It’s difficult to believe that this is the beginning of a new century. “The 20s” no longer refers only to Prohibition, Flappers, and Robotics.

First, let’s be sad that the 21stcentury has seen the most transformational and turbulent decade. This decade set the foundation for cultural and business priorities. Here are some trends shaping for the future that have helped to define this decade.

1. Millennials are both business and consumer leaders.
Pew Research has shown that Millennials surpassed Gen X and became the largest generation to occupy the U.S. labor force in 2015. In 2016, 56 million Millennials were employed. We have seen that Millennials also drive business purchases, as we previously noted. B2B, as well as B2C, companies need to adapt to Millennials.

2. Businesses are more responsive to the environmental and social impacts of their behavior.
Customers no longer consider just the product or advertising when choosing what products to buy. They want to learn about the manufacturing process, the effects on the environment, and the beliefs of the companies that provide them.

The new values-driven approach of business and consumer buying will force companies into fundamental changes in how they do business. This includes the way that they invest, get their energy, and the way that they source their goods and labor.

3. We are extremely unprepared for modern cyberattacks.
If the past 10 years have taught anything about cybersecurity, it is that the business community isn’t prepared. It would not be an exaggeration to say that many institutions in the United States are at the mercy of cybercriminals.

Ransomware attacks experienced a 350% increase in 2018; large-scale attacks have resulted in massive losses and the exposure of consumer data. In the past consumers have been responsible for protecting themselves. This isn’t sustainable for companies that want consumers to trust their data.

4. Consumers have the power.
With the advent of digital tools, it is easier than ever that consumers can mobilize against and for brands. There are numerous examples to prove this. Harvard Business Review estimates that 67% percent of company valuations are today “intangible”. This means that company value is not within the control of management, but rather in the hands of consumers or the general public.

5. Personal data security has become a top priority.
Apple, which was previously widely criticized because of its user’s data about customers, is now the “tech business you can trust” for your personal data. Brands have made personal data protection a key selling feature.

If companies want to be different in this growing area, they will attempt to make personal security a part of their branding. Consumers will respond by prioritizing specific brands to meet their data protection needs.

6. Artificial intelligence and automated technology will improve employee experiences.
AI was not reality 20 years ago. It is now an integral part of all business functions, from customer service to manufacturing.

While employees worried for years that robots would take their jobs away, we’re now finding that the best uses of AI are to “augment” human intelligence and not to replace it. Although automation, AI, as well as other technologies, will likely eliminate some positions, they will also create new opportunities.

How we prepare workers to share their space with intelligent machines will influence the direction of the next decade.

7. Personal technology is shaping the future of our collective.
While companies are improving their technology infrastructure through automation and artificial intelligence, personal technology is empowering every person more than ever. Access to personal technology is now available to everyone, not just professionals or elites.

What impact will this have on their future skills and expectations?

8. Video games are now part of mainstream media.
Millennials, and in some cases Gen X, were among the first to learn to play video games. They enjoyed them. Playing video games is something you can do on your mobile phone, or participating in one of the new TV video game leagues. If you live in the U.S. you are more likely than not to have them in your home.