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Not to miss: Selection from LinkedIn 50 big ideas for 2019

Excerpted from LinkedIn: “50 big ideas for 2019” 

“If 2017 left you breathless and exhausted, then brace yourself,” we wrote last year. Sorry to say, things haven’t slowed down. The business leaders, authors, journalists and academics who gave us their 2019 predictions foresee a shaky economy, a troubled world order and continued anxiety.

AMEinfo selected 19 of 50 big ideas to look at the year ahead, in the order they appeared in LinkedIn.

1-Move over, Millennials; it’s Gen Z’s time.

In 2019, Generation Z will outnumber Millennials, that generation you’ve loved to hate for the past decade. “Generation Z is now heading into the workforce in meaningful numbers and for the first time in modern history five generations will be working side-by-side,” says Michael Dell, CEO, and chairman of Dell Technologies. Gen Z — which Pew Research Center defines as those born from 1997 onward — will be about one-third of the global population and one-fifth of its workers.

Read: Middle Eastern carriers to report $800 million net profit in 2019 

2-The economy will slow down…

Economists are split on when exactly, but they know one thing for sure: a downturn is coming. “There is a confluence of deep-seated, structural headwinds that threaten to upend the global economy,” warns economist Dambisa Moyo, among them, growing inequality, a workforce ill-adapted to rapid technological change, political instability and a massive debt burden on governments, corporations and individuals.

3-… and companies will prepare with pre-emptive layoffs.

Executives know the good times won’t last and many will reduce their workforce pre-emptively to preserve profits through a coming recession, warns Danielle DiMartino Booth, author of “Fed Up.” General Motors announced 14,000 strategic layoffs in November after 2,250 had already taken buyouts. Meanwhile, Verizon will let go of 10,400 employees via voluntary severance, the company announced Monday.

4-We are finally going to spend more time online than watching TV.

The lines will cross some time in 2019: Around the world, people will start spending more hours a day on the Internet than watching television. Says Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish: “There is more content being consumed today than ever before in history.”

Read Saudi: Could reduced 2019 fees stop the expat mass exodus?

7-AI will be in every industry and every job.

We asked 200 LinkedIn Top Voices about their Big Idea for 2019; one in four mentioned some application of AI, from parsing evidence in medical research to… helping surfers spot the best wave. Six of the 15 hot emerging jobs of the past year relate to AI, while AI skills are the fastest-growing on our platform, up 190% globally from 2015 to 2017. “While 2018 was the year of AI hype, it feels like we’re at an inflection point where these technologies are being incorporated into more of the tools we use every day,” says Sharon O’Dea, co-founder of communications consultancy Lithos Partners. “It’s when technology trends start to become invisible that they really make a major impact.”


10-Automation will disproportionately impact women’s jobs.

By Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund

“New technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are changing the way work gets done all over the world. The automation trend is especially challenging for women because they tend to be employed in more routine tasks than men across all sectors and occupations, making them more prone to automation. New IMF research estimates that 26 million women’s jobs in 30 countries are at high risk of being displaced by technology in the next 20 years. This means 180 million women’s jobs globally!

16-What will matter at work is your humanity.

When robots take all our jobs, what do humans have left? Precisely that — our humanity. Creativity and so-called soft skills are becoming all the more important to your career because that’s what can’t be automated. In fact, LinkedIn data shows the fastest-growing skills gaps — the difference between what employers seek and what workers bring to the table — are related to soft skills: oral communication tops the list, followed by people management, time management or leadership.

Read: Meeting the Intelligent Data Management needs of 2019

17-The combustion engine will get smarter before it goes away.

Bertrand Piccard, chairman, and pilot of Solar Impulse, who flew a solar plane around the planet points to an anti-smog device installed on the engine for a few hundred bucks that reduces fuel consumption by 20% and particles by 80%. Built-in AI in your car can help you drive greener and cut another 20% off the bill.

18-Uber and Lyft will lead a wave of IPOs.

Ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber just filed papers on the same day to go public in early 2019. This could be a banner year for tech IPOs, with total proceeds forecast north of $100 billion.  Says CBS News’s Jill Schlesinger: “Uber, Lyft, Palantir, Slack, Airbnb all could take the plunge in 2019.”

21-The office will empty out.

By Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin

“With cities filling up and housing prices rising, employers will have to pay more for employees to afford an urban life. A gradual process will, in 2019, reach a tipping point: The office will empty out. Working from home will change the most basic rhythm of industrial life. People will have more time to work, and also to play. What we’ll lose is the water cooler, which alongside the altar and the school entrance, was a place for us to connect with new people. Offices are also one of the last spots in an increasingly secular society for all of us to get a sense of community and purpose.”

Read: 3 trends that will disrupt MEA’s supply chain industry in 2019

23-The high street will band together.

The story is repeating itself in every country: From the famed big box stores of America to the high street chains of the U.K., physical retailers buckle as they face deep-pocketed online disruptors. “Things have never been more competitive,” says entrepreneur Naomi Simson, CEO of the Big Red Group in Australia, where Amazon launched with fanfare just a year ago. But smaller players are starting to band together to stand up to the giants, she says. “It might be through buying groups, marketplaces, associations, movements such as ‘buy local’… There will also be M&A,” she predicts.

33-The Internet will grow ever more fragmented.

Besides the U.S.-China division, internet fragmentation is also happening in less obvious places, Oxford cybersecurity expert Emily Taylor explains. Europe’s global data protection regulation (GDPR) has led some companies to overreact and block their sites to European visitors. Other jurisdictions are following suit and considering data localization laws. “You’re going to end up with cross-cutting national and regional laws that are reaching over their borders, making it very difficult for companies to comply,” Taylor warns. “People will just choose to be very limited in what they do and the audiences that they try to reach.”

Stay protected: Top 5 cybersecurity predictions for 2019

34-Don’t even try to guess the price of oil.

By Bethany McLean, author of “Saudi America: The Truth about Fracking and How It’s Changing the World”

“Here’s a prediction for 2019: Energy markets are going to remain wildly unpredictable. One realization I came to when I worked on my last book was that most everyone who makes predictions about the future of oil prices is alike in one remarkable respect: They are wrong.”

35-Chief ethics officer will be the hot new C-suite title.

As technology advances ever faster and the law struggles to keep up, how personal data is handled or how AI is built often comes down solely to corporate decisions. How do they make the right ones? Companies are waking up to that responsibility and making ethics a core function, which is growing out of legal like diversity grew out of HR. “What I think we’re seeing now is a recognition that it’s important to go beyond looking at the rules,” says Katie Lawler, chief ethics officer at U.S. Bank since 2017.

39-You’ll eat that bug in your salad.

“If I had half a billion dollars to invest right now, mark my words, a large portion would be allocated to this emerging field,” says futurist QuHarrison Terry. “Currently, over 2 billion people worldwide consume insects on a regular basis for a source of protein. Yet, the industry is only estimated at $406 million. We’re one hit product away from seeing it become a multi-billion-dollar industry.”

Read: Voting on UAE 15th edition of Superbrands 2019 begins

44-Corporate generosity will grow — and help the bottom line.

Annual corporate giving has reached nearly $21 billion, and companies are investing that money to boost corporate culture as well as charitable causes. “We’re seeing companies being more generous than ever, and I think we’ll see even more of that in 2019,” says Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “A staff that sees leadership live up to the values of that company is much more likely to be engaged and drive a positive business outcome.”


45-Brands won’t be able to stay neutral.

Says Blackbird CEO Ross Martin: “You’re forced, as a company, as a leader, to stand for something, otherwise everyone will know you stand for nothing.”

“You won’t be hated, you’ll become completely irrelevant, and the people who worked for you, won’t work for you anymore because you didn’t stand up when it mattered.”

49-Your next vacation may be to space or undersea.

In 2019, NASA will start building its Lunar Space Station and we’ll see continued investment in private spaceflight, predicts Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings. His company compiled data-driven travel insights from its millions of reviews and bookings. Until space becomes an option, “travelers are seeking out uncharted territories in other forms, with 60% of travelers confirming they’d want to stay in an accommodation under the sea,” Fogel writes.

50-We will stop living an Insta life.

The social media honeymoon is over. As people question their screen addiction, the impacts are felt in all walks of life, from dinners where guests demand the phones be put away to changing trends in the beauty industry. “In 2019, people are looking to scale back, simplify their routine and their look,” says Melissa Butler, founder, and CEO of The Lip Bar, after years where trends were set by Instagram influencers and elaborate makeup tutorials on Youtube.