Change can make us feel uncomfortable. We make decisions every day like which route to take to work, what to have for lunch or how to spend our free time. Deciding to switch up our normal routines can be hard but the power of behavioral change can push us to do better and be better. Technology and self-determination both play an important role in bringing these changes to bear. 87 percent of adults globally agree technology is the biggest driver of today’s change.*
Technology has the power to both complicate and improve lives. How people connect to the world through this medium has a profound effect on not only how they feel about themselves but the way they view advances in industry, the economy, culture and individual achievement.
That is why society, businesses and governments are closely examining how technology is changing and evolving humanity across the globe. Sheryl Connelly, Corporate Futurist for Ford Motor Company, is continuously evaluating the ways in which the world is using tech and its impact on people, upcoming trends and the products we use every day.
Sheryl studies data and consumer insights to help Ford incorporate these findings into company procedures in a manner that will put the consumer at the heart of the matter. For more than a decade, Sheryl and her team have focused on how individuals across generations navigate change and how Ford can help people feel empowered through human-centric design and mobility solutions that improve lives and communities.
“In the context of change, at Ford we have to protect what we consider most valuable – having a trusted relationship with our customers. So, we are always deliberate and thoughtful about how we navigate change,” Sheryl said. “Individually and collectively, these behavior changes can take us from feeling helpless to feeling empowered – and unleash a world of wonder, hope and progress.”
Through Sheryl’s annual trend report, “Looking Further with Ford,” she and her team reveal insights about the world around us and how shifts in attitudes, approaches to technology and mobility are creating change. For example, in her 2018 report, Sheryl highlighted “The Activist Awakening,” noting how newly engaged individuals were taking action in ways large and small. This awakening was noticeable everywhere, especially in the Midterm Elections, where record voter turnout brought more women and people of color into Congress and other elected positions.
Ford’s latest trend report highlights the power of behavioral change and how 2019 will again be a time of massive technological advances. Robots for companionship, Artificial Intelligence predicting health impacts like heart attacks and facial-recognition software boosting public safety are just some of the ways technology will improve human lives.
At the same time, people feel more tethered to devices than ever before, seeking to detox, reclaim control and utilize technology in a way that makes sense for them as unique individuals. Ford has added services such as Ford+Alexa, Waze and other apps to its vehicles, which offer a different way to manage technology and put the power back in people’s hands.
A few of the new trends that headline this year’s report:
· “Digital Detox” looks at techniques people and companies are using to be more accountable when it comes to their use of technology, whether it is social media on a smartphone or feeling chained to a work computer, and how meditation and studies of high-performance drivers’ brains could help people use their minds to control stress and daily challenges.
· “The Tech Divide” explores that although technology can be beneficial to society in many areas—including health, well-being and the environment—there are still many people around the world that don’t understand the technology around them and are fearful of the unknown.
· “Life’s Work” considers the way organizations—including workplaces—look at how people can be more productive, boost employee engagement and seek personal fulfillment through their jobs and how this can be good for businesses across the globe.
· “Easy Street” examines how technology is helping people move faster and safer through advances in connected vehicles, navigational tools and other means of transportation, such as biking and motorized scooters.
Ford’s thought on these trends and how the company is responding to people’s needs is found in the 2019 Ford Trends Report. Visit FordTrends.com to read more on the people, products and ideas that will shape our world over the next year and beyond.
*Harris Insights & Analytics survey, October and November 2018.
By Karen Dybis