Emma Okonji

Accenture has released the Fjord Trends in 2018 in its recent report, which analysed the pressing forces acting internally and externally on organisations and society.

The Accenture 11th annual report examines seven emergent trends expected to impact business, technology and design in the year ahead.

According to the report, rapid technological advancements are altering the world we live in today, provoking both wonder and fears about the possibilities.

Whether it is artificial intelligence, computer vision or blockchain, emerging technologies are uprooting the digital and physical experiences of our everyday lives. These joint forces are simultaneously creating optimism and concern about the unprecedented wave of change that is unfolding, the report said.

“Each of our 2018 trends is born out of a fundamental tension — be it a shift, a collision or a parting of ways,”
Co-founder and Chief Client Officer at Fjord, Mark Curtis, in his comparison, said: “Digital versus physical, human versus machine, centralised versus decentralised, speed versus craft, automation versus control, and traceability versus anonymity, winners in 2018 will be those who best navigate these tensions and seize the opportunity to collectively design the world we will be living in.”

Fjord Trends 2018 suggests how organisations can navigate these currents and design for positive change. It examines seven trends expected to shape the next generation of experiences to include: Physical fights back; Computers have eyes; Llaves to the algorithm; A machine’s search for meaning; In transparency we trust; The ethics economy and Design outside the lines.

For Physical fights back, the report said digital has had the limelight long enough – there are two brand experience headliners now. The time has come to blend the digital with the physical.
For Computers have eyes, the report said computers now understand images without any help from us. Imagine the exciting possibilities for next-generation digital services.

On the area of Slaves to the algorithm, the report stressed the need to design a marketing strategy to win over the algorithms – immune to conventional branding efforts – that sit between brands and their customers.
For Machine’s search for meaning, the report looked at Artificial Intelligence (AI), and concluded that it might change our jobs, but need not eliminate them. We can, and should design our collaboration with the machines that will help us develop.

In the area of In Transparency We Trust, it said Blockchain has the potential to create transparency that will clear the fog of Internet ambiguity, regain lost trust, and repair relationships with the public.

For Ethics economy, the report called on organisations that are feeling the heat to take stands on political and societal hot button issues, whether they want to or not. It said consumers are speaking with their dollars, choosing brands that align with their core beliefs.

For Design outside the lines, the report stated that Design’s rapid ascedency and newfound respect within organisations, must be a win for all. But, in a world in which everyone thinks they’re a designer, today’s practitioners need to evolve – how they work, learn and differentiate themselves – if they are to continue having impact.

According to Design Director at Fjord in South Africa, Marcel Rossouw, the annual Fjord Trend Report for 2018 provides an invaluable view on how technologies and experiences are shaping the way we live and do business. “In South Africa, Blockchain has the power to create transparency that will clear the fog of internet ambiguity, win back lost trust, and repair relationships with the customers. Considering the local economic and political climate, the technology could be a real game changer to regain control and promote transparency. Automation and the rise of AI are also forcing organisations in the African continent to design for a seismic shift in the workplace,” Rossouw said.

Global co-Lead, Fjord and Managing Director, Accenture Interactive, Baiju Shah, said: “We believe this edition of trends will provoke and inspire but, above all, provide actionable advice for organisations to prepare for the opportunities ahead.

“Many of the thorny questions ahead of us revolve around human-machine interactions, the consequences of which will be profound for individuals, society and organizations of all kinds. As digital fades from being stand-alone to being embedded in our physical world, our relationships with everything around us will be redefined.”
Fjord Trends 2018 draws upon the collective thinking of Fjord’s over 1,000 designers and developers around the world. The annual report is based on first-hand observations, evidenced-based research and client work.