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SCU Thought Leader Predictions for 2017

In our second annual predictions article [last year’s article: 10 Innovative Trends for 2016], we asked our thought leaders, "What innovative product, idea, trend, concept, or development are you are most excited for in 2017?" Here are their responses:

Ethics of Robotics: As robotic and automation technology becomes more capable and more cost-effective, I believe we'll see a significant increase in the public's awareness and in calls by experts in the field for the creation and use of formal ethical codes of conduct that will guide the design and use of robotic and automation technology. – Christopher Kitts, Robotics Jedi

Declining Business Ownership Rates Will Start to Climb Again: Cultural, political, and demographic changes in the U.S. will unite to increase business start-ups. The resurgence will be led by "everyday entrepreneurs" (small local businesses) who see commerce as an integral part of a healthy community. – Drew Starbird MBA ’84, New Business Booster

Year-Round Performance Plans: I believe most organizations and teams will phase out the annual performance evaluation and replace it with four to eight meetings per year. The increase in feedback and communications will allow for greater collaboration and professional growth, as well as a much healthier and more productive organization. – Jerry Smith, Leadership/Life Skills Coach

Life Outside the Inbox: It’s not just the workplace that millennials are turning on its side – it’s where, why, and what we work for. In 2017, look out for the rise of the remote year, re-imagined reality, and a revolutionized real estate market. – Judith Martinez ’14, Millennial Moxie

Olympians and Paralympians Turn to Social Media: Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls will use the echo chamber effect of social media to their advantage to create microcosms where they are the most visible star. They will cultivate sponsors from their own communities, resulting in more funding than if they had gone through mainstream channels. – Kelly Crowley ’99, Athletics Educator & Policy Wonk

The Resurgence of Legitimate News: With social media, almost anything can go viral. We’ve seen how fake news articles can have serious impacts on the real world, and my hope for 2017 is that real news and news reporting will do a better job of breaking through the social media noise. – Kurt Wagner ’12, Internet Enthusiast

Physics Celebrates a Milestone of New Discoveries: 2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of Fermilab, the U.S.’s premier particle physics laboratory. Observations of subatomic kaons there have enabled a deep understanding of the evolution of the universe. And two of the twelve fundamental building blocks of nature, the bottom and top quarks, were discovered at Fermilab. – Phil Kesten, Physics Nerd

Social Media Positively Impacts Our Health: Social media has become an increasingly powerful platform for social connectedness, social support, and social comparisons. These platforms can be used for the greater good ... and for the greater bad. In 2017, social media will be better integrated to encourage, manage, and support good health behaviors and to cope with health challenges. – Thomas G. Plante, Health Psychologist

Wellness for Everyone: Wellness in the workplace will be the new normal. Quiet spaces to meditate and de-stress, lunchtime yoga, walking meetings, stand-up desks, coconut milk, and gluten-free food options will be everywhere. The focus will be on being well and staying well, and that translates to happy, energetic, and productive employees. – Jill Klees M.A. ’95, Career & Wellness Guru

Women Will Amplify Their Voices: In the wake of a woman running for president, 2017 will see greater participation by women in society—economically, politically, and socially. Women recognize that active participation in the issues they care about is required, and they will convene in large and small gatherings to amplify their voices. – Tanya Monsef Bunger ’86, Global Business Consultant and Leadership Coach

Education Will Get Smarter: Education startups will make greater use of IBM, Google, and other cognitive computing capabilities to personalize education. This is a step beyond LinkedIn suggesting courses to support your career. Imagine courses tuned to your interests and knowing exactly when you need help, and helping you find that help. – Terri Griffith, Plugged-In Manager

A United Force to Advance Humanity: The Sustainable Development Goals have given corporations, partners, impact investors, our Jesuit network, the Church, and social enterprises a common language to talk about creating a future that humanity wants—one with clean energy, clean water, and equality for all. Governments have demonstrated little action so far. Hence, impact will come from partnerships formed among these entities—from the bottom up. – Thane Kreiner, Global Impact Leader

What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Jesuit, Engineering, Business, Education, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Ethics, Leadership, Athletics, Science
Illuminate, career, millennials, social media, physics, health, women, social impact

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