Rather than reflect – and count cities, flights or highlights – I thought I’d look forward for the last blog of the year.

With Watershed I am defining some of the key digital trends for 2014 – those which will have a strategic business impact in the medium term. In many ways this is much harder than you would think – trying to take a big picture view of technology driven change which is happening everywhere, and at a fundamental level. But if you blur your eyes enough some headlines emerge. Draft thoughts below:

2014 trends


Mobile continues its journey from communications device to the centre of our lives. It is the tool through which we organise and process everything – demanding immediacy and efficiency – creating an environment of great commercial potential, but one demanding careful execution.


All action and interaction in the digital world leaves a trail – and the collection, exploitation and protection of this data trail is generating major shifts in business practice – enabling targeted service personalisation but also raising significant policy issues.


The term Pervasive Computing implies a digital interaction, which can be conscious or automatic, but is always driven by context. Wearable computing, gesture interface & image recognition and a world of connected objects, move the digital interaction away from the “device” to a more “unconscious” mode of usage.


The digital world has the ability to remove barriers, drive down costs and distribute access – creating spaces for disruptive new paradigms. 3D printing will allow more people more access to the tools of production as it moves from the experimental to a consumer proposition. Crowd-funding will continue to grow up from novelty to legitimate business practice – making anyone and everyone a potential investor.


Digital drives accessibility, immediacy and transparency – and as a consequence generates shifts in societal attitudes and norms. Open innovation brings collaboration to the heart of research and development. Next generation consumers – the millennials – communicate differently, entertain themselves differently, think differently.

And finally the picture at the top. There have been a lot of amazing venues this year but walking up Downing Street last week to knock on the door of No.10 (and be legitimately let in) was a personal highlight (I know, I said I wasn’t doing them…).

Happy Xmas, Mark

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