What trends will we see this year? And what characterized last year? APG experts shed their light on this. Today Anne-Marie Le Doux (head of the Growth Factory) talks about important developments in the field of innovation. "Innovation should no longer just be about new, but also about sustainable."
The Growth Factory is part of APG and focuses on innovations around the needs of participants, employers and pension funds. In short: APG's clients. In doing so, the Growth Factory uses technologies and methods that have proven their worth in other sectors. Looking at her field, Le Doux sees a number of trends that may play an important role this year. These developments do not come out of the blue, but were often already present last year. Covid, for example, often appears to have a reinforcing influence on innovation trends.
Digital applications quickly come into the picture when it comes to innovation, and that also applies to the Growth Factory. Le Doux expects metaverse to continue as a trend for this year and beyond. "That is a kind of fusion of the physical and digital worlds. People who play Minecraft or Fortnite will be familiar with it. With the help of virtual reality (the user is completely in a digital 3D world, ed.) and augmented reality (a digital addition to the user's physical world; for example, the ability to see on your phone whether a TV or a piece of furniture fits in your living room, ed.) we can increasingly move into the digital world. Metaverse is still a concept, but one that can completely revolutionize our interaction with our fund clients' participants. After all, if a participant or company wants to approach us through Metaverse, we must adapt our services accordingly so that we can also serve them in that world. It is therefore definitely something we are keeping an eye on."
"A development that already played out last year and will continue this year is the need to separate innovation from growth," Le Doux says. "When people buy a new phone, it is good for economic growth, but it also has negative consequences for the environment and climate. In addition, over the past two years we have seen that there is a limit to the abundance we are used to. We've all seen the empty supermarket shelves, soaring energy prices and stores suddenly having to close at 8 p.m. Covid made us realize that scarcity can strike at any moment. Innovation should therefore not only be about new, but also about sustainable. You can buy a new phone, but there has to be a way of breaking down the old one in a circular way so that the raw materials can be reused. And that's really different from how it was."