The Japanese concept of Ikigai, or “reason for being” tops our Macro Trends list for its ability to cross-pollinate industries as people and brands navigate wellness, satisfaction, delight, uncertainty, and purpose.
In Japanese, 'Iki' = Life and 'Gai' = Worth.
The Western concept of Ikigai is an intersection of four spheres: what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. To best understand cause and results, we recommend viewing the Venn diagram within the images above.
Ikigai represents the intersection of meaningfulness that’s undeniably relevant for 2019 as people reevaluate connectivity and personal productivity. This source of value, linked to actions rather than financial status, incorporate cultural and socioeconomic trends such as transparency, enlightenment, emotional intelligence, privilege, fluidity, and wellbeing that profoundly impact the worlds of design, retail, travel, food, beverage, art, and fashion.
As you can imagine, there are plenty of paths toward achieving Ikigai in life and that’s where micro themes, insights, and motivations thrive. Significant cultural shifts taking place now explore the part-time solutions for discovering passions and transferring that experience into full-time actions, such as:
- Conscious Reset: At Yale University, Professor Laurie Santos’ class ‘The Science of Well Being’ was the most popular in the school’s history. According to an April 2018 Report, 78,000 people in more than 168 countries around the world have enrolled – proving that the Conscious Reset isn’t just a generational movement. Strategies to build better habits and increase happiness are shaping how we design, where we travel, what we wear, and how we eat.
- Side Helpful: If 37% of Americans and more than half of the Millennials have a Side Hustle, then why do we care about a Side Helpful? Because not everyone needs or wants to hustle to achieve happiness and feel meaningful in life. The rise of the Side Helpful helps to connect people with alternative ways to serve, delight, and nourish humanity without the pressures of earning money. It can be as small as showing support for a local business on Instagram, or as big as co-mentoring, lecturing, or volunteering. The barometer for a Side Helpful is purely individual and rooted in movements like Community over Competition, Sharing Economy, and Social Currency.
- Ethos: Are you incorporating joy in little moments in life? Us too. Ethos prompts slower living, purposeful choices, and ecosystem disruption that’s tactile, emotional, and undeniably human. Derived from JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) and Authenticity trends, this theme shapes a new view of each person’s unique contribution, cultural impact, and digital footprint upon society. Ethos’ “people first” landscape will demand stronger ethics, empathy, and diversity.
- Circular Economy: Tidying up with Marie Kondo on Netflix has sparked more than joy with her “thank you” approach to items we disregard – resulting in a surge in thrift store donations. Those simple acts of respect for belongings, in combination with upcycling, minimalist movements, and shifts in design/manufacturing are reshaping views on a Circular Economy beyond biological resources that may have seemed unachievable or unbelievable for many consumers in the past. If the Enlightenment and Sustainability trends had a baby, it would be this evolved, healing, and regenerative theme that replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration.