RADAR Resolutions: 10 Visions of 2023
Is this our contribution to the EOY trend cycle? Sorry not sorry.
This piece was curated and edited by RADAR’s Research Instigator, @keels223 & Editorial Lead, @oryzae.
It’s that time of year again — when everyone and their mother puts on their trend forecasting hats and tells us what’s ahead. This year, it’s even become its very own meme. Are we throwing our hats in that ring? Yes, of course. But are we doing things differently? That too. You see, the thing about RADAR is that we’re not interested in reports that sit static, collecting dust on clients’ shelves and in readers’ inboxes. We spend all year identifying, cultivating, and manifesting better futures. And it’s that last bit that’s particularly important to us — especially as we head into our next cycle.
So for our contribution to this year’s trend reporting landscape, we’re thinking about the seeds we want to nourish in 2023. The better futures we see emerging that we hope will take off in earnest this year. Think of them like New Year’s Resolutions. And just maybe, they’ll rear their heads again as we move through our futures flywheel in Cycle 2 and beyond.
A few final notes before we jump in:
Taking Resolution #10 to heart, we’re also sharing the Miro we worked in as a collective to reach these resolutions. Have a look around — we’re particularly proud of the inspiration garden 🌱.
Be sure to catch us next week, on Thursday, January, 12 at 8pm EST for a live Twitter Space where we’ll dig a bit further into the motivations behind this piece, hear from a few of the authors, and discuss what all of this means for RADAR’s next few trips around the flywheel. 🔊
Alright, let’s get to manifesting.
#1 / Play takes precedence as an approach to life beyond leisure.
by Samar Younes | @samaritual
We used to think that society played by certain rules, and if we played the game, we’d see expected results. The pandemic upended a lot of that — and with it, our habit of taking ourselves too seriously. Instead of fretting over rules, climbing ladders and enforcing norms, we’re shifting pace and optimizing for joy. How it comes to life? A more playful approach to… just about everything. ‘Kidulting’ is no longer a pejorative, as the benefits of embracing a more expressive and playful approach to life are becoming clear regardless of age — and it’s playing out in places both expected and not. Of course, we can point to the ‘kidcore’ aesthetic and the nostalgia-fueled rise of toys marketed explicitly toward adults as signs of this shift — and they are. But we’re more interested in what this looks like everywhere else. From home to hospitality, at work, at sport, and beyond, we’re seeking out joyful, mood-boosting experiences that allow us to engage with the world around us more playfully. As our impish sides come out and "Gnome Mode'' replaces its Goblin counterpart, we can find solace in the joy of ‘sillymaxing’ as a countercultural respite from the stresses of modern life. But we’ll be watching as this playful approach comes for more of public life (libraries as playgrounds, anyone?) — and we can’t wait to see how it unfolds.
🔮 It’s no secret that RADAR has fully embraced #TeamGnome, so you already knew we were on board with this one. But when you really consider the benefits of a more playful approach to….everything? You can’t help but be. How might play bring about better futures in 2023? Watch this space 👀
#2 / In a backlash against nihilism, non-toxic positivity inspires a hopepunk rebellion.
by Caitlin Keeley | @caitlin
Saccharine placebos are done. Also done? Not giving a care. While some of us may have dabbled in tragic optimism, the burgeoning rise of hopepunk and its value system indicate that at least a few of us are moving on — taking action with radical kindness and daring to care (audacious gardening! sunshine machines! low-sodium gaming! pleasure activism!). Demanding a better world, embracing the indomitable human spirit and leaving cynicism in the dust. Hopepunk is a
genre aesthetic philosophy that says, “No, I don’t accept that. Go fuck yourself: The glass is half-full.” Or put another way, “Fuck nihilism bro we are out here caring about things.” Cursing is quintessential hopepunk, of course. It’s the badassery that comes with embracing a more joyful resilience. Here’s to more freudenfreude in 2023, it’s about time.
🔮 If you spent any time with A Future In Sync, you’ll know we got up close & personal with nihilism. So we know that bursting that bubble is going to be a tough one. But imagining a world where positivity, play, and pleasure are acts of resistance? That might just do the trick.
