The 50 big ideas for 2018
If 2017 left you breathless, exhausted by unexpected headlines, then brace yourself. The coming year may bring even more turbulent change, according to the CEOs, academics, economists and other bold thinkers we consulted for our annual peek at the year ahead.
1. You’ll take your first-ever digital detox.
Get ready to hide your phone and immerse in a few tech-free hours (or days). “We’re at an inflection point,” says Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global, adding that tech’s addictive grip on our lives will move from the fringes to the center of conversation. Bosses will start banning devices from meetings, as will restaurants during meals, predicts GE Vice Chair Beth Comstock. She calls distraction-free time the “new ultimate luxury.”
2. The economy nears its tipping point.
Eight years after the Great Recession ended, the U.S. economy is still growing, making this recovery one of the longest on record. Expect the economy “to get a lot closer to an economic tipping point, the nature and implication of which will depend on politics,” says Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic advisor at Allianz. Some of the biggest vulnerabilities to a slowdown: geopolitical shocks and policy mistakes by central bankers.
3. There won’t be a single TV show people rally behind.
It’s the golden era of TV but a fragmented one, and 2018 may be the first year when no single show dominates pop culture. For proof, pay attention to ABC's “American Idol”reboot in March. “We’re all going to have these memories of that time when ‘American Idol’ was the center of the zeitgeist,” says Daniel Fienberg, a television critic for The Hollywood Reporter and chair of the Television Critics Association. “We’re going to see that it’s suddenly become yet another niche show in a universe of niche shows, which is a little sad, but the reality that we’re in.” Don’t expect the culture-dominating series of “Game of Thrones” to help, either; its final season likely won’t come until 2019.
4. After #MeToo, watch for a new movement.
The flood of sexual harassment claims in 2017 may usher in a change in how society treats those who are wronged. “There will be a tide shift of consciousness around appropriate behavior,” says Kat Cole, COO and president of North America at FOCUS Brands, whose chains include Cinnabon and McAlister's Deli. Women will no longer shrug off inappropriate behavior; they’ll speak up, amplify each other and push for change, says Sallie Krawcheck, the CEO of investing platform Ellevest. While #MeToo may have defined 2017, Krawcheck’s throwing out a new hashtag for 2018: #OverIt.
5. The gig economy gets volatile.
As companies such as Uber and Airbnb move closer to long-awaited IPOs, they’ll be pressured to ratchet up profits. For drivers, hosts, grocery deliverers and others who depend on these platforms, that will likely mean lower pay, says former Google HR chief Laszlo Bock, now CEO of startup Humu. “The gig economy is going to get increasingly brutal,” he says. “These companies are going to need to make a profit, and that’s got to have to come from somewhere.”
6. Airlines won’t roll out new fees; they'll quietly expand existing ones.
U.S. airlines, flush with record profits, will be reluctant to introduce new fees for fear of a consumer backlash. Instead, look for them to quietly expand or increase existing charges, says travel columnist Christopher Elliott. One early example: Delta, for the first time, recently expanded its checked bag fees internationally to some passengers traveling to Europe and North Africa.
7. Marketers swap social-media influencers for "champions."
The appeal of social-media stars paid to hawk a product is waning. What companies want now: authenticity. It’s becoming easier to find everyday people already raving about a product on Instagram; new software makes it simple to turn those posts into campaigns. “An influencer is someone who gets paid; a champion is someone who really, really likes a brand,” says David Sable, global CEO of creative agency Y&R.
8. Gene-editing techniques move closer from labs to reality.
Gene editing — clipping and tweaking human DNA using a technology known as CRISPR — will only become more advanced in 2018, predicts Walter Isaacson, who’s written biographies on Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and, most recently, Leonardo da Vinci. The technology will have “huge beneficial consequences when it comes to fighting disease and getting rid of congenital problems,” he says, while also raising new ethical questions. “Do we want to have the ability to make our children taller, or have a different eye color, skin color, whatever we might choose?”
9. Bitcoin comes careening down to earth.
The cryptocurrency that looked unstoppable in 2017, rising from below $1,000 at the start of the year to nearly $19,000, will crash in 2018, warns Danielle DiMartino Booth, president of Money Strong and a LinkedIn Top Voice. “The bitcoin bubble has long since surpassed anything in recorded history in terms of the size of the bubble. If it were to continue through all of 2018, we're going to be in real trouble, because then it's going to have the ability to contaminate other parts of the financial system, and bring it down with it,” she says.
10. Hello, M&A boom.
Disney-Fox and CVS-Aetna are just the beginning. Get ready for a M&A boom in 2018, says Sydney Finkelstein, a management professor at Dartmouth College. Corporate tax cuts and a booming, if hard-to-predict, economy add to the motivation for deals. Those factors make “CEOs afraid of what is going to happen” while providing “money and the resources to get bigger,” Finkelstein says, leading CEOs to seek out M&A opportunities. Who’s on the hunt: Amazon, which Finkelstein thinks will make its next acquisition in retail or healthcare. He’s also closely eyeing entertainment companies, including Viacom, and big hospital chains such as Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). In healthcare, more players will likely attempt to merge both to “buy” growth and to position against future threats, says Jonathan Bush, CEO of Athenahealth.
11. The Chinese dream becomes more attainable than the American dream.
“The Chinese political model is less in need of structural reform in 2018 than the American political model,” says Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZero Media. “We have this amazing country and we have an amazing political system, but it's become sporadic and polarized and fragmented. The world has been changing for decades and we've not changed our system. There are real problems with the Chinese model, but for the average Chinese citizen who sees the extraordinary benefits that have been provided to them, it feels very aligned with that focus on growth and the Chinese dream. I think the Chinese dream today is a more real prospect for the average Chinese than the American dream is for the average American.”
12. Startups will scramble to get ready for new privacy regulations.
“I think the European data privacy regulations (GDPR), which [go into effect] in May 2018, will come as a shock to many startups, even those focused on the U.S. (but with EU customers/users). I'm working to get myself up to speed on this so I can help startups get ready. The fines are serious.” — Jake Saper, principal at Emergence Capital and a LinkedIn Top Voice.
13. The most-advanced self-driving car will go on sale. But...
In the fall, Audi is set to release the first commercial vehicle to achieve Level 3 autonomy, meaning it can drive itself while monitoring its surroundings, in what could become a closely watched test case for self-driving vehicles. Even if consumers can buy the redesigned 2019 A8 sedan, don’t expect them to be able to drive it with all features enabled — yet. “Lawmakers may not be ready for that,” says Kelsey Mays, senior consumer affairs editor at Cars.com, noting the industry is watching carefully to see how regulators respond. “That will actually provide a blueprint for what’s fair game for other automakers to do.”
14. The first African-American boards the International Space Station.
NASA Astronaut Jeanette Epps heads into space in May and will serve as a flight engineer for Expedition 56-57. “Her achievement can help motivate future STEM girls to reach for the stars,” says Shanika Robinson, student success coach at Dallas County Community College District and a LinkedIn Top Voice.
15. Atlanta is the odds-on favorite in the race for Amazon HQ2.
When Amazon put out a call for proposals for its second North American headquarters, 238 cities and regions heeded the call. Predictions followed — media outlets from CNBC to Quartz to the New York Times analyzed and ranked top contenders. In a meta analysis of 18 predictions, one city clearly rose to the top: Atlanta. Bert Sperling, president of Sperling’s Best Places, which conducted the analysis, says Atlanta was on almost everyone’s shortlist, though Boston and Chicago trailed very closely. “It’s certainly not a lock. Amazon is looking for a unicorn: low cost of living, an educated workforce, large airports, international flights, affordable housing and available office space,” he says. “There is no area that meets all those criteria, which means they will have to take a chance on rebuilding or remaking an area to meet their criteria.”
