She doesn’t know how to drive, but she drives all the time.
She’s never been to the doctor’s office, but she visits her doctor every week.
She never logs on, but she’s always online.
She’s always shopping, but she’s never in line.
She’s never once been “lost.”
Her T-shirt is connected to the internet.
Her tattoo unlocks her car.
Her manager is a robot.
an average 25-year-old in the not-so-distant future.
This is not science fiction, nor is it even a particularly bold perspective on technological influence. It’s a sketch of a not too distant future full of significant disruption. These technology changes won’t just change the customer experience, they’ll change how the world works — how people connect, create, escape, accomplish, work, unwind, understand, stand out, fit in, get smart, get well, get money and simply live.
The profound changes around the corner raise critical questions:
What do we need to do differently to meet the needs of the customer of the future?
How will our value proposition and business model need to change?
How do we stay relevant to Dawn?
Technologies predicted to get to scale in the next 10 years:
I was told there’d be jetpacks
The realm of prognostication is rife with overpromises. However, the current confluence of colliding and interconnected trends leads experts in almost every field to agree that we’re in the midst of remarkable change not seen since the Industrial Revolution. And by its very connected nature, this revolution hits faster and reaches further.
During times of profound change, we seek solace in specifics. The big questions are daunting so we answer the small ones: When will 5G internet launch? When will driverless cars arrive? What jobs will robots replace? What contracts will blockchain replace? The answers to these questions are important. They add dimension, create urgency and provide a fact base. But honing in on individual technologies can be dangerous (we’re often wrong) and can prevent us from seeing the bigger shifts. Staring at the trees we miss the forest; staring at the tech we can’t see the revolution.
Looking at the arc of technology, though, we can be confident certain shifts will continue. We’ll know more (from artificial intelligence, genomics and smart devices) and we’ll share more (from stories on Instagram to homes on Airbnb). We’ll automate more, monitor more and customize more. We’ll get faster, more flexible and more connected (at least digitally).
We’re confident these shifts will occur. Why? Because they’re led as much by fundamental human needs as they are by new technologies. Humanity has an innate motivation for connection and belonging, which explains why we use one-third of our online time on social media. We seek power and control, which propels the tech-led movement toward co-creation and customization. Our drive for achievement underpins our desire to know more through artificial intelligence. Amidst dizzying change, our fundamental human needs stay the same. They’re the same human needs that economists and psychologists have been pointing to for decades: connection, belonging, power, control, achievement, security, validation, creation, efficiency, freedom, pleasure, self-actualization. And when combined with technological advancements, they steer us to profoundly new behaviors.
The story we are telling is not about any specific technology. This story is about what happens when technological trends meet human truths.
Six major shifts
The underlying forces enabling our future fit into six major shifts propelled by fundamental human needs. In the following episodes, we describe each of these shifts and its influence on customers. To bring the trends to life, we follow Dawn, our fictional customer of the future, who is making the most of these new capabilities.