As we wrap up the year and gear up for a new one, our team at Innovationedge would like to take a moment to reflect on some of the biggest trends that had a substantial impact across industries. While the unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021 were monumental to say the least, 2022 came with plenty of its own unique changes as we continued to adapt to meet the needs of our customers and consumers, rapid advancements in technology, and broader discussions about caring for our planet and our people. Without further ado, here’s a recap of three trends we’ve been keeping a close eye on this year:

1. Move over sustainability. 2022 was all about regeneration.

Sustainability has been a hot buzzword for businesses trying to convey a green mindset for quite some time now, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) report was crystal clear: the world is set to reach the 1.5ºC level they’ve warned us about in the next two decades and the only way to prevent it is by making drastic cuts to carbon emissions.

Cue new keywords like regeneration and net-zero, because simply reducing our footprint isn’t enough. The momentum behind reducing greenhouse gases put leaders in a position where taking actionable steps and reallocating capital to back their green initiatives became crucial in 2022.

Today, it’s all about finding ways to heal the planet rather than sustain it. As customers and consumers continue to call out brands for greenwashing, now is the time to look for opportunities to make a real difference by investing in decarbonization. This is one 2022 trend that’s here to stay, so look for ways your organization can turn a new leaf by morphing your sustainability pledge into an actionable, nature-positive campaign in the new year.

As McKinsey & Company shares, “making a net-zero commitment could enable organizations and society to unearth value” together in the future.

Related: 5 Tips to Become a Resilient Leader

2. Robots and humans working together.

AI is also here to stay, but that doesn’t mean we should be replacing our teams with robots just yet. While this technology is a huge time saver when it comes to aggregating data, highlighting trends, and automating menial tasks, we still need real-life people at the helm of the ship to interpret that information and oversee these processes. Otherwise, we’re in for some turbulent systems, processes, and times.

With access to more insights than ever before, 2022 was the year of data and it helped us lay the groundwork for what it looks like to have humans work alongside AI and machine learning tools in a way that benefits everyone. As we venture into the new year, we expect to see more organizations invest in this tech, but we also expect to see an increase in funds allocated toward upskilling employees. By providing teams with the resources they need to work with the data AI generates, business owners can turn this information into valuable opportunities to launch new products, scale their services, and develop smart innovations.

Related: The Future of Integrated Smart Technology: Health & Wellness

3. Prioritizing health, wellness, and work-life balance.

COVID-19 wasn’t the reset any of us wanted, but throughout 2022 it continues to shape the way we think about health, wellness, and our overall work-life balance. Last year, we predicted that we’d see an increase in spending in the health and wellness sector as the global population of people over the age of 60 increases and consumers of all ages take preventative steps to care for themselves and their loved ones.

While this is likely to remain true well into the future, this trend had an even bigger impact in 2022. It’s impossible to ignore the fact that people have been leaving their jobs at record rates over the last year for a variety of reasons, including early retirement, caregiving responsibilities, and self-employment opportunities.

But when we really analyze the underlying conditions that lead to these decisions to leave the traditional workforce behind, two things stand out. The first is the need for an improved work-life balance. The second is a focus on personal well-being and a desire for a higher quality of life.

As the workforce diminishes, due to an aging population, personal responsibilities, and the reasons mentioned above, we must use our critical thinking skills to identify common pain points our employees face. Prominent examples include lack of childcare, inflexible work environments, inadequate compensation in relation to inflation, and unclear advancement opportunities.

By assessing these pain points, we can develop ways to make our people feel valued and cared for, which will not only help us retain our current team members but also attract new ones in 2023. The health, wellness, and work-life balance trend we’re seeing is one that will certainly spill into the new year, and hopefully well into the future to create an opportunity for leaders and business owners to develop a system where we can all thrive.

Related: Supporting Teams & People During the Great Attrition

As 2022 comes to a close, we hope your holiday season is filled with joy, time well spent with loved ones, and a chance to reflect on everything that made the last year one to remember. We know that we just skimmed the surface in this article by highlighting three of the biggest trends we’ve been tracking as a team, so we hope you’ll stay tuned as we reveal our predictions for 2023 next month. Until then, happy holidays and thank you for being a part of our network.

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