The twenty-first century hippies
From the research The future is now
I like to call the new consumer a twenty-first century hippies. My personal path to a sustainable new world of design started in 1998. My brand philosophy and thinking are purely based on honest, positive values and attitude. However, we can only change so much. Everybody must seek within and understand that we all have a personal responsibility to take care of Earth; it is our obligation to pass it to the next generation in better shape. Research presented in 2000 stated a paradigm shift towards sustainable thinking. A few brands has taken gigantic steps in this direction, however we have a long way to go.
I was a part of the team that presented mega trends 2000 in Levi Strauss Middle East and Africa. One of the key messages in the research was; it will be a reaction to global brand exploitation of common universal resources. This will lead to a more aware consumers and later stronger regulations from politicians and governments. Therefore, Levi’s as a major brand must work on a more sustainable way regarding product design as well as all other elements that require a sustainable thinking.
The new shopping culture
Just at the same time was the organization AdBusters evolving and became well-known for its actions. A modern organization that raises critics and questions on how brands and large companies communicating and promote an irresponsible shopping culture, unhealthy for the environment and for sure any consumer’s wallet. AdBusters work on equivalent turf as global corporations, brands, use marketing codes and tactics. They x-ray the marketing communication codes, break down messages and simply turn that same message upside. They make it easy for ordinary consumers understand how brands, which are in market communication manipulate us, who most times promise more than delivered. AdBusters are also behind events as Buy Nothing Day and Digital detox.
Communication and brand pollution
Naomi Klein became the brand-new bible among people worried about the unhealthy consumer culture; inside information about child labor and a corporate culture without any humanity shared, a corporate culture with only one motive to maximize to profit to the shareholders. A culture that in many ways takes away our freedom, we cannot go anywhere without a shopping opportunities, in airports, museums and even military. We can hardly go anywhere without being exposed from ads and consumer messages; freedom to walk in the streets without being polluted and stressed from clever communication does not exist. Naomi Klein’s book No logo was a wake-up about a consumer culture out of control. Today the change has started, as ethical and sustainability philosophy within a company is no longer seen as cost but as an asset of the company. Ad spending in clothing and retail increased the most, at 18 percent last year, according to the report made by Nielsen.
Indicators of a change
“A friend has said the future is the present. If you really are curious about the future, just study the present.” Only those who have learned to perceive the present can predict the future. They need to only predict what has already happened by being the first to see through pattern recognition. For the future of the future is the present” Marshall McLuhan.
A reality check can predict the future. If we take the pulse on the society around us, the pressure has even increased a lot compared to a few years back. A reality check gives indications of a paradigm shift in social values, being extreme ego culture to a sharing togetherness culture.
The finance crisis
The finance crisis that started fall 2008 was the real indication for the happenings in Europe the recent years. Highest rate unemployment in Greece and Spain h ave we never before experienced in history I can quote reading from the message from the research the Future is now, 2009 “ The finance crisis is not over because media here in Europe speak less about it and the consequences, what happened in US will happen in Europe. A finance crisis is almost as a bomb explosion, first with a big bang, and then slowly covers a greater area. It grows and makes the impact on people and countries elsewhere.” The cost of the finance crisis so far is unbelievable $11.900 billion.
The human race is facing its biggest problem in history, and I do not ordinary people understand what is happening. In the cities, one might not experience the problem as it is little or hardly any changes in daily life. However, people who live close to nature or places they can see it changing faster year by year, and their lives is changing as their work disappears because of it. Ice that melting makes it impossible to hunt on the areas before covered with ice. Places experience extreme flooding, hurricanes, tsunamis and temperature changes. We are actually on overtime to do something about it, still we shop more than ever, retail brands increase their sales and income, and they can claim they are sustainable as much as they want, this does not change the fact that a big cut in production must happen, and it might sound like hash, nevertheless, the cure. We live in a fantasy world if we believe we can have infinite growth on a finite planet. The old economy is passé and a sustainable economy is the brand new paradigm shift; we need strong politicians who can take unpopular decisions. A new economy forced to happen as nature takes over the steering wheel, and we sit in the backseat. Fasten the seatbelt because it will be a bumpy ride.
A few mega trends towards 2020
Add other global issues as terrorism, violence and the real threat of global warming and is easy to understand that these happening has created a large universal trend; fear. Fortunately, this fear has seen by intelligent and future-oriented science, green activists, philosophers, politician’s writers and foreseen global companies since the 70s and now turns from a mega trend into a new way of living. We do no longer talk about it. We dare to do something about it.
The growth of eastern religions and philosophy in the Western world
A seek and return to nature is happening, personal development and higher consciousness. We seek an engineered natural life and a move away from materialism. People all over the world have started abandoning got it all materialism drives in favor of burgeoning appetite for spiritual growth and the inner hidden values. The wave of mind driven activities and training as Yoga, meditation, Qigong and Thai Chi tell the story a deep need for a non-material life. Spirituality is global, not sectarian. Neo-ethics based on universal principles of morality, the economy and the foundation driven by nature not market. Life on earth exists in a state of balance that is dynamic and connected. We are not separate from each other but connected in different ways. People in west seek for spirituality and away from materialism as we finally understand that this is not bringing happiness or inner peace. Nor Earth or people are in balance. Post What is happiness?
The new sustainable world
The acceptance and understanding for a change in our consumer habits have happened, and a paradox shift is about to turn every business upside down. We have seen it for a long time already, and it will happen really fast the next three years. I do not think any companies within this time frame will work without having a clear company mission and strategy based on sustainable design philosophy. The suburbs of America and regular consumers across the globe have started asking for sustainable products. The idea is not only a concept but a real reason to buy, and then it will be a standard. Call it the new sustainable world.
We are developing new technology at a faster pace than ever before in history, the Internet has increased our knowledge tenfold as we live in a global library. Digital technology has taken over our lives we are connected; we are everywhere at any time. Distribution of products has changed music, book industry, and universities only exciting online and people get delivered whatever they want at home. However, there is an industry that will make the Internet and digital industry look like a dwarf in comparison, bio and in particular, Nanotechnology will change the world as we know it. Only today are more than 10.000 products registered with Nano technology, everything from fashion clothing to surgery will change. Nevertheless, technology alone will never save the world, in the past is had caused more problems than solved.
The global worker
The internet and digital communication have changed how we work and live, today customer service might be in India when you call from UK or Norway. People can sit in a Bungalow in Thailand deliver the work everywhere at any time. The global village is happening; the international border is vanishing as we can transport work in zeroes and ones.
The new consumer the twenty- first century hippies
The fresh way of asking questions, criticize analysis shopping madness, harm to the environment and so on are different from before. The protest and hippie culture at the end of the 60s and 70s were in many ways extremely introverted. The modern movements in state of the art society are regular people who want to make changes without much noise. They still dress in the identical way, do the alike jobs, keep the same hairstyle and take part in society as everyone else, extrovert. This group does not need to build a hippie community, have free sex and endless amount of drugs to stand up for their view to change the world. Now new movement of alert consumers is making changes and participates right now in our community, the 21 century hippies.
The mega trends towards 2020
- spiritual seeker
- the new body culture
- the global worker
- planet fear
- the sustainable world
- Digital senses
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