#3 / The anti-ambition movement activates a slower, softer, more restful world.
by Akash Das | @akashdas
If the ‘Great Resignation’, astoundingly high rates of burnouts and troublesome state of innovation weren’t enough to make us realize that work and ambition have reached a critical crossroad where their decoupling is pushing firms to rethink everything, then perhaps the emergence of ‘Quiet Quitters’, the popularity of Anti-Capitalism & Anti-Work, Goblin Mode’s surprising win at describing 2022, workers (and pretty much everyone) unafraid to ‘Let it Rot’, and the highly publicized rise of ‘Anti-Ambition’, should convince us that a radical game of change is afoot.
Thanks to renewed urgency around establishing agency and better boundaries, we’re witnessing the reimagination of the ideals and constructs of work, and envisioning a future where rest, restoration and rejuvenation are prioritized. The “no one wants to work anymore” script — which is a ‘complaint’ far older than we think — is being flipped: from one that tries to capitalize on blame, to one that celebrates humanity’s urge to transcend capitalism and attempts to revoke work’s status as life’s primary bearer of meaning. While increasing prevalence of 4-day work-weeks, piquing interest in ‘Degrowth’, capitalism being remodeled at elite business schools, the death of ‘girl-boss’, the growing acceptance of remote work along with the normalization of ‘good-enough’ and ‘career-breaks’ are all signs of this evolution — at the heart of these shifts is the craving for a future where rest, care and balance are interwoven into the fabric of professional growth, and where ambition and success can reflect a more holistic spectrum of life-goals than work titles and salaries alone can capture.
🔮 This continued shift in prioritization from resumé values to eulogy values is one we’re thrilled to keep watching. What might a future look like where rest need no longer be deemed radical, where our pace is a human one, and hard edges give way to soft? That’s a future we want to be a part of.
#4 / In a revival of the third place, ‘more caring spaces’ take hold both URL & IRL.
by Samar Younes | @samaritual
We’ve all seen the headlines: Loneliness is on the rise, isolation abounds, political divides are deeper than ever, why is it so hard to make adult friends? The pandemic has left us craving community and connection, with more and more people realizing that supportive physical spaces are key for both personal and societal identity and well-being. Poor urban planning, corporate takeover, and the dissolution of neighborhood bonds have left us lacking these care-focused gathering spots both IRL and URL, but we’re turning a corner: Third places — recurring, go-to spots for social interaction beyond the home and workplace — are once again on the rise, and, increasingly, curated intentionally to serve our modern needs. From traditional public spaces getting modern updates as biophilic public squares and neuroaesthetic hammams, to legacy institutions like religion and country clubs revived as modern church experiences and farm meet-ups, home-away-from-homes are popping up everywhere. Virtually, we find our third places in communities on digital worlds like Roblox and Minecraft (and yes, of course, in community hubs on Discord) — and intentionally seek out spaces that are low in sodium, optimized for feelings rather than efficiency.
It’s a shift that has more and more of us paying close attention to the ramifications of physical and virtual urban planning, and seeking a deeper understanding of what it means to make place — a crucial step toward building a more connected, healthy, and sustainable future. Hell, even whole countries are getting on board: Bhutan's recent rebrand centers on meaningful connection to its inhabitants and culture, as the country seeks to build a modern identity rooted in tradition. Gathering is in, and we’re on board.
🔮 As we spend less and less time where we once did (looking at you, Twitter), we’re enamored with the idea of what comes next for place and space. What might a future full of supportive, caring, and empathetic third places mean for our individual and collective wellbeing? We hope we’ll soon find out.
#5 / Accountability activists put an end to “______-washing” as we get real about the problems ahead.
by Jarrod Barnes | @jarrodbarnes
Sports-washing reached unprecedented heights in 2022. From Beijing's Winter Olympics to Qatar's World Cup and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, authoritarian regimes are capitalizing on the power of sports for geopolitical gain on a global scale. But the world became more aware, informed, and active in protesting the human rights abuses underlying these events, taking a stand, and impacting the bottom line. Of course, this isn’t a phenomenon exclusive to sport; “____-washing” has become a go-to brand and business move: from rainbow-washing to ‘show support’ without doing much of anything in and around Pride Month, to wellness-washing that’s taken semantic bleaching to packaging and advertising in all sorts of categories.
Greenwashing, though, might be the OG — and it’s finally showing some wear of its own. While the practice of using sustainability pledges as marketing gimmicks has become more common, it’s also become more widely acknowledged — even by brand leaders themselves. Meanwhile, we’ve seen the EU Commission propose a ban on brands making generic or vague claims about the environment; a lawsuit filed against Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M; and a host of other brands held accountable for claims that studies find are frequently exaggerated, false, or deceptive. Will 2023 be the year we treat half-hearted sustainability efforts and masked human rights violations with the same gravity as overstating revenues or profits? We as consumers are realizing our power and voice against malpractice and are no longer complicit with corruption. It's only a matter of time before mandatory assurance of sustainability data and accountability measures are a reality — it's long overdue.