16. Central bank experiments go awry.
“Look at the European Central Bank and the fact that it owned on its balance sheet an investment grade bond that was downgraded to junk. Think about that. The central bank owning a junk bond. When it was the sub-prime crisis, we bled into the world financial system. Today, I worry about central banks that have gone into even bigger experiments blowing up the system somehow, being the catalyst [for a financial crisis].” — Danielle DiMartino Booth, president of Money Strong and a LinkedIn Top Voice.
17. The U.S. becomes landlord nation.
By Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin
The last decade has seen the most expansionary fiscal policy in American history. What has historically stopped governments from printing money willy-nilly is inflation, when the price of groceries, gas, gadgets, books, bicycles and everything else under the sun shoots through the roof. But that hasn’t happened in this century because other forces keep making stuff cheaper: Amazon has made it easy for consumers to see when one product does the same thing as another but for a lower price. Globalization has shifted manufacturing to wherever wages are lowest. And robots are doing most of the work for free.
The only asset that is still made locally, by hand, with utterly unique characteristics, is a house. And there, inflation is roaring: the price of that one asset has increased 35 percent in five years. The Federal Reserve sets aside the cost of houses when deciding whether inflation is a problem even though that cost is, for most Americans, the primary determinant of where we can afford to live, and how much money we have left over to spend on everything else. The result has been that printing presses run day and night, creating money much faster than we can create houses.
And because we made money cheap at the same time that we cut off credit to half of America, one group of people has been able to buy houses, and the other group has had to rent them, creating a landlord nation where the divide in assets is much wider even than the divide in income. Cheap money, unevenly distributed, has resulted in expensive houses, unevenly distributed. It’ll be a seller’s market for years to come.
18. Much-hated resort fees spread to city hotels.
Loathe resort fees? Steady yourself: Those dreaded, extra per-night charges will come to a city hotel in the form of “urban destination fees.” Bjorn Hanson, an industry veteran who is a clinical professor at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, says about 15 New York hotels already charge the fees, along with a handful of others in Los Angeles and San Francisco. New York’s largest hotel, the nearly 2,000-room Hilton New York, began assessing a $25 per day fee in 2017. And while travel writers like Gary Leff called it “the dumbest fee I’ve seen,” backlash from consumers has been surprisingly muted, Hanson says. That could spell pain in 2018. “It’s spreading more quickly than I would have thought because of the consumer response,” Hanson notes, raising fears it could jump to smaller, secondary cities next.
19. Is that item gut-friendly? Menus will tell you.
Restaurateurs eager to appeal to a finicky, health-obsessed population will spell out in greater detail how items affect the body, a trend known as “functionality,” says Lizzy Freier, managing editor of food consultancy Technomic. What to expect: ever-more-elaborate menu descriptions that explain how certain ingredients — turmeric, aloe, even collagen, which Jamba Juice added to a smoothie earlier this year — are “brain-boosting,” “gut-friendly” or “anti-inflammatory.”
20. A.I. will help you write a book or craft a compelling speech.
Remember that speech you gave that just killed? That blog post you wrote you still adore? Why’d you love it? Get ready for answers. Artificial intelligence’s next frontier is creativity, predicts Wharton professor and author Adam Grant. He’s looking to A.I. to analyze everything he’s created so he can decipher patterns — clever sentence structures, amusing story arcs — and replicate the success. “A.I. is going to help us learn from our own successful routines,” he says. While 2018 may be just a start, Grant’s preparing; he expects to set up a database with all his work, so he’s ready once the bots can start processing.
21. Smart companies will start handing out a new kind of bonus.
Companies can tout their high-level diversity programs all they want. But smarter companies will try a new tactic in 2018: cash. “Pay them for it,” Ellevest's Krawcheck says, with manager bonuses tied to diversity goals. “Diversity actually outperforms meritocracy; the research is clear.”
