2022: The year in innovation

Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, our colleagues have been working with clients on developing resilience in the face of a seemingly unrelenting set of disruptions. During this period—when the world was forced to innovate in how we all communicate and collaborate—McKinsey published a steady stream of distinctive thinking on how to turn insights into impact.

For our highest-priority articles and features, we also experimented with more engaging ways to bring readers along on the journey to sustainable and inclusive growth. What you’ll see here is a roundup of some of our most innovative experiences of 2022—from our flagship McKinsey Quarterly (voted magazine of the year by the American Society of Business Publication Editors) and articles on sustainability and technology to inventive features like McKinsey Explainers, our Data Points quiz, and McKinsey for Kids.

This is just a sampling. You can see all our top content from the year, including top ten lists, a complete collection of 2022’s innovations, and the three books McKinsey authors released this year in our full year-end roundup.

Fundamentals of strategy and value creation

Leaders who understand how to distinguish themselves and define their impact may be well positioned to create value and fuel long-term growth. Gleaning competitive advantage also demands wisdom and power, embodied in this fearless owl, perched on a solid foundation and poised to make her next bold step.

McKinsey Quarterly 2022 Number 2: Unearthing value from net zero

The transition to net zero calls for what could be “the largest reallocation of capital in history.” Making a net-zero commitment could enable organizations and society to unearth value. Conversely, remaining rooted in the past will inevitably lead down a murkier path, shrouded in darkness and pollution, as this mirror image shows.

McKinsey for Kids: Game on! Why your computer learns faster and games better than you think

AI has revealed just how quickly computers can outsmart humans, but they can’t do it alone. As reflected in this collaborative 3-D journey taken by a child and a robot in the McKinsey for Kids edition on AI, humans and computers working together can lead to smarter, better solutions.

Digital twins: From one twin to the enterprise metaverse

The suggestion that everyone has a doppelgänger may be truer than you think. Businesses of the future could leverage digital twins—AI-powered digital replicas of people and processes—to recreate real-life scenarios before bringing products and services to market.

Data Points: Quiz of the week

Data can pave the way for greater insights into our society and world. This illustration represents Data Points, McKinsey’s new weekly quiz, which allows readers to test their knowledge on an array of thought-provoking topics. The new guessing game will leave viewers wondering what will emerge from the open door.

Reflections on 20 years of McKinsey on Finance—and three challenges ahead

As McKinsey on Finance celebrates its 20th year, it continues to explore bold, innovative ideas and creative solutions to overcome the challenges ahead, including competing in the face of climate change. The ability to navigate treacherous waters filled with new obstacles—like this container ship making its way through a narrow opening between glaciers—is key to charting a brave new world.

McKinsey Quarterly 2022 Number 1: Dive in

This textured whale’s journey to the depths of the ocean represents the “Dive in” section of the McKinsey Quarterly. “Dive in” fully immerses readers in an exploration of the most compelling topics of our times, encouraging them to delve deeper and learn more.

Could this be a glimpse into life in the 2030s?

What’s in your future? Emerging technology may be the key to unlocking new possibilities, as this futuristic illustration shows. Whether drones take the place of mail deliverers and electric vehicles hit the skies rather than the roads, a bright, immersive future awaits—where creature comforts are coming soon to a residence near you.

Marketing in the metaverse: An opportunity for innovation and experimentation

Can businesses take advantage of marketing opportunities in the metaverse? With innovation as the cornerstone, companies can use this immersive environment to explore test cases further using enhanced AI technology and design. As this vibrant illustration of a magical virtual playground shows, in the metaverse, anything is possible.

McKinsey Quarterly 2022 Number 3: Navigating inflation

As inflation soars to higher-than-predicted rates, leaders are faced with difficult decisions. Trying times may call for nontraditional approaches. Minimizing risk and focusing on resilience could help teams navigate choppy financial waters and ultimately ride the wave of success.

McKinsey Quarterly 2022 Number 1: The road ahead: Sustainable, inclusive growth

Sustainable, inclusive growth is an ideal that many companies strive for, and the time to act is now. The effort to combat climate change, stimulate economic growth, and create equal opportunity for all will be challenging but rewarding. This illustration of a beckoning hand composed of recycled plant material serves as a gentle reminder that conservation is a collective effort.

Does ESG really matter—and why?

The inability to measure the effects of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives makes ESG adoption challenging for many businesses. Yet its benefits are crystal clear in this illustration of offshore wind turbines generating clean energy. The engineered, sustainable backdrop is a ripe environment for flowers to bloom and discussions to bear fruit.

McKinsey for Kids: Space junk—it’s out of this world

The amount of debris floating in space has multiplied more than 30 times since the dawn of the Space Age, posing a considerable challenge to continued space exploration. Despite the risks, this fearless commander remains in orbit, actively capturing and destroying debris to keep space travelers safe.

McKinsey Explainers

What are “inflation,” “the metaverse,” and “the Internet of Things”? This year saw the advent of McKinsey Explainers—a simple way to navigate the sometimes-complex maze of basic business terms and industry jargon and uncover McKinsey’s in-depth insights on these big topics.

Spotting green business opportunities in a surging net-zero world

Reforestation, electric vehicles, new infrastructure, material composition replacement, and alternative proteins are just some of the options available to enable the net-zero transition. But with innovation as their North Star, sectors can meet the challenge in myriad ways, as this compilation of green scenes from a future utopia suggests.

Debiasing investment and strategy decisions

Strategic decisions are an inevitable part of investment, but so is caution. As shown in this illustration, these early birds are taking stock of the potential bounty in front of them and weighing their odds. Their next steps could mean the difference in achieving prosperity or losing their cherished nest egg.

McKinsey Quarterly 2022 Number 2: Dive in

This “Dive in” section of the McKinsey Quarterly covers complex issues involving our world, such as the net-zero transition and the resulting economic impact. In this close-up illustration of a deep-sea diver in full gear, surrounded by a school of fish, readers are reminded of the “deep dive” they will take to fully engage with content that requires a deeper, broader understanding of the world we inhabit.

ESG collection page

While some companies may be tempted to cut back on ESG initiatives in order to boost short-term earnings, they need to stay focused and keep moving forward—like this flock of birds soaring above a freshwater habitat into clear blue skies—to add long-term value to their business.

A devilish duality: How CEOs can square resilience with net-zero promises

The path to net zero has been fraught with disruption. Market volatility, energy and food crises, and more have put investors in a panic. But rather than running helter-skelter in different directions, leaders can create a united path forward. Focusing on strategic partnership, they can retrace their steps, marching to the beat of the same drum and making purposeful, rhythmic strides, as this illustration reflects.

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