For many companies—and many industries—the COVID-19 pandemic set off a period of head-spinning change. They realized they were capable of moving faster than they ever thought possible. They went digital in a matter of days, not years. They offered new services almost overnight. If companies sustain this newfound speed and agility, it’s conceivable that more innovation will happen in the next ten years than in any previous decade in modern history. Life in the 2030s could be vastly different from today.
In 2019, we launched a multimedia series in which business leaders and McKinsey experts describe what the 2030s might look like. We called the series The Next Normal, to refer to things that experts say could become commonplace in a few years but today are cutting-edge or even nonexistent: things like lab-grown meat, or digital wardrobes, or robot surgeons.
When COVID-19 took over the world, our use of the term evolved: the “next normal” became synonymous with postpandemic realities. But we’ve continued to ask leaders to look beyond the near-term future and envision their respective industry’s next decade. Scroll down to read some of their more evocative—and provocative—predictions.
Could our experts’ prognostications be wrong? Of course. But chances are, in 2035 or thereabouts, much of what’s described below will indeed just be … normal.