We’ve all heard of the “January Blues” – but what about Blue Monday?
“Blue Monday” is the name given to the third Monday in January (this year, it falls on the 17th) and is believed to be the ‘most depressing’ day of the year. With the gloomy weather and Christmas celebrations ending, combined with it being a Monday, it’s not hard to see why. The term came about in 2005, when Sky Travel revealed the date in a press release after appointing a psychologist and mental health expert, Dr Cliff Arnall, to calculate the date through an equation. The formula, which is based on the main factors that are most likely to contribute to low mood, is:
These are the factors in the equation:
W = Weather
D = Debt
d = Monthly salary
T = Time since Christmas
Q = Time since failing our new year’s resolutions
M = Low motivational levels
Na = The feeling of a need to take action
Although this equation has been debunked as ‘pseudoscience’, it serves as a reminder that a low mood is not always caused by one thing, but rather a variety of reasons. Dr Arnall has later said that he didn’t actually mean to perpetuate doom and gloom by identifying the date, but instead saw it as “a bid to encourage people, where possible, to take a positive outlook on the time of year as an opportunity for new beginnings and change.”
Neurodiversity refers to the concept that individual differences in brain functioning are as normal as diversity within the human population. This not only encompasses mental health disorders, but also autism, ADHD and learning difficulties. This concept steers our perception away from accepting neurotypical as ‘normal’ and seeing the brain as being as diverse as people. This is one of the reasons why some people might breeze through certain occasions (in this instance Blue Monday) like any other day, and some might find them particularly difficult to get through.
Whilst Instagram can often be guilty of presenting us with an unrealistically perfect picture, social media has become a platform for some really positive conversations around mental health. But it’s important to look past an isolated campaign and use these awareness days as a reminder that, there are moments (not just on Blue Monday) where we may all feel sad, down, lost, struggling and worried about something in our lives. It’s okay not to be okay and it’s important to not suffer in silence. The struggle is definitely real, especially after nearly 2 years of pandemic uncertainty which the original Blue Monday equation did not account for.
We hope that you take Blue Monday as an opportunity to check in on yourself. Remember that, if you need help, there is a wealth of specialist support services out there for you – here are some of our recommendations:
- Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/
- Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/
- National Debtline – https://www.nationaldebtline.org/
- Beat – beateatingdisorders.org.uk
- Refuge – refuge.org.uk
By now you’ll have read more than enough about 2022 predictions for technology trends as an enabler of everything from the abstract – the metaverse, DAOs and NFTs – to the physical: 3D-printed bone implants, machines that suck carbon from the air, and zero-emissions transport.
Naturally, we’re all very excited about that. However, as we hit 2022 running, what our Madano Technology Team is thinking about – and preparing clients for – are the trends in the landscape itself: the factors the UK’s top innovators will need to contend with as they navigate what will inevitably be yet another challenging, but exciting year ahead.
MADANO’S TOP TECH PREDICTIONS FOR 2022
- Demand for technology will rise – but public trust will continue to wane
We’re all carrying a news hangover from yet another year of blow-out headlines dominated by bombshell whistle blower accusations, full-blown security meltdowns and tech executives facing fraud convictions. And yet although there’s a growing contingent of us who might like to, we can’t quit our complex relationships with technology. It’s too entrenched in our lives, touching everything from how we access health, employment and education, to how we engage in personal relationships, social issues, climate change and politics.
Trust in tech is waning, and that’s a problem for firms big and small – and one they cannot simply innovate away from. The winners of 2022 will be those who not only authentically understand public concerns around privacy and transparency – but who seek to meaningfully address them. Effective and active communications will play the starring role in that.
- The talent crunch will intensify
Robots, AI and automation are here. And yet they’re not out to take our jobs – in many cases, they’re creating a lot of them. In 2021, high-tech jobs shot up 50% over 2020, with over 160,000 postings in November alone. In 2022, we don’t see signs of that slowing.
Firms looking to start or scale-up with the best and brightest talent will need to put forward an attractive employer brand to cut through intense competition. Mature companies will need to prioritise retention in the face of the Great Resignation.
