Cultural Trends Every CEO Needs Watch in 2020

We are living in an era of unprecedented change. Technology is revolutionizing every area of our lives – from the way we communicate, learn, travel and work to how we socialise, exercise, shop and get entertainment.

At this year’s Fast Forward Forum in Venice, some of the world’s brightest minds got together to discuss what comes next. So, as we approach the end of 2019 and start a new decade, we asked them what the cultural tends we need to start to watch out for in 2020 are.

Lucie Greene, futurist and global director of The Innovation Group at JWT Intelligence

The eradication of traditional life stages. We are shifting towards radically individual experiences of adulthood. People choose to stay single, get pregnant in their 20s or 50s, or launch a company in their 60s. Traditional life stages are in flux and there are no rules.

The role of the city in society will also change. Creatives can’t afford to live in a city like New York which is three times the average cost of living. Creative hubs won’t be in cities which have become corporate and extreme in wealth disparity and are no longer the cultural melting pot they once were.

Travel will change. It has defined aspiration for the last decade and is the fastest growing area of luxury and the ultimate aspiration of lifestyle and success – but climate change will force us to find different ways to unwind besides travel.

Sandra Matz, computational social scientist & Professor at Columbia Business School

Echo chambers will become a lot more real. In the next decade we will see the emergence of contact lenses that will track what you are seeing 24/7 and present you with personalised information – maybe suggesting you enter a coffee shop you pass because one of your friends is inside. This will mean each of the worlds we see through are contact lenses are completely different.

Sunnie J. Groeneveld, entrepreneur and one of Forbes ’30 under 30’

In the last decade, we had a buffet of technological opportunity. We were figuring how we can use the new technologies. In the next decade, we will begin to look at which kinds of technologies we actually want to use and which will make a difference.

We will look at implementing certain kinds of technologies to create a better work experience – automating the boring parts of work, enabling the workplace to be more flexible, moving between units or receiving training in different organisations.

Heimo Hammer, CEO of the Kraftwerk group and the co-founder and host of the Fast Forward Forum

The last 10 years saw the rise of smartphones. In the next 10 years, they will disappear and we will find other solutions that are more data-driven and personalized. We will have to choose the right technical option out of millions.

Moran Cerf, Professor of neuroscience and business

The meaning of death will begin to change over the next decade. We will begin to move to Human Version 2.0 where we download our memories into a computer when we die. This will change the definition of human death.

Shafi Ahmed, ‘the world’s most-watched surgeon’, futurist and innovator

Now that there is so much new tech in the world, the next big question will be how we can use it to improve wellness. We are fast approaching data-driven healthcare and it is an exciting time to be alive in medicine and tech. The next decade will hold personalised medicine and treatment plans, and an AI interface or hologram being our first point of contact.

The contributors to this article are the co-authors of new book Fast Forward Files: Change of Perspective, out in February. For more info visit

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