October 7, 2022

Gather Conference 2022 – A two-day visit to the future

There is no better way to spot trends and signals of change than immersing in real-life observations and conversations. Augur sent a team of trendspotters to Gather Conference to join other future-forward thinkers and speakers in dialogues about the future.

Gather Conference is back in Stockholm after a two-year hiatus. Described as “communal meeting ground for thought-leaders, big-thinkers, and industry-changers from many different intersections”, 2022 year’s themes included Cities & Society, Democracy & Power, and Humans & Machines.  

Metaverse and the Future of Retail

Not surprisingly, most speakers mentioned Web3 and Metaverse, concluding that we do not yet know what they will be other than being the next iteration of the internet we know today. According to one of the keynote speakers Ida Kymmer, Director of Global Affairs at Journee, a Metaverse platform, 77% of people asked believe the Metaverse will cause serious problems for society. It’s a topic that sparks controverse and emotions. Despite the fear around the notion of Metaverse, a dystopian future where we will walk around wearing VR-glasses and stop being present in the physical world, Ida sees great potential for those who get there early.

“If we talk about the future of Retail we need to talk about the future of internet.”

Ida Kymmer, Director of Global Affairs at Journee  

Retail brands need to consider their presence not only in traditional channels (physical and digital), but also in Metaverse. In this new sphere, it will not be about replicating how we shop in the “real” world, but rather about adding completely new experiences. Experiences that perhaps wouldn’t even be possible in a physical setting. Imagine being able to wear clothes you couldn’t (or wouldn’t)wear in real life – a space explored by fashion designer Stina Randestad, who joined Ida on-stage and who approaches fabric in the intersection between craft, technology and innovation.

Ida and Stina also discussed the Metaverse from a sustainability perspective, both hoping AR and 3D technologies will enable us to for example try out clothes virtually before purchasing them, resulting in more made-to-measure items and less waste. Physical shops in the city centers could then act as “experience centers” for consumers to touch the fabric and explore collections.

Future-proofing organizations and leadership  

Azra Osmancevic, startup founder, angel investor, and Head of Business Development at Viaplay Group, opened a panel discussion about the Future of Work, Leadership and Organizations. She talked about the 10 things she has learned about future-proofing leadership from connecting with future-ready leaders in her network. The advice includes the importance of reconnecting with your passion, supporting life-long learning among co-workers, balancing humanity and tech, and acting as a facilitator for young talent looking to advance in their career.

“Future-ready leaders are not surprised about change. They are good at considering multiple solutions and trends, and they tap into things outside their industry.”

Azra Osmancevic, Startup founder and Head of Business Development at Viaplay Group

She also stressed the importance of leaders being able to consider multiple solutions and trends, as well as adapting to change. Beyond multi-tasking, which for along time has been a key skill for successful leaders to master, being able to hyper focus is key.  

Judith Wolst, entrepreneur, digital adviser, and founder of SusTechable, joked about the amount of buzz words to expect in her talk “How to organize around the things that matter”. Her view on Web3 is a dual one – on the one hand it holds potential in terms of inclusiveness and decentralized ownership, but on the other hand also challenges around trust and anonymity.

Explaining briefly the concept of cryptocurrencies, DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), she aimed at explaining the fundamentals behind the next web. Organizations such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are exploring the opportunities of the new crypto-based Web3 through tapping into the current “revolution” within the art arena, where NFT art is exploding.WWF has created a collection of Non-Fungible Animals, or NFAs, a highly limited number of crypto artworks with the aim of raising awareness and funds for the conservation of ten endangered species.

Coming together in turbulent times

The second day of the conference focused on ways people can come together to collectively shape the future to tackle the large challenges our society and planet are facing. Nicolas Arroyo, one of the Founding Partners of Copenhagen-based Future Design agency Bespoke (now part of Manyone) talked about utilizing and thriving in uncertainty, and the importance of bringing people together to co-create a collective vision of the future.          

Climate change, war, political turbulence. Energy crisis, inflation – there are many worrying clouds on the horizon indeed. But exploring futures in a structured and continuous way by looking for signals not only helps you build awareness and notice disruption and change. More importantly, it helps you shape the future you prefer, unlocking opportunities along the way. 

Let us help you

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are interested in learning more about how Augur can help your organization explore and come prepared for the future.

Contact Jenny Lycke, Foresight & Trend Lead at jenny@augur.se