I've been known to be a bit of a reluctant soothsayer and this coming year is the one that, well, I'm saying a lot about. A lot of the "big stuff" that everyone's been waiting around for (not hovercrafts, no) will begin to emerge around 2012.
Here is a full menu of ideas on everything from media, brand management, and communications etiquette to business, careers, and technology.
Those who adopt the flexibility of that lovable '70s icon, Gumby, will win out. The essence of "Gumbitude" is confidence, ambition, results, and a focus on solutions, not problems. How we love Gumby...
Innovative Ways to Take This Job
Thanks to tech advancements and recognizing their value, workers in more fields than ever will realize that they don't have to actually be at work to get work done. In the next 24 months, more organizations will create office environments that will entice workers to spend more time at the office so people actually communicate face-to-ear. Easy-to-wear cordless headset devices, TVs to tune into, DVDs to stimulate creativity, cubicles that can be re-organized and completely redesigned on a whim, and non-conference-room gathering places will all be part of a new work environment that will finally see more people leaving Starbucks workspaces and coming to the office.
The Tick-Tock Timing of Brand Building
When building a brand, marketers will, for once, stop talking about "beta" and "soft" launches and go right into launch. A brand's lifespan will have a limited shelf life, so we'll all begin to be aggressively creative and think about next steps. Not first ones, baby.
The Death and Dying of Email
That's right. In the next year, be prepared to turn off your email accounts. We are finally ready for the introduction of new devices offering pre-approved messages so checking email constantly isn't as crucial. New portable gadgets will assign particular people the "right" to send you a note. Innovations in inbox technology will allow companies to alert you to news or the latest deals; they'll will arrive on your desktop ready for viewing at your leisure. Not one moment too soon, right?
Introducing Your "Fame Coach"
Think fame is only for the Paris Hiltons of this world? Think again. In the near future, everyone will need to learn how to be more famous, or risk losing attention. To be fully famous post-2011, you'll need to create, maintain, and manage a public image you can direct and control. Since you will be your reputation in the near future, hiring a fame coach won't seem out of the ordinary. Call me to find out more. (I mean that, too.)
More than ever, we are calling for today's baby boomers to mentor what I term Generation Broke™. That means explaining to them how you do your job, how it all comes together, and how to connect the business dots.
Look for the attention span of new adults in 2012 to narrow even further. In response to young people who will require their information in small bites, new entertainment gimmicks (started by Amazon but continuing to just about every type of media) have come about that make things "chapterized." Big money will be had by businesses that pay attention to this trend because tiny pieces of ADD-enhanced entertainment work better.
This is the year that workers will no longer need to maintain two personalities: one for the office and one for outside of work. Instead, the new decade will harness the need for a work/life personality balance. As workers look for careers to match their personalities, a shift away from classic positions and traditional leadership roles will take place. The right position at the right company will allow workers to work within their personality type.
Finally, a last-minute thought about '12: It is, the Mayans have told us, the year we perish. Many will say it's already happened. Be thankful for what you have. Merry Hanukkah.
Follow Richard Laermer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/laermer