What will the world look like in 2016? ‘Sofie’s crystal ball’

The person who knows what the future holds has a lot of power, don’t you agree? But how much can anyone really know? Some people believe what a fortune teller says, and others prefer to read the stars, and some perform mystical rituals so the future will turn out the way they want.

The year has now kicked off and here are some of my predictions.

Sofie Sandell crystal ball

The biggest challenge of the year will be about people, immigration, refugees and human rights. Who will take responsibility for who? What does it mean to be a human being in 2016? What borders will matter, and why did we set them up? There is more fear in the world than ever, and there are far too many scared politicians who won’t do much except talk and avoid answering questions.

Isis is spreading its power across the world. Manipulating the human brain is one of their specialities. They are effectively using all communication tools available, and the altruistic dream of shutting down the internet won’t stop them. The issues surrounding different belief systems and values are crash-landing on planet Earth on a regular basis.

The UK may exit the European Union in 2016, and that is going to start a storm in a political tea-cup. About one million opinion columns about the topic will be written and then shared over social media.

A successor to Ban Ki-moon, the new UN Secretary General will be elected. Transparency about who is elected has been poor in the past, will anything change this year? And will the UN consider a women leader? There is not enough open criticism about large institutions like the UN; a lot of decisions are made behind closed doors. Will this change? Probably not! For deeper insights go here.

READ MORE   What is a hackathon? Digital Leadership Insights Interviews with Sofie Sandell & Alejandro Saucedo

A year ago who could have guessed that Donald Trump would have the support he has in his presidential campaign? I predict he will have 366 bad hair days in 2016.

A new president will be elected in the US. Is this the most important election of the year? I would say it is.


Last year I spoke at the same event as Robin Zucker, SVP of Marketing at Playboy, and she said that they will stop using pictures of naked women. Why? Because it doesn’t work on social media and is “passé”.

The 2016 Pirelli calendar and Annie Leibovitz made a big statement in the way the women featured were shot. The photographs have a new aesthetic feeling, using humour and history in a way I’ve not seen in any of the calendars before.

Amy Schumer 2016 Pirelli calendar

A few days ago I saw that the American magazine Women’s Health is retiring two expressions, ‘bikini body’ and ‘drop two sizes’.

As consumers, we are overwhelmed by lots of messages in the media every day, and it’s about time that editors-in-chief take responsibility for the way they use language and sexism in media. Unfortunately, thousands of other editors won’t do anything about this. They will mostly think about selling more issues and advertising space.

Marketing and branding

In 2015, we started to use ad-blockers to stop annoying adverts appearing when we surf the web. One trend that will take off in 2016 is more human-friendly ads that we can bear having in our ongoing online feed. Consumers are tired of creepy targeted ads that show us things we’ve already bought.

READ MORE   Eric Schmidt’s 2014 Predictions About Digital and Social Media

We are going to spend more time on our mobile devices and for advertising there is a big trend in making vertical videos, you know, those videos that fit a mobile device screen. It’s a format that will exist in conjunction with classic horizontal videos.

When it comes to new content in social media the need is enormous. Without relevant content, you will disappear online and you need to think, plan and action all great ideas that are available to you.

What people really lack is time and clarity, and if you create information and present data in a way that helps people find clarity and save time you do the world a favour.

There will also be more cat videos posted online. The internet cat invasion will not stop until 2050, so please get used to it.

One of the biggest influencers of 2016 will be Mark Zuckerberg. Follow him on Facebook and see what he is doing. We are not going to spend less time online, we are going to spend more, and Facebook will do everything they can to keep us using their application. Some people will be more conscious about their time management skills, staying away from the internet and online world every now and then, but a big number of people will also live with the feeling of constant information fatigue.

Identity, gender and sexuality matter in 2016. Brands and people who fall behind this movement will struggle. Identity theory is a topic that will matter in 2016. Caitlyn Jenner became the symbol for choosing who you truly are in 2015.

READ MORE   The future of digital media? You had better look back five years

Many countries have successfully adopted new laws that embrace love and equality, but there are still plenty of countries that do not support equal marriage rights. The debate will continue in 2016.

In 2016, there are some big sports events that will grab our attention, the Olympics and the UEFA European Championship. All of the brands that are involved will make the most of our digital media enslavement and create fun and engaging content that everyone will share and talk about online. The ability to understand people, content, creativity and technology are a huge advantage. If you don’t have this skill, you will lag behind.

Also in 2016, Volkswagen will be looking for new branding advisors. Luckily, Sepp Blatter, former president of FIFA, is available to do some extra work.

More people will be curious to try out mHealth, where you track your health with the help of your mobile phone. But remember that it’s only proactive and curious people who will give it a try. A big chunk of all humans won’t do anything at all to improve or manage their health in 2016.

Being an honest leader the people around you can trust is for sure the right way to go in 2016. Living in denial is so 1990s.

Have a great day ahead.
Thank you for reading. If you think your network would like to read the article please share it.

I read every email, comment and tweet that you send me, so please do reach out.

My website is www.sofiesandell.com

Sign up to my Digital Leadership Inspiration newsletter here.