22. Companies bring back profits. What they won’t do: Create jobs.
Tax cuts give U.S. companies an incentive to bring back some of the estimated $3.1 trillion in profits stashed overseas. But don’t count on repatriation leading to a boom in new jobs or investments. Jay Ritter, a University of Florida finance professor, says a more likely scenario is the money funding stock buybacks and dividends. “There aren’t a whole lot of companies, bigger companies out there, saying: ‘I really got all these great investment opportunities, that if taxes were just a little bit lower, or I had a little bit more money coming back from overseas, I would then go on this huge spending spree,’” Ritter said. Executives agree. When a Wall Street Journal editor asked a room of CEOs in November if the tax plan would lead them to make investments, only a few raised their hands in agreement, leading to a now-memorable moment when White House economic advisor Gary Cohn asked: “Why aren't the other hands up?”
23. Hospital emergency rooms will be flooded...
“If the tax bill gets passed, the Affordable Care Act is gone as we know it because the individual mandate is gone. There’s one thing we know about people’s healthcare behavior: they don’t go get the care they need when they can’t afford it. Without the individual mandate, more people aren’t going to have insurance. We’re going to go back in time and see people waiting to get care. The result is going to be overrun emergency rooms — and it’s going to be financially devastating for them and for doctors because we have to care for people and hospitals aren’t going to pay for that.” — Joshua Powell, CEO of Capital Region Special Surgery, a healthcare group in upstate New York, and a LinkedIn Top Voice.
24. ...and doctors will get paid less.
We’ll see the effects on the delivery side: without insurance, people can’t pay their bills. For example, a child breaks a leg, there’s a bill for the surgery, the doctor, the anesthesia — the bundle of care adds up to $15,000. Insurance will pay out $8,000, so doctors recoup some of that cost, explains Powell. Without insurance, they’re waiting for the patient to pay. And often they don’t have it — revenue isn’t coming into doctors.
It’s part of why we see more hospital groups — there’s an influx of mid-level providers that you can pay less. “Medicine is going to change in terms of an employment sector and how much people can make in the field,” says Powell.
25. Amazon becomes the filter for corporate strategy.
Corporate America's obsession with Amazon runs so deep that the company is mentioned more in corporate earnings calls than even Trump, Bloomberg found. “The big business shift for 2018 in most sectors will be WWAD: What will Amazon do?,” says Focus Brand's Cole. “Amazon and other large technologically-enabled marketplace disruptors will become the first filter for strategy for traditional retail and service business models. While the shifts in how the consumer searches, sees, orders and receives goods and services is already affecting legacy businesses, next year will bear more of a corporate awakening where this impact is clearly seen in strategy, acquisitions, investments and divestments.”
26. The stock market will experience a 1987-style sell-off.
The second-longest bull market in U.S. history will come to a halt, ending years of record highs. “We think we'll see a stock market sell-off, similar to 1987, sometime during 2018,” predicts Steven Kopits, president of Princeton Energy Advisors. In 1987, “the Dow dropped by 23 percent — the equivalent of 5,700 points today — in just a few weeks. There was no subsequent recession then, and we don't think there will be one now, in part because 11 of the last 12 U.S. recessions featured an oil shock, and robust U.S. production won't let that happen in 2018.”
27. You’ll lose your favorite TV show to a harassment scandal.
The Harvey Weinstein revelations kicked open a conversation about abuse in Hollywood, and the issue is far from settled. Within entertainment, it’s now an open question: “What’s the next bombshell?” says Fienberg, the television critic for The Hollywood Reporter. “Who’s the next showrunner or producer or star who we’re going to hear did horrible things and causes what beloved show to be torpedoed or made never-discussable again?” An abuse allegation could quickly kill a popular show, a small price for a cultural reckoning. “I don’t think we’ve reached the point that all of the bad people in Hollywood have been exposed,” Fienberg says.
