People are more aware. They know and care about issues like mental health and wellbeing, climate change and sustainability, and about how their actions impact on the world. They don’t want to be defined by what they own or their jobs—they are looking to define their identities in more ‘liquid’ ways. As conscious consumption grows and the focus switches from ‘me’ to ‘we,’ companies need to take note.

These two trends are captured in two Fjord 2020 Trends, namely ‘Liquid People’ and ‘Life-centered Design.’ Both are relevant to FS organizations.

Dr. Martens boosted profits by 70 percent when it introduced a vegan range of footwear made from synthetic material.

Design for all life

We’re all adjusting our balance, so design will need to shift its emphasis in response. User-centered and human-centered design was for one; life-centered design is for the entire planet. The ideal is a sustainable and desirable product or service that also makes business sense. It reflects the changes Fjord outlines:

Desirability was once all about what’s in it for the customer; nowadays, it’s about what’s in it for the customer and their collective causes across the political spectrum.
Feasibility was governed by material or digital production and consumption; increasingly, it’s governed by life cycles of environmental and societal impact.
Viability used to be shaped only by short-term return on investment and shareholder value; more and more, it’s being shaped by contribution to broader purpose in the world.

The iconic shoe brand Dr. Martens offers a great example of this ideal—it boosted profits by 70 percent when it introduced a vegan range of footwear made from synthetic material. Elsewhere, global architecture firm Snøhetta has developed Powerhouse, a super-efficient building that generates solar energy for the neighboring community, producing twice the energy it consumes.

How will these two trends impact financial services?

Winning brands help people navigate their ethical anxieties about consumption by delivering alternative engaging experiences.

For years, the application of user-centered and human-centered design has separated people from ecosystems, says Fjord. Now, designers must address people as part of an ecosystem rather than at the center of everything. This means designing for two sets of values: personal and collective.

The trade-offs between desires and convenience will need to be managed carefully.

Winning brands will be those that help people navigate their ethical anxieties about consumption by delivering alternative engaging experiences, says Fjord.

For FS talent and organization (T&O) professionals, the question that must be asked is: how do we adapt our HR and talent vision and processes to build a workforce capable of developing products and delivering services that fit both personal and collective values?

Answering this question is complex. As the business begins to apply ‘life-centred design’ principles, T&O can help lead and/or enrich FS strategy. It will require rethinking and embedding a strong strategy-aligned business culture.

I hope you have found this series useful. I look forward to Fjord’s trends every year and these have not disappointed! Please do contact me if you would like to discuss the impact of these trends on your organization.

Meantime, click here for more on Fjord’s 2020 Trends.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *