It’s a year unlike any in the past. The normal rules don’t apply anymore. While usual life has resumed in many parts of the world, it’s still not the normal life that we are used to for years together. While the future looks hopeful in terms of evading the virus, the recent past has worked wonders on our human mind states! When life came to a sudden halt in 2020, we got unexpectedly large amounts of time to think about stuff we never thought about. Be it lifestyle changes, health improvements, awareness about mental health, technological disruptions, innovative business ideas, breakthroughs in services/educational industries, you name it and it has been done – everyone has been pushed outside their comfort zone & guess what – it did work! We have accelerated the lurking-around-the-corner digital shift in unprecedented ways! A recent report says that we have vaulted five years forward in digital adoption in a matter of around just eight weeks!

Well, what do we do now?

The good side of this pandemic and the subsequent lockdown(s) has been that people have gotten a chance to reflect – to reflect on their life choices, their lifestyles, their environment, nature, politics, national policies, technology, sustainability, and employability. And I feel that before this quintessence of reflection is lost, it’s a good opportunity to grab onto it and derive the best possible juice out of it. Strike while the iron is hot, they say! 

So this post is an attempt to provide fodder in certain ways to fume the newly discovered and generated desires regarding the changes to be brought in in our personal & professional lives and the environment, to begin with.

Following are the trends to catch up with in 2021 and beyond to pave a way towards a better, enriched, and fulfilling life!

Changing skills

Let’s start with the self. The world is moving towards industry 4.0. We are in the middle of the forth industrial revolution where the focus is on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Big Data & Analytics, and all things binary. With such huge reliance on machines, how does a human stay relevant? While of course, technical know-how is required to feed, make sense, manage and analyze the data, it is limited in scope – so, what’s beyond that? 

Beyond the technical acumen, there’s a huge need for problem-solving, creativity, innovation, and decision-making to facilitate the data and programs into meaningful actions. According to World Economic Forum, the trending skills in 2021 are:

Analytical thinking, creativity, innovation 
Active learning and learning strategies
Leadership and social influence
Reasoning, problem-solving, and ideation  
Emotional intelligence

Upskilling is a way to stay relevant in the world to come. It would be wise to orient yourself in the above-mentioned areas!

Changing climate

With US joining back the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the world is now in consensus about the dire need to get back on track and accelerate the efforts towards a greener world. Well, it’s a huge topic in itself, maybe a series of blogs would do no justice to sufficiently cover it. But what’s the bare minimum to keep in mind to galvanize actions in the right direction?

For starters, shifting towards a green mind-state would be a good move. Basics like recycling, waste segregation, reusing, reducing usage in general, etc. sound so easy and so naive. But really, how many of us are doing it in all practical sense? The 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) are taken so much for granted that they are almost always ignored in pursuit of more “serious” sounding practices! Even if all of us start with the 3 Rs, the world would be a different place to live in! 

To give you an idea, Mumbai has around 7-8 feet of garbage heaps piled in its dumping yards. Additionally, there’s limited area for creation of more landfills. If a simple idea of waste segregation (into just Dry & Wet) & composting is implemented, an upwards of 70% can be tackled at the source, meaning only around 30% would go to the landfills!

Look at this amazing example here:

Having said this, there are also larger big-ticket items that we can look at. While it is established that there must be a movement away from conventional sources of energy, the focus on electric equipment is natural. However, the current state of most electric vehicles, gadgets, solar-powered equipment, wind energy solutions, etc. is such that they tend to be on the costlier side. This is of course due to the “green premium” attached to it. The only way to reduced the prices of these alternatives, apart from the huge expectations from innovators, is by bulk-buying them. Basic commerce tells us that higher demand leads to lower prices. And so if we make a move towards bulk purchasing of these greener solutions, we could end the chicken-egg story! Many aware individuals are already taking such steps – my own grandfather, at the age of 85, has installed solar-powered heaters and batteries, and bore well, leading to hardly any reliance on external facilities for water/power!

Getting political voice

Politics is messy and is often left to the grey-haired. But what is politics really about?