28. New leaders emerge to take charge on climate change.
After the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, something encouraging happened: mayors and governors across the U.S. pledged to help. “In 2018, I think we'll continue to see encouraging progress on climate at the city and state level in the U.S., as well as on the international stage,” says Mark Tercek, CEO of the Nature Conservancy. The leader he’s watching closely: China’s Xi Jinping, who has pledged to do more to tackle climate change. Based on Tercek’s recent visits to China, “I think Xi and his colleagues really mean it. Expect big things in the coming year as China steps up to make good on this promise.”
29. Hashtags become legal contracts.
Companies are doing away with signatures, those fusty, centuries-old signs of approval. In 2018, prepare for more companies to embrace the hashtag, that social-media mainstay, to voice approval. On Instagram, big brands like Marriott already ask users to sign away the rights to a photo this way. The fine print makes clear: A hashtag counts as accepting the terms of the agreement.
30. Manufacturing towns start to change their tone.
President Trump rode to office promising to remake American manufacturing. That helped him carry communities like Adamstown, Penn., home to the Bollman Hats factory, founded in 1868. Don Rongione, the hatmaker’s president and CEO, says many of his 180 Pennsylvania-based employees supported Trump in 2016 after previously supporting Democrats. But watch for shifts in tone. “If they don’t see results soon, and they haven’t seen it yet, I think there's going to be increasing unrest of promises not kept,” Rongione says.
31. Oil demand (and prices) will stay high.
Oil inventories have been shrinking rapidly since mid-summer, and worldwide oil prices are now higher than in the U.S. That means that “virtually every drop of incremental oil production is destined for export,” says Steven Kopits, president of Princeton Energy Advisors. “Demand seems to be growing faster than expectations, much faster, in fact.” Expect oil prices to remain at or above recent levels, he says.
32. The number of polio cases drops to zero.
In 2017, only 17 polio cases emerged worldwide, a breakthrough compared to two decades prior, when 20 cases struck every half hour. Come next summer, the number of polio cases could fall to zero. “It’d be a great milestone to say to people, ‘Hey, it looks like it's gone,’ because it would remind them that these projects can be super effective,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has financed efforts to combat the disease. “It's been 37 years since the last and only disease ever eradicated, which was smallpox.”
33. Silicon Valley’s 40-year frat party comes to an end.
By Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin
I’ve seen that party at other companies, and been lucky enough to be a part of something else here at Redfin. What I’ve learned is first that an all-male group in power is by itself intimidating and silencing to women. This is why men in such groups are so surprised by how their actions affect women: there’s no one around to tell them.
But some of the most egregious offenders have known exactly what they were doing. This is another lesson of the #MeToo movement: that whenever people can act with impunity, many often do. The only real check on that is diversity, in gender but also in race and age, sexual orientation, political affiliation and military service.
Just being around different types of people does more magic than any kind of lesson, book or speech. And, especially for people in power, going just a few feet out of our way to make someone feel welcome or to consider a different point of view can be transformative. I’ve seen what happens when women are well-represented on our board and among our engineers and executives: It encourages more women at Redfin to thrive, and it lets everyone at the company hear perspectives we hadn’t before. It also helps us make more money.
34. Companies make open offices less miserable.
No one pines for a return of the dusty cubicle, but the proliferation of open offices has led to unintended consequences: noisy spaces and eavesdropping colleagues. Watch for companies and the office designers behind them to make changes, installing more “respite zones” and quiet, noise-reducing areas to encourage deep thinking, predicts David Lathrop, director of applied research for SteelCase. The most cutting-edge spaces will let employees work anywhere. “Instead of having a workstation or office assigned to me, the entire office is mine,” Lathrop says. “It’s designed as a playground that I can execute my own interests and desires.”
35. Landlords warm to micro leases.
A glut of empty storefronts in urban centers will force landlords to sign ever-shorter leases, some for mere months. “So much of our interest is seasonal,” says Paco Underhill, the retail consultant and CEO of Envirosell. To combat sluggish sales in traditional retail, he envisions concepts moving more frequently to better align with consumers’ interests. An ice-cream concept could set up shop in New York’s West Village in the summer, then shut down and relocate to Miami for the fall and winter.
