My one surefire forecast for this year is very, very simple:
“Predictions and forecasts for the future will become so short-term and safe that they will cease to have any impact or relevance.”
With some notable exceptions, such as Richard’s very specific tips for the magazine industry (see his post below) the vast majority of predictions for 2011 that I have seen are along the lines of:
“Smart phones will get smarter”
“Apps will, errr, continue….! ”
“Things will get even more digital”
Even Ann Mack, JWT’S’s Global Director of Trendspotting [is this really a full-time job, or just temporarily fulfilled when the advent calendars appear?] created a list of 100 Things to Watch in 2011, and she really was shaving those barrel planks. I have to say that most of them we are watching already…and some of her padding is truly regrettable – “London will get more tourists thanks to the Royal Wedding and the 2012 Olympics” Really !?! You really think so ??
To be fair, some [ i.e. about 4, to be really really fair] of her slides are genuinely interesting, but the vast majority are so safely predictable (pun intended) that they hardly warrant the term “prediction”. They could be more accurately described as “repetition” or “obvious statements”.
So I want to know – where are the Big Picture Forecasts for 2011?
I hate to admit it, but I now suspect that we are all so nervous of appearing either a) hopelessly science-fictionish and out-of-touch, or b) nowhere near as smart as Mr Zuckerberg, that we are terrified of voicing any really interesting opinions.
And I have yet to see a single list of predictions spanning the next 10 years – now that could be really exciting and deliciously risky! More to the point, a decade is a very long time, so nobody will actually bother to check your accuracy anyway! We could have things like:
“Newspapers come full circle as the first disposable e-readers hit the shelves”
“Korean 5-year old becomes youngest internet billionaire”
“News International finally acquires full control of the BBC”
Mind you, I can’t really complain can I? Look at how humble and safe my own teeny little prediction is…