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Trends for 2023

By Sebastian Romo - Skala Ventures
Managing Partner


By Sebastián Romo | Managing Partner - Tue, 02/07/2023 - 13:00

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The future of technology is still uncertain, and it can be challenging to differentiate trends from hype. While the turn of the year presents an opportunity to reevaluate strategies and plan where to focus resources, it is essential to exercise caution. 

Last year, there was significant excitement surrounding NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and the metaverse, but by the end of the year, the NFT market had decreased by 90%, the cryptocurrency market had entered a bear market, and the metaverse remained a vision. Therefore, it is essential to differentiate genuine innovation from hype, as it can have a significant impact on the success of one's endeavors.

Given the current geopolitical and economic uncertainties, 2023 is expected to be a more measured year in terms of technology. As a result, companies will need to find ways to achieve more with limited resources, identify areas of overlap in innovation, and invest strategically in technologies that have reached a tipping point. And in the non-technology area, implement consumer trends to build more trust and finally implement many changes in the management and culture around the workplace. 

However, there are some trends that you need to consider in your radar for 2023 in terms of technology, management and customer or consumer habits. 

Technology trends that will guide 2023

Combinatorial trends refer to  how different technologies can be combined to create new possibilities, like how bioengineering, AI, and machine learning came together to make MRNA vaccines happen. In 2023, we're going to see a lot more of this kind of innovative mashup. It's crucial to think about how tech can work together and not just focus on single trends or just amping up software engineering.

Thanks to the arrival of 5G, AI, and the cloud, we're on the cusp of a technological revolution. 5G will bring faster and more reliable connectivity to industries like manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare, and AI will change the game for finance, retail, and healthcare, while cloud computing will drive innovation and efficiency across the board. Tech leaders need to be ready to ride this wave.

Digital twins are virtual copies of physical systems that can optimize processes, cut costs, and improve results. We're going to see more of them being used in 2023, especially in sectors like manufacturing, energy, and healthcare.

Customers and Consumption Habits

As technology becomes more prevalent in our lives, it is increasingly important for companies to build trust with their customers. This means addressing concerns about data privacy and the ethical use of technology. Tech leaders should be transparent about how they are using customer data and ensure that they are using it in a responsible and ethical manner.

Consumers tend to trust the opinions of their peers over paid influencers. In 2022, only 10% of online buyers believed that the content of social media influencers is authentic, and just 9% made purchases based on their recommendations. On the other hand, a staggering 79% of digital consumers said that they are more likely to make a purchase based on content created by real users (Power Reviews). Companies that prioritize real authenticity, transparency and customer reviews over paid influencers are more likely to win the trust and loyalty of their target audience.

Only 7% of customers make their purchases exclusively online, while 20% do so exclusively in physical stores. The remaining 73% prefer to use multiple channels for their shopping. Customers who shop across various channels spend 9% more than those who shop on a single channel (HBR, 2021). Furthermore, 40% of customers say that they won't do business with companies that don't offer their preferred channels (Salesforce). Additionally, 60% of customers will stop buying from a brand that fails to provide the experience they expect, regardless of which channel that disappointment came from (IMPACT Commerce, 2022). These statistics make it clear that customers appreciate having a variety of options for shopping and companies should consider offering multiple channels for their customers' convenience and make sure that the experience is consistent across all channels.

Trends for the Workplace and Management

After a year of returning back to “normal,” a survey shows that 58% of employees desire a fully remote role, while 39% prefer a hybrid environment. Additionally, mental health has become a fundamental requirement in organizations, with 20% of the workforce struggling with anxiety and depression. Companies should prioritize creating mentally healthy workplaces by implementing flexible working arrangements, such as remote and hybrid options, as well as management practices that have been standardized in recent  years. 

Related to that, vulnerability is becoming a trend in management, allowing leaders to be more transparent and to build trust with employees, leading to innovation and success in business. Embracing change, being open to new ideas, and prioritizing trust-building is key to leveraging vulnerability in management. Though it may be scary, the rewards can be significant for a company's future.

As a manager, it's important to be aware of the rising influence of Gen Z (1997-2012) in the workforce. This generation makes up a significant portion of the current population (30%) and is expected to be a major part (27%) of the workforce by 2025. Gen Z is known for being tech-savvy, diverse, and having a strong desire for work-life balance and opportunities for personal and professional development. To attract and retain Gen Z talent, managers need to understand and meet their expectations and change traditional recruitment, development, and retention practices.

So, What to Do in 2023?

As a business owner or manager, it's important to stay informed of the latest trends in technology, customer behavior, and workplace culture in order to stay competitive in the market. In 2023, companies should focus on investing strategically in technologies that have reached a tipping point and finding ways to achieve more with limited resources. Additionally, building trust with customers through transparency and responsible use of data is crucial. Companies should also consider offering multiple channels for customers to make purchases to provide the experience that customers expect.

When it comes to the workplace, the desire for remote and hybrid working arrangements and an emphasis on mental health are key considerations for creating an attractive and sustainable workplace. Managers should embrace vulnerability as a strength and focus on building trust with employees to foster innovation and success in the business. Additionally, managers should be prepared to adapt to the rising Gen Z workforce's unique characteristics and expectations to attract and retain top talent.

Photo by:   Sebastian Romo

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