On the policy front, this will lead to an increased focus on high-tech talent immigration, such as that tabled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Autumn Budget, and high-tech skills-development for both the current and future workforce.
- Fierce competition for cash…
Last year brought the best-ever year for tech in the UK, with £29.4bn in venture capital investment (up 2.3x), a record 37 listings and 29 new unicorns, demonstrating a significant appetite from investors that is set to continue into 2022. And if the Autumn Budget 2021 is any indication, we can also expect that government will find more ways to ramp up its Science Superpower ambitions with further focus on domestic R&D and international investment incentives.
With the UK becoming an attractive alternative to Silicon Valley, we can expect in 2022 to see even more global and local market entrants, while existing innovators eke out a bigger piece of the investment pie. Competition – particularly in fintech, payments and logistics – will be fierce.
- … And attention
More investment = more tech companies = a crowded media landscape, lobbying circuit and social media newsfeed.
As in recent years past, many innovators will tout novel solutions – but in reality, they will be up against many others who do the same. They will also face a public now fully inundated with options.
How these firms position their tech, founders, and executives will define the cut-through they achieve. With that in mind, our new year’s resolution for start-ups is simple: let 2022 be the year of matching your external presence to your internal ambitions. Build proudly in public, embrace the massive media potential of the Twitter newsfeed, and use the power of creative digital to unlock opportunities.
- Tech for good will breakthrough
2021 brought us weather terms we never wanted to learn, from polar vortexes, heat domes, to a horrifying “eye of fire.” It also brought us significant healthcare access challenges caused by the ripple effects of the pandemic. If we are to believe that 2020 was the year these issues shot to the fore in our collective consciousness, then 2021 was the year that consciousness matured.
But it’s not all bad news, and we like to end things on a positive, which is why our final prediction for 2022 rests in our belief that it will be the year of tech for good. There’s more money and talent in climate, health, life sciences and agrifood tech than ever before, and judging by the UK’s top 2021 tech winners, we can expect these firms to land more investment – and hopefully adoption – this year.
Regardless of what happens in 2022, we can be sure that it will be another big, turbulent and exciting year for technology. Are you a tech worker, founder or investor who wants to share your perspectives with us? We’d love to hear from you. Be sure to drop us a line at: [email protected].
With the COP26 presidency still sat with us, the UK Government is keen to maintain its leadership position, Madano’s Energy team provides advice to some of the most exciting energy projects from Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and nuclear through to solar and wind. Our team is focused on connecting projects to the most influential stakeholders supporting the UK’s net zero and levelling up agendas. Looking ahead to 2022, here are some of our predictions about trends and opportunities within the energy sector:
1) Will SMRs start to happen, or will fusion make the grade?
With Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C and even Bradwell B securing sizeable column inches in recent years, Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) have always been seen as exciting, but something for tomorrow. However, will Qatari investment to the tune of £80m coming into the Rolls Royce consortium be enough to progress to the next phase of supply chain readiness and site selection? They had better get a move on with a number of exciting fusion companies that are hoping 2022 will be the year to recreate the sun and limitless clean energy.
2) Do people really understand what Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is?
Our Energy practice has witnessed varying levels of understanding of CCS in 2021 – from being compared to nuclear geological storage and explained using chocolate biscuits and mugs of tea. There is a need for companies to communicate what CCS means for net zero more clearly. Part of this will be to look past transporting CO2 relatively short distances to geological storage sites and understanding how emitters that aren’t close to storage sites can harness this technology, maybe by boat or truck.
3) Will we have the honest debate about the need for oil and gas?
We saw in recent weeks that the Cambo oil field has been vaunted as a massive win for environmental campaigners, but equally we have seen the Faroe Islands double down on new exploration. With the wrangles around Nord Stream 2 and Russian exports from Yamal, we are still going to be using considerable volumes of oil and gas in our daily lives through to 2050. With the electrification of platforms starting to come forward, there does need to be an honest debate around our longer-term dependency on hydrocarbons and where Direct Air Capture or nature-based solutions can offset our needs.
