Michelle Rodger: Looking forward to an Xbox on your desk?

‘My favourite prediction is the rise of gratitude as a strategy’

WHOOSH. That was 2011 zipping past. Quick, wasn’t it? Now it’s 1 January 2012, it’s time to make our New Year’s resolutions and predict the next big thing coming our way over the next 12 months.

So what will 2012 bring for you? If you’re one of those people who faithfully makes resolutions every year, it’s likely your aims will include at least one of what presentations firm SlideShare says will be this year’s top five resolutions: be financially savvy, read at least one book a month, eat properly, get enough sleep and keep a journal of awesome moments.

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You’ll also probably be promising yourself that you will definitely, positively, absolutely be keeping your resolution this year, but it’s unlikely, since only 12 per cent succeed.

But it’s also the time of year when people make predictions about the next 12 months. If you’re revisiting your business strategy, you’ll need to predict the major influences in your space and work out whether there’s an opportunity to be chased, or a threat that needs to be turned into an opportunity.

Last year saw the rise of group buying, geolocation apps, online video in enterprise, cloud-based productivity apps, mobile photo sharing apps, online Q&A and crowdfunding. All of them will continue that upward trend during 2012, particularly crowdfunding, due to the increased commercialisation of social communities. Crowdsourcing may already have come of age, but crowdfunding is the rebellious teenager snapping at its heels, desperate to break the traditional rules of finance and bank funding. In America, crowdfunding platforms are generating millions of dollars every day for creative projects. The UK is behind, but crowdfunding for start-ups, students, social enterprises, and third sector and community projects will make its mark here in 2012.

Boosting crowdfunding will be the micro-payment economy, the opportunity to buy and sell products/services and incremental upgrades for a tiny amount. The barriers to entry for start-ups have been minimised by the opportunity to sell your wares for a few pounds – or pence in many cases.

We’ll also see the decline of “social” as a prefix as it becomes mainstream. Social networking, social media, social gaming, social business, social communities will become an integral part of every business function and not simply something with which so-called “Generation Y” is fascinated.

Generation Y is also behind the rise in BYOD (“bring your own device”), the trend for people to buy their own work devices, a trend that can only increase as each generation becomes more computer literate.

A survey by Cisco last year highlighted the impact Generation Y will have on the workplace and 2012 will see businesses forced to change to welcome the new way of communicating. Gamification in the workplace is a logical follow on. I’m not suggesting allowing all employees to face off on Xboxes playing Call Of Duty, but making the workplace fun motivates employees to do more, quicker and better. Some companies are awarding points or badges for meeting deadlines and goals. Some are using leader boards so employees can see how they are doing relative to their co-workers. Deloitte uses digital games to train executives at its leadership academy, employees who complete basic courses get badges and “unlock” more complex instructions, and IBM uses videogames to simulate business scenarios.

Mobile Augmented Reality is expected to enjoy exponential growth in 2012. According to a report from Visiongain, 25 per cent of all app downloads will feature some sort of augmented reality. Mainstream adoption will be down to the increase in usage of more powerful smart phones and tablets due out next year (3G/4G ready, with high definition and larger screens), but it’s clearly on its way.

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Internet TV, a shift towards user-generated content on websites, platforms and apps, the rise of the “prosumer” (a new super customer who both produces and consumes online content) will all make their mark in 2012. But it’s not just about technology and apps and tools of the trade.

My favourite prediction for 2012 is the rise of gratitude as a business strategy – saying thank you, to the right people, properly and often, will reap rewards.

Happy New Year. And thank you for reading.