|Batuka, flo-yo and Loosecubes for 2012|
|In The Edge Financial Daily Today 2012|
|Written by Jennifer Jacobs|
|Thursday, 05 January 2012 14:00|
Technology will be more pervasive, mushrooms will be the new health food and there will be harking back to a simpler time when people wrote actual letters to each other and
JWT director of trendspotting Ann Mack pointed out that many of the items on the list reflect broader environmental, technological and social developments the company has
Here are some of the more interesting trends:
Batuka: Launched in Spain in 2005, Batuka is primed to be the next international dance-fitness craze. Like Zumba, Batuka relies heavily on Latin American-inspired moves but
Danger zone travel: For some travellers, government advisories against visiting certain regions are serving as a contrarian lure. One expert calls it “macho tourism,” and its adherents include adventurers with an eye on social media bragging rights and luxury travellers looking to outdo been-there-done-that peers by venturing where few can or will.
Flipped classroom: This new idea in learning flips the classwork/homework model on its head, with students watching lectures online and then using classroom time to discuss and practise the relevant concepts. With this model opening up access to quality learning materials for students worldwide, look for it to be more widely adopted as an alternative to failing traditional methods.
Floating yoga: “Flo-yo” is the lovechild of two trendy fitness activities, standup paddle boarding and yoga. From Seattle to Australia and Hawaii, well-balanced souls are floating their way on calm bodies of water for modified classes atop paddleboards, which force yogis to keep their core engaged.
Fuel from waste: New technologies make it possible to convert used plastics — such as non-recyclable grocery store bags and e-waste — back into oil, a process that several companies will commercialise in 2012. Not only does this keep plastics out of landfills, it’s also cheaper to produce than traditional oil.
Gen Z: Born after 2000 and weaned on smartphones, these kids are the first true digital natives. For many families, this gadget-savvy group that’s up on all things Web is the go-to source for information, giving Gen Z a major influence over household purchasing decisions and behaviours. This generation is also more brand aware than any before it (by age three, a child can recognise almost 100 brands).
Leadership shake-ups: With some key players on the world stage running for re-election, we could see a major shift in political dynamics. Americans and the French will grapple over the best way forward for their economies as Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy fight to stay in power.
Hugo Chávez will run for a third term in Venezuela and in March, Russians will weigh in on Vladimir Putin. Replacing any — or all — of these incumbents could reset world diplomacy, putting policy making on the back burner just as it’s needed most.
Loosecubes: This worldwide peer-to-peer marketplace connects work spaces and the freelancers, small business people, artists and entrepreneurs who need to get out of the coffeehouse.
The Loosecubes site allows users to rate the spaces they use (productivity, community and cool factor are some of the criteria) and aims to foster connections and friendships between users. Loosecubes’ model is right on the mark for what we’re calling Generation Go, young by-their- bootstraps entrepreneurs who don’t want to go it entirely alone.
Mushrooms go green: Mushrooms are going into more than stir-fry: They’ve been discovered as an energy-saving ingredient — reducing the amount of Styrofoam and plastic required — for packaging, building and manufacturing materials.
Remaking “Made in China”: As more Chinese brands such as Li-Ning and Haier continue to expand internationally, we’ll see a push to change perceptions around what it means to be “Made in China,” with Chinese companies addressing some of the key issues associated with that label, among them poor quality, copycatting and lack of trust.
Silence: The world is getting ever more crowded, chaotic and noisy, with mobile conversations everywhere — from public restrooms to underground trains — and media filling once-quiet spaces with chatter. Over-stimulated, we’ll increasingly look not only to de-tech but to retreat from the noise, whether at home, in spas or even in nature.