According to Merriam-Webster, it means ‘the art or science of government’. And here I was, until now, interpreting politics as some sort of game where realities become mysteries and mysteries become realities. (sic)

Gone are the old days now. Today we have many young activists and politics enthusiasts who are steering changes and challenging the age-old definitions. We are now aware that in order to make a difference, we have to get into the system. In fact, as per Bill Gates, getting your political voice is one of the most important things in today’s world. 

We need major overhauls in changing the current state of the world in terms of both tangible and intangible aspects. But due to the sheer size and volumes of their reach and power, governments ultimately play a very vital role in transformation. And hence, there’s not much we can do without its involvement. While we can’t control the system internally, we definitely can influence it. We can influence the change and mobilize the systems. We need multipliers, we need abundance. And so, make your voice heard!

There is huge scope to act, there is huge potential among us. It’s now time to identify our voice and make it heard to influence the current systems. We need more AOCs and Greta Thunbergs to run the world!

Note: With the chaos that social media brings to us, it’s extremely important to be able to differentiate between good & bad/relatively right & relatively wrong/genuineness & fluff/depth & superficiality. It’s vital to either form, choose or use our political voice carefully and responsibly.

Focused innovation

Humankind is not putting enough money and IQ into solving world problems. Bill Gates believes so. Innovations have the potential to bridge the gap between the poor and rich, the educated and uneducated, the privileged and the underprivileged, the healthy and unhealthy. This happens due to the fact that innovations affect both the micro and macro perspectives.

There are major strides in the technology world, many focusing on high-end tech – the graph shows how fast we’ve evolved over time with exponential growth in the 21st century.

While this relates to technology, we now need to focus on either leveraging these innovations or creating newer solutions to solve world problems – mitigating hunger, poverty, education,  accessibility, to name a few. While plenty great souls are tackling such issues, there is also room for more. It’s time to think – how can I as a person contribute to such problems? How can I focus on innovative ways in which such problems can be handled? 

I personally know a person who promotes rainwater harvesting systems and drives efforts towards generating awareness, designing and sizing, and implementing rainwater harvesting systems in societies in Mumbai for negligible to no charge – all out of passion and as a hobby! I know someone else who has started an enterprise of clothing sourced from highly skilled but poor artisans just to support them and help spread the art. I know another person who has set up an enterprise for collecting and recycling waste from societies and corporates to address dire waste management needs.

While these may seem far-fetched to some of you, we could break down these into microelements and focus on them. For example, many of us are already helping in tackling COVID by connecting and verifying leads for oxygen and plasma for our friends in need. A few are offering services to their clients and in exchange, they are asking their clients to divert the fees to the ongoing COVID donation campaigns. 

The number of ways we can be creative and solve world problems is really huge. It’s time we put our creativity and skills to tackle real-world problems! 

If you have any ideas and want to collaborate to create impact, do reach out to us!

These are some pointers to get started on. COVID has indeed made our lives unsteady, and I do acknowledge the fact that it’s not easy for many to actually implement the trends mentioned above. But given the fact that we don’t really know when the world will be corona-free, it is wise to now channelize the energy on getting ahead of it and focusing on what’s to come!

Let’s get going now!

There are more trends to catch up with which I will cover in future posts!

11 thoughts on “TRENDS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2021 & BEYOND

  1. Pranita…well writen & said present reality in your articles…👍
    Great…keep it up…👍👍


  2. Pranita tai, Your blog on reading is so full of great insights!! You have written it so well. I can actually relate to it. Well done. Keep writing!! Can’t wait to read your next blog.👍👍👍👌

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Pranita, this is one of the most insightful blogs that I have come across in recent times! Thanks for the great articulation and for breaking down how to go about pursuing each of the upgrades in our life! These points are so simple to add to our life yet so very impactful! Appreciate your research and you showing us how to go about upcycling our life! Now let me hop off of here and get into putting my mind to use to adopt one of these trends into my life! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pranita as always a thought provoking article .
    On climate change you could have also touched upon the work from home concept which will now definitely catch on even after the pandemic is over. This I feel can also help in reduction of traffic pollution as what am hearing is that cos are planning to have to begin with at least 20% of their staff on WFH basis.
    Anyway your writing skills continue to amaze me.
    Only 1 request reduce the time gap between your articles


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