motivate others. This is making way for the next generation of co-working spaces which will aim to facilitate co-learning.

 This trend is being driven by…
  • Involution: Involution is a buzzword that has been popularised in China over the last year. It began in universities as a way to describe the excessive workload every student has to face in the battle for competitive grades. It’s now being used to reference China’s productivity-obsessed, rat race culture. This signal sheds light on a tension faced by young people: they’re motivated to work hard, but acknowledge the imbalanced work-life they’re inheriting.
  • Disrupted world: According to research carried out by UNiDAYS, 43% of UK students own cryptocurrency. This age group are safeguarding their futures from economic uncertainty and turmoil by approaching their personal finances with caution, pragmatism and a view to the longer-term. Our disrupted world fuels the Alpha and Gen Z desire for learning and growth.
One thing you can do to be ready for this?

In addition to formal, facilitator-led learning, create opportunities and spaces for Early Talent to come together and learn with each other. This could be anything from spaces in which to engage in unplanned co-working and learning, to planned sessions in which they workshop their way through a self-led process together to learn about it.

 

3) INDIGENOUS AWARENESS

Working toward reconciliation.

We’re witnessing a restoration of indigenous practice into daily life. This is happening in cities through engaged co-design, music, film and sport. We can view this trend as an exemplification of an increasing desire to reconcile with past decisions. In other words, we have a growing concern for doing the right thing, and we can see this especially with the rise of diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging agendas across organisations globally.

 This trend is being driven by…
  • Conscious Citizenship: One in five children aged four to sixteen don’t know that steak, sausages and ham are meat. This is largely due to the growing number of vegan and plant-based parents passing their values and mindsets onto their children. This occurrence is another indication that people are becoming increasingly conscious of the impact they have – in this case, on the planet.
  • Belonging: Having a diverse workforce does not itself lead to an increase in an organisation’s effectiveness. In addition to pushes for diversity and inclusion, there’s a growing interest in the view that belonging is an outcome of successful D&I initiatives. And when people feel like they belong, they are more productive, motivated and engaged.
One thing you can do to be ready for this?

Find opportunities to recognize people and openly acknowledge how everyone contributes to great work. Pay particular attention to where people’s contributions are under-recognised. Do this with consistency.


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