🔮 We’re channeling our inner Lizzo as we shout ‘it’s about damn time’ on this one. As the world’s problems become more and more stark, how might a newly resolved coalition of activists and action-taking brands work in service of real solutions that dig beneath the surface? We want to see!
#6 / We get real — and a little weird — about grief, healing, and collective recovery.
by Akash Das | @akashdas
We’re in the age of ‘permacrisis’. Moving at lightspeed between absorbing the trauma of a global pandemic, to managing burnouts, cost-of-living crises, inflation, a war, a looming food and energy shortage, climate change losses and environmental grief, and an epidemic of loneliness and anxiety amplified by just about all of it with no rest between, our time to heal and manage grief has shrunk dangerously. Therapy might be more prevalent both medically and culturally than ever before, but the effects of this permacrisis still mount. Prolonged Grief Disorders are on the rise, Solastalgia and eco-anxiety are entering the mainstream, and we’re experiencing an acute sleep and rest crisis. What is there to do but look beyond the usual and the acceptable?
To tackle our collective pain, we’re starting to explore, experiment and unlock newer, realer, stranger and more unconventional paradigms of healing to master these cumulative griefs. In 2023, we’re eager to embrace our individual capacities for change, and not be paralyzed by nihilism and apathy. Be it digging holes and climbing in, or crawling on the ground, screaming in rage-rooms or meditating in silence, exploring the many potential benefits of psychotropics in mental wellbeing, the boom of ‘self-therapy’, ‘flower-therapy’, gardening and ‘eco-therapy’, using VR for mental wellness, exploring sound and forest bathing, going wild swimming or undertaking extreme planetary explorations — it’s clear we are no longer comfortable with stasis. And that goes for the collective, too, as recovery goes groupchat with organizations like StrongMinds, Friendship Bench, Collective Healing Centre, Sangath and more bringing us together to bond over our collective trauma, and more importantly, cope and heal together.
🔮 At some point, you’ve just got to try things, right? With so much under-examined trauma to heal from, we’re glad to see us getting there. Hole-digging-as-healing-modality might be a bridge too far for some, but what might a future that isn’t afraid to explore and experiment to treat its grief mean for our collective recovery? It’s time we found out.
#7 / Community care replaces self-care as a social imperative & disruptive movement
by Emily Howell | @oryzae
We’re tired, and no number of face masks and bubble baths are helping. As we reckon with an increasingly fragmented, unstable world, we’re realizing that this nagging, pervasive burnout goes beyond work — and the individualized tools we’re using to try and fix it are both ill-suited and unavailable to many of us. But if self care won’t heal us, what will? As rising thinkers educate on indigenous wisdom and introduce ideas of radical rest, we’re starting to look outside ourselves for the care and nourishment we need to thrive — shifting our mindset from self-care to community care. From established industries ripe for decentralized support, to government and grassroots efforts addressing everything from mental health to the cost of living crisis, community is increasingly at the forefront of issues previously addressed with individualized solutions.
As capitalism is questioned by emerging generations, we’re imagining what abundant, interdependent systems could look like — and bringing them to life with bike and tool libraries, mutual aid fridges, communal bakeries, and even community funding through blockchain technologies. Whether its communal co-living arrangements, therapies and spiritual experiences enhanced by group settings, networks for parents, multi-player meditation, or the rise of dedicated venues, digital spaces and programming for community connection, we’re beginning to see how caring for others is caring for ourselves — and moving our communities to the top of our priority list in the new year.
🔮 There’s a time and a place for self-care — but it’s clear by now that we’re past it; systemic problems beg more than individual solutions. What might change in a world that embraces community care as a cultural imperative? It seems the seeds have been planted.
#8 / The realities of multiple, dynamic & contextual identities set in, putting an end to generational monoliths for once and for all.
