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Celebrating Progress: Evaluating Design Shifts and the Road to 2024

As we prepare for 2024, let’s take a reflective journey through ThinkLab’s Tectonic Shifts, an annual presentation designed to distill key insights for navigating the nuanced landscape of the interiors industry and the broader built environment. This annual tradition by ThinkLab isn’t some far out future that may or may not happen, it’s designed to help you sort through the immense amount of information coming at you. But how did we do? And how have these predictions evolved? Last year this included 5 foundational shifts you should make to avoid falling behind (Shifts 1-5) as well as 5 shifts to get ahead. (Shifts 6-10)

an infographic on foundational shifts designers need to make to stay ahead

So, let’s look at how it started and how it’s going:

01. Shift from communication to connection

How it’s going: Connecting takes a lot more intentionality if it’s done digitally. We, as humans, need to be careful not to naturally choose convenience over connection. (And also guard our world from disconnection.) As an industry, and as a world, we are still working through this shift. The future will be not just about shifting from communication to connection, but more about taking that one step further to really focus on culture and NEW ways to build it.

Explore how to Redefine Your Office Culture  in this podcast episode.

02. Shift from talent acquisition to talent transformation

How it’s going: Hybrid work, the explosion of AI, and our new boundaryless world will require shifts in what we expect from our employees, and what employees expect from employers. Some even suggest that in the future job titles will be skill-based rather than prestige titles that can mean different things at different organizations. One of the keys to employee loyalty will be upskilling and reskilling for an emerging future.

Check out this podcast episode to understand how Gen Z learns differently AND how to inspire lifelong learning for all generations.

03. Shift from “just sustainability” to social consciousness

How it’s going: Today, your brand is either authentically practicing what it preaches, or it’s seen as detracting from the cause. There’s no longer a neutral option. At ThinkLab, we’ve had SO MANY BRANDS reach out to us saying, “I think sustainability is it! This will be our brand’s true differentiator moving forward.” While we do agree that brands will need to “do what you say, and also say what you do” if not executed authentically, this will cause more harm than good for your brand.

Looking for ways to guide your brand, and your clients, to make better decisions when it comes to the environment? We recommend tuning into this podcast. 

04. Shift from chaos to controlled

How it’s going: While 2023 started with lingering supply chain issues, this feeling of lack of control has expanded in the face of lingering “decision indecision.” 52% of B2B buyers say the buying cycle for new purchases has gotten longer. And ThinkLab data suggests it’s even higher for our industry. Add to that, the largest sector in our industry- corporate- is down 19% since the onset of the pandemic, and due to uncertainty is projected to be very slow to recover. This means much of our industry is going to be looking to diversify in 2024 and beyond.

If you’re feeling the pain of client decision-indecision, you’re not alone. Find out more about ThinkLab’s 2024 Hackathon, which is diving into the Future of Customer Decision Making; with not only A&D, but CRE, distributors, and even our end users IN THE ROOM.

Want to learn more about what shifts to expect in 2024? Visit ThinkLab to continue reading the full story.

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