36. Board games enter the classroom (and cubicle).
Board games had a big comeback this year and retailers cashed in: Target released 70 exclusive board games in July and Hasbro launched a subscription service in June that delivers a curated collection of board games every three months. Get ready for these games to show up elsewhere. “While the trend is currently centered on entertainment-based games, I think we are starting to see an increase in the use of board games from a learning perspective in both corporate and academic settings,” says Karl Kapp, a professor at Bloomsburg University and a LinkedIn Top Voice.
37. HQ Trivia inspires platforms to do scheduled programming.
Silicon Valley’s never too ashamed to copy a good idea. The rapid ascent of HQ Trivia — the live, participatory game show app, scheduled at 9 p.m. daily (and 3 p.m. on weekdays) — will only encourage other platforms to consider a return to more scheduled programming, predicts David Sable, global CEO of creative agency Y&R. “Because it’s digital, nobody says you had to release everything at the same time,” he says.
38. The new must-have corporate perk: job retraining.
On college campuses, something unusual is happening: Students are asking corporate recruiters whether companies will help them get new skills as jobs shift, says James Manyika, chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute. Corporations such as Walmart and AT&T have already launched retraining programs and more are expected. As roles morph, professionals should spend the year in constant learning mode, says entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” star Daymond John, whose latest venture is a high-end co-working space called Blueprint + Co. Too many people think new skills will “magically come to their cubicle,” John says. “It’s not going to happen.”
39. Big brands launch secret hotels.
Big brands, desperate to reach consumers, have spent years launching pop-up shops and temporary exhibits. Now, look for companies to seek new ways to convene communities— experiences “powered by” brands — centered on shared states of mind: “secret hotels, secret meetings, secret gatherings, less about celebrity or privilege and more about psychographics,” says Comstock, vice chair of GE.
40. Your job — yes, you’ll still have one – will start to shift.
Lost in the hand-wringing discussions on the automation of work is this finer point: The bulk of jobs won’t disappear, they’ll merely change, says James Manyika, chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute. He puts what’s happening into three buckets: jobs lost (think cashiers); jobs gained (robot repairers); and jobs changed (the rest of us). Get ready to see more of that change starting next year. McKinsey predicts up to a third of Americans may need to switch occupations entirely by 2030.
41. The (new) great migration begins.
By Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin
Redfin’s revenues have long been concentrated in a few large markets, but all that changed in 2017 with explosive growth in places like Denver, Detroit, Houston, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City. Now in 2018, this great migration will reshape the country. Silicon Valley will start to leave Silicon Valley, Wall Street will start to leave Wall Street.
Under investor pressure to limit stock-based compensation, technology companies will follow Amazon’s lead to open major campuses in America’s forgotten places. Tax reform will shake up the whole snow globe of American demographics, as the impact of high state and local taxes will now be punitive for residents of most coastal cities.
As people move, America may become less polarized. In an economy where people can use GitHub and Slack to work anywhere, where we fly in planes as casually as we used to drive in cars, where services that were once restricted to Manhattan are now available on-demand in Milwaukee, the physical divide between wealthy liberals and working-class conservatives can only persist for so long. These separate charges, building up at either pole, will arc across the gap.
Nothing could be better for this country.
42. Even the most obscure foods will be delivered.
In the restaurant industry, the hottest (and jargon-iest) word is “off-premise.” Translation: delivery, everywhere. “So many restaurants are looking at delivery now,” says Lizzy Freier, managing editor of food consultancy Technomic, in part to revive slumping sales. Expect the trend to intensify — from high-brow to low. One example: McDonald’s will likely offer delivery at half of its about 14,000 U.S. locations next year, predicts Jeffries analyst Andy Barish.
43. The American mall will look more like a town square.
“The 1980s model of basically selling apparel and gifts doesn’t work,” says Underhill, the retail consultant. So as U.S. malls struggle to revive themselves, expect them to further embrace grocery stores, gyms, aerobics studios, apartments and services that convince consumers to make more frequent visits. It’s not only about selling experiences but also merchandise. “Our digital and physical experiences are indelibly intertwined: The pathway to purchase isn’t a straight line anymore,” Underhill says.
44. It becomes harder to discuss controversial opinions.
Discussing challenging ideas has become next to impossible in America, Y Combinator president Sam Altman writes. He says that our fear of offending others is stifling conversations that help us understand diverse point of views. “The best ideas are barely possible to express at all, and if you’re constantly thinking about how everything you say might be misinterpreted, you won’t let the best ideas get past the fragment stage,” he wrote. Famed entrepreneur Anil Dash called Altman’s claim that he feels uncomfortable sharing his ideas “ridiculous,” but Altman could be onto something: Will 2018 be the year to have more uncomfortable conversations at work? According to the billionaire investor, it’s the only way “to get the really good ideas.”
45. Get ready to buy Grandma an Alexa.
“One of the trends I am watching in 2018 is the continued proliferation of voice-based services, which will most certainly have an impact on a consumer’s day-to-day life. We are already seeing growing adoption of virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The integration of these connected devices and artificial intelligence has the potential to transform the lives of millions of older Americans, enabling richer experiences and a safer independent living environment.” — Theodora Lau, director of market innovation at AARP and a LinkedIn Top Voice. (“Saturday Night Live” predicted the trend even earlier.)
46. CEOs get a new direct report: the CLO.
Entire segments of the population may need to switch occupations in the future, so more companies will choose to help by appointing chief learning officers, reporting to the CEO. These executives can help workforces soak up new skills, preparing staffers for the future that could include job displacements, predicts Grant, the Wharton professor. “If you don’t think it’s strategic to have a function that comes right down from the C-suite — to think how do we retrain, and how do we reskill? — then you’re going to be missing out on a really, high-qualified workforce to do jobs that don’t exist today.”
47. Venues introduce 'EZ Pass for security lines' at concerts.
“For 2018 and beyond, there are new technologies that promise to minimize scanners and threat-detection systems. The smaller and less expensive they get, the more common they’ll become. Someday, they may be installed in all public spaces at all times — as opposed to being used only at high-security events like Times Square on New Year’s Eve like they are today. But first, we’ll probably see systems like this rolled out on a voluntary basis at privately-owned public venues, such as ball games and concerts. We may even see frequent patrons choose to opt-in to identification systems (including, possibly, systems that use biometrics like fingerprints) for the sake of speed and convenience — effectively an EZ Pass for security lines.” — Bill Bratton, former New York City police commissioner and current chairman of Teneo Risk.
48. You’ll buy your cheapest car in years.
As the economy recovered after the Great Recession, pent-up demand for cars led to a surge of leasing deals. Now, prepare for a glut of used cars on dealer lots. There were 1.8 million used cars across the U.S. in November, according to Cars.com data. That’s a 6 percent increase since July and the biggest spike in at least two years, said Kelsey Mays, senior consumer affairs editor at the site. On top of that, automakers are also resorting to heavy discounts for new cars. All of which leads to one conclusion: 2018 should be an auto buyer’s market.
49. The restaurant industry confronts the ‘walking dead.’
Much like retail, scores of restaurant chains have taken on debt or over-expanded in recent years. Now, “there are definitely too many restaurants,” says Panera CEO Ron Shaich. But, unlike some, he’s not predicting a wholesale restaurant apocalypse or wave of bankruptcies in 2018. Instead, “the walking dead” restaurant chains, as he calls them — smaller, regional players that have largely stopped innovating — will be forced to go private or merge.
50. Sexual harassment training grows up.
Most sexual harassment training today is dull, predictable, and worse, ineffective. In the wake of #MeToo, Wharton's Grant says the training will get a full overhaul in corporate America. “We’re going to see much more in prevention,” he says.