From Gen Z headlines to Boomer memes, identity labels abound — but we’re finally facing the music that they no longer capture the nuanced reality of who we are today. [Insert generational label here] are simply not monoliths, often sharing little beyond birth years. While the marketing and advertising industry still grapples with this reality, more and more of us are embracing the idea that we can’t be singularly defined by any one label. In reality, we are many. An amalgam of beliefs, values, attitudes and aesthetics that morphs and changes over time — both as individuals and as the collectives we’re part of — generational and otherwise. As it increasingly grows that much more complex, we’re seeing these labels and tight definitions give way to flexibility and multiplicity to represent ourselves.
Take work as an example, where job titles and career paths no longer define who we are, increasingly identifying with our side projects and passionate pursuits more than anything. More tangibly, the days of business cards are no more, as professionals look for better ways to understand one another as whole people. Elsewhere, digitally pseudonymous identities — packed with tensions all their own: how do we manage what we show and what we don’t? — are empowering people to embrace and experiment with the fluidity of identity and decentralization of self. So why are we still sticking people with monolithic labels that don’t match the complexity of their lived experience? Well, because it’s hard. But the tides are finally turning. The scientists are organizing, and the thinking is clear: as The Future Laboratory puts it, “It’s probably a matter of time until the most forward-thinking businesses shun these labels, instead asking their communities how they wish to be addressed.”
🔮 Has anything ever given us more joy than an open letter urging the end of generational labeling? Frankly, we’re not sure. But we are sure that it’s a sign this resolution has a fighting chance. Identity flexibility and fluidity may not be new news, but a future where we finally act on it as an industry? LFG.
#9 / From reframing aspiration to rethinking our biggest problems, intergenerational engagement & influence changes things for the better.
by Emmanuelle Naranjo | @mannee90
Media is a mirror, and 2022 was no different. We saw a rise in cultural content with themes of healing intergenerational trauma, especially for women (Everything Everywhere All at Once, Umma, and Wednesday) – leading us to dig in further to explore the Ancestral Meta. These multigenerational dialogues center on “generational connection and acceptance,” and we’re seeing threads across disciplines as we look to older generations to guide us through complex times. Take fashion, where the repair economy is continuing to expand. This emerging repair and maintenance culture increases reliance on traditional methods, and practiced, multigenerational experts are key to educate on upcycling, modifying and repurposing. In food – where things have been upended by the dueling supply chain and cost of living crises – we’re looking to our ancestors to find solutions through their relationships with ancient food practices like foraging and fermentation. And as things get increasingly digital, we’re finding tools to apply ancestral learning at scale with online events that aim to heal trauma on individual, ancestral, and collective levels — and even remaking the internet in this image.
As we increasingly look back for wisdom, how might this change how we look forward? Younger generations are reclaiming their cultural histories, and a movement is taking hold to design better futures for our own descendants. Ideas of generational responsibility are emerging in even our most resistant, complex systems — governments. In the EU, ‘Intergenerationally Fair’ policies are being proposed to protect our future ancestors. As European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen put it, “It is time to enshrine solidarity between generations in our Treaties.” We’d have to agree.
🔮 One of the many throughlines in this list is the lessons we can learn from one another — and this might be its purest representation. How might a future that reclaims intergenerational dialogue as an integral practice change for the better? We’re eager to be part of finding out.
#10 / In a new age of experimentation and exploration, the emphasis shifts from product to process.
by Joe Carpita | @joecarpita
Hustle culture is being rejected across demographics, younger generations are rethinking the standard path, and anti-ambition is on the rise (you know, you already read Resolution #3). So it’s clear that the relationship between labor, effort, and outcome aren’t as linear as we once thought. And with this year’s seismic public releases of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Dall-E, and Midjourney, we’re starting to ask ourselves what the act of producing really means — and where the value, the human value, really lies. Is it art, if you didn’t paint it with a brush? Can we value prompts and sparring for their craft, just as we value physical production? What’s overlooked in many of these debates is just how public process has been made. With Midjourney, prompting is public — putting errors, learnings, and community collaboration on display right alongside its stunning visual outputs.
And we’re watching the same play out with ChatGPT. Each day, more and more people are sharing their journeys with the AI, exploring, learning, and showcasing their progress in real-time, tweet by tweet. In both instances, it’s evident that we’re learning to see these bots as partners in our process — not proxies or substitutes. As AI reshapes us from mules to centaurs, and as we really come to discern what magic humanity brings to the table, we’re watching priorities refocus around the journey, not the destination. And that shift is resonant beyond the bots. From the web3 ethos of working in public and the return of blog-style content, to the glorification of repair and maintenance in lieu of the shiny and new, there’s something special in recapturing the live wonder of work underway.