Looking Back on Looking Further with Ford

By Sheryl Connelly, Ford global trend and futuring manager

Five years ago, when we published the first edition of this trend book, Looking Further with Ford, the world was reeling from the Great Recession. Even if the economy fully recovered, it seemed, society would never be the same: expansion had stalled; optimism was tempered; and, the era of excess was well on its way to extinction.

As we embarked on this year’s book, we first looked back at past editions see if any trends still resonate strongly. Turns out, our very first trend in that first book — labeled “Trust is the New Black” — is shaping our society more profoundly than ever.

Consumers today are still skeptical of institutions and wary of privacy infringements; worldwide, 85% of consumers we surveyed say they fear that personal data is often collected without their knowledge or consent. And trust and truth are inextricably marbled as consumers question the veracity of information they get from sources. Two-thirds of consumers say that finding fact-based and objective news has never been harder.

We also revisited “Female Frontier” and “Sustainability Blues,” both of which we first wrote about in 2014. The role of women and water, respectively, are proving immensely critical in transforming our society and planet.

New issues surfaced in the past year that stand poised to remake our geo- and socio-political landscapes. Technology continues to unfold at breakneck pace, but it’s also giving consumers’ pause, prompting greater reflection on the impact it has on our lives. Time and wealth, once the staples of prosperity, are become more muddied as we rethink what it means to “live the good life.”

And with greater choice comes greater accountability, as we call on our fellow citizens and institutions to choose actions and behaviors that benefit not just themselves, but also society at large. This is prompting a renewed focus on community — where common good creates a common bond.

We invite you to rethink life as you know it — and reflect on how these changes will impact the world at your fingertips and beyond.

Download a copy of Looking Further with Ford and use the hashtag #FordTrends to join the conversation.

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