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Tech Transformations

In partnership with Facebook IQ, a major study on how technology is transforming lives...

Technology’s Transformative Role

Under the title of Tech Transformations, Facebook commisioned this project to identify, explore and ultimately celebrate a host of new forces that are influencing people globally; technology’s transformative role in our everyday lives and how it impacts on attitudes, values and daily rituals.

After a desk research phase (majoring on cultural analysis and business innovations), we workshopped with Facebook five thematic areas to focus on in this work:

Trend #1: Personal Sustainability

In an age where we can monitor, map and predict what’s going on inside of us, technology isn’t just about simplifying our lives—it’s about giving us the ability to engineer the best possible version of ourselves, with the ultimate aim of ensuring our own personal sustainability.

Whether it’s about improving nutrition, fitness, sleep or even mindfulness, people share more and more online about their own personal commitment to lead longer, happier and more productive lives.

Trend #2: Mobile Empowerment

As under-served populations in emerging markets gain access to the Internet for the first time—notably through mobile devices—they are discovering the benefits of economic, entrepreneurial, educational and other opportunities previously unavailable. In 2014, the mobile industry contributed 5.7% to overall gross domestic product (GDP) in Sub-Saharan Africa, and this is forecast to increase to 8.2% by 2020.3

But gaining mobile Internet access has benefits beyond basic services and pressing social challenges like healthcare, education and poverty—it also opens new avenues for social connection, idea sharing and entertainment.

Trend #3: Playing With Food

As food culture expands online and local cuisine becomes global, there’s a growing consciousness around sustainable food production to combat future food shortages and environmental drawbacks.

Technology is being used to replace the unsustainable food sources people are used to by harnessing sustainable ingredients or developing synthetic processes in laboratories.

Trend #4: Reinventing Rituals

As technology penetrates our everyday lives, it’s altering how we interact with each other, reshaping rituals, transforming old traditions and amplifying celebrations. We are driven by the same emotional desire to connect, but how we do so is fundamentally shifting.

This is partly because we are embracing tech to solve age-old problems (like finding “the one”). It could also be a response to social and economic factors: more people are living alone and moving between countries for work. But just because we live alone doesn’t mean we have to be lonely. Technology offers all sorts of opportunities to connect with family and friends online to celebrate important moments in new ways.

Trend #5: Embracing Identity

How people express themselves in terms of age, gender, looks, sexual orientation, relationships, spirituality and more is no longer binary. Driving this newfound empowerment is unparalleled access to new ideas and information, unlocking the facets of human experience.

All of this combines to create a deeper understanding of what identity means and the freedom to throw off the shackles of convention and share who we really want to be.

Experts & Early Adopters

And so with these fascinating themes to interrogate, this study had us on the ground in Nigeria (Lagos), South Korea (Seoul), the UK (London) and US (Brooklyn and San Francisco), interviewing experts and early adopters who could bring us close to each topic area; conducting ethnographic and remote-ethno methods, including deploying wear-able cameras so we could see trend manifestations in real world scenarios.

Surveys & Social Data

We also ran a quantitative survey in all markets (4,000 sample size), looking at the comprehension, appeal and penetration of new behaviours. Moreover, we were informed by Facebook and Instagram-derived data, this providing a further layer of evidence and articulation.

Sharing The Work

Among the methods for socialising the work (both with internal stakeholders and external partners) were mini documentary films and PDF distillations.

Check out Tech Transformations For 2016 And Beyond for more film content and downloadable PDFs.