Accenture report identifies five macro movements for 2023

Following several years of constant global instability, people are gaining greater access to emerging technologies — including AI, web3, and tokenisation — which is advancing the next generation of creativity, community and data privacy.

In turn, businesses and leaders should prepare for shifts in business models due to changing customer behaviors as they find increasing value in new, emerging technologies, forecasts the Accenture Life Trends 2023 report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The report identifies five global macro movements across human behavior that will shape business, culture, and society in the coming year.

From learning to live in permacrisis to increasingly seeking to belong in online communities to missing work’s intangible benefits and using emerging technology such as AI to accelerate creativity, the landscape of day-to-day life has been greatly altered. This shift will push businesses and leaders to operate in radically new landscapes, further cites the report.

“Disruptive moments have people questioning what sense of control they have over their own lives. As they inevitably adapt and get a handle on things, the decisions made to exercise more control will affect the brands and organisations they interact with,” said Mark Curtis, global lead, thought leadership, metaverse and sustainability, Accenture Song. “These new power dynamics will create opportunities for businesses to develop fresh and modern ways to engage and build relationships with customers.”

Crowdsourced insight and intelligence from Accenture Song’s global network of designers, creatives, technologists, sociologists, and anthropologists, the annual bellwether forecast — which leveraged AI for the report’s imagery — includes the following trends and actions for businesses to heed in 2023.

We are in a permacrisis but will adapt – The world is moving from one global catastrophe to the next. But, as humanity has for millennia, people are adapting to instability by switching between four responses: fight, flight, focus, and freeze, which will affect what they buy, and how they view brands and their employers — and companies need to be ready.

What’s next for loyalty – In an unstable world, people seek out places where they feel they belong. As a result, modern brands will be built as communities first, reshaping loyalty and brand participation. For example, the majority of Accenture’s research focus group participants have tried new hobbies or joined new communities in the past six to nine months. Emerging technology is largely driving the three threads to enable this model.

Communities of belonging: on platforms like Reddit, Discord, and Twitch.

Token-gating: exclusive access reserved for “token holders only.”

Collectibles: digital arts, autographs, trading cards, and more.

The importance of work intangibles – As the debate continues around the return to the office, one thing is clear: it’s not yet a success for many people. Everyone has felt the loss of intangible office benefits, like chance encounters and consistent, close guidance of junior talent. Now the consequences of the loss are becoming clear. Without in-person engagement, companies can stand to lose mentorship, innovation, culture and inclusion. It’s time leaders went back to the drawing board to make a logical, mutually beneficial plan.

AI is becoming people’s co-pilot for creativity – Artificial Intelligence is now in the hands of the everyday user and is a new tool for the creative process. Suddenly, neural networks have been made widely available to create language, images and music with very little effort or skill.  Developments within AI are also hitting the market at an astonishing speed. At scale, this is an incredible breakthrough for creativity. Companies need to consider how they will stand out in the sea of AI-generated content and how they use AI to enhance the speed and originality of innovation.

Digital wallets could end the digital identity crisis – The use, and misuse, of personal data is long overdue for a transformation. Transparency and trust in online brand experiences are quickly diminishing in tandem. But control of their data could soon swing back to the user. Digital wallets containing tokens (representing payment methods, ID, loyalty cards and more) will allow people to decide how much data they share with — and even sell to — organisations. That’s great news for brands: the data that people do hand over will be even more valuable than the third-party information that is no longer collected in a cookieless world.

“Shifts in control ultimately lead to shifts in power, and these seemingly small — yet profound changes —in human behavior will alter the power dynamics between people and organisations,” said David Droga, CEO and Creative Chairman, Accenture Song. “In roles as leaders, workers, customers, consumers and creators, people seek ways to regain control. The outcomes will look different — a new picture of progress — from what we’ve seen before thanks to changes in attitudes and maturing technology.”

Find the full Life Trends 2023 report here.