No communication tool in history has connected people around the world as powerfully as the internet. The increasing levels of connection has led to a new social dynamic that combines individual contributions with community-based actions and experiences. The consumer has given way to the prosumer, who is now involved in many stages of the value chain – from generating ideas for new products, to helping to decide on the range and to the marketing process. The effectiveness of the crowd can be seen in a wide range of finished projects such as scientific studies, company foundings and film fundings which have come about thanks to crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. Social Software, the basis of social networks, is entering into both private and business relations. Sharing, openness and transparency are today’s dominating guiding principles. As well as co-determination, curation is also growing in importance. In the great flow of information, curators of all kinds of content are taking the helm to steer us through. People can share their interests, opinions, experiences, content and even consumer goods with others more easily than ever before. Marketplaces are moving into the virtual world, lovers and business partners seek and find each other online, and Likes have become a currency. In the social online world, a language of its own has developed which is visual, child-like and less formal than the offline world. The fact that online phenomena can also have an offline effect has been demonstrated by movements like Occupy and the Arab Spring. The Connected World mega-trend therefore heralds the entry into the era of the digitally supported empowerment of consumers and citizens.
These are the macro-trends of the Connected World:
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