4) Low Carbon Hydrogen
Ever increasing hype around the potential for hydrogen was seen in 2021 with major investments and dedicated funds launched to promote innovation and investment. More will be unveiled in 2022, as the UK Government looks to publish its draft Heads of Terms for the forthcoming Hydrogen Business Models in Q1-2, and it has already begun the process engaging with end-users to support the development and scaling up of hydrogen technologies. Industry will continue to match and even exceed the Government’s ambitions in this sector, with trade associations like Hydrogen UK, supported by Madano, serving to support key departments to move from strategic thinking to deeper work with the sector to deliver a fully-fledged value chain.
5) Will we see a moratorium on new energy from waste facilities?
Energy from waste assets is seen as highly valuable. With money flowing in from private equity and pension funds, the sector is now mobilising around carbon capture and storage technologies. However, there is ever increasing pressure on the thermal treatment of waste, and its perceived impact on recycling rates. Wales has come out with their own moratorium on large, new scale EfWs to curb development appetite. Further parliamentary debates have asked the same question and now an open letter has been signed with cross-party support. Future proposals will need to be equipped with a clear narrative and be compatible with net zero ambitions.
To learn more about our Energy team, click here.
Follow Madano on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up to date with the team and our latest news.
What are the digital trends we’ll see in 2022? We asked members of our digital and also our technology teams what they expect to happen next year. Find out what they had to say below.
1) Social audio turns up the volume
With the launch of Twitter Spaces, social audio has finally hit the mainstream, with brands and influencers eager to take advantage. Inherently experiential in nature, it drives a captive audience who are keen to not miss out on timely content. However, brands should be wary of potential damage from aligning with potentially chaotic proceedings. Equally, publishers will need to take responsibility for safeguarding, while also delivering measurable insights for brands as it increasingly becomes part of the mix.
2) A virtual reality check for Metaverse
Much has been made of Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of Metaverse, and with the newly renamed Meta employing 10,000 staff to work on the project, it’s clear that it will be a central focus for the social media giant in the upcoming years. Many futurologists have excitedly pointed out the possibility of NFT crossover, but is this little more than a pipedream? The expensive price point to engage with the platform, and the lack of interaction with other planned rivals (Epic Games are planning something similar), means another walled garden for fanatics and not necessarily a fundamental shift in how we access social.
3) Subscription saturation
At what point is enough, enough? In the beginning, the lure of platforms such as Netflix was that it had most of the television shows and films you’d ever want to watch. Now we find ourselves having a NOW TV subscription to watch Succession, Apple TV to watch Ted Lasso, as well as Gousto boxes for when we go hungry. The media has been relatively slow to turn to the subscription model, but now we’ve seen the rise of platforms such as Patreon and Substack, which is simply adding to the long list of direct debits each month. Will this mean that journalists and writers are able to create their own community and make revenue from it in the long run? We’re not convinced. This subscription saturation point may push users back towards aggregators such as Apple News, which provides you with all the news you want under one subscription. If only the entertainment industry regressed to such simplicity.
4) Getting regulatory grips on artificial intelligence
In 2022, the UK Government will publish a white paper on how it plans to regulate and potentially legislate for the use of AI technologies, recognising that their advanced use is now stretching the limits of existing frameworks. For the UK’s tech and digital sector, this is an important indication of how the UK plans to act post-Brexit. AI is a sector the Government hopes to see the UK lead in, and to do that it will attempt be more pro-innovation than the EU’s advanced but strict approach, and more hands-on than the US light-touch but comparatively earlier stage regulations. The recent launch of a new Algorithmic Transparency Standard for the UK’s public sector, one of the world’s first, indicates the Government will not shy away from using AI technologies but does expect to have clear expectations in place.
5) Digital advertising will continue to increase
As the United Kingdom enters Plan B of its COVID-19 response, marketers will be quickly rethinking their strategies ahead of the Christmas break and the start of a new year. With footfall dropping in city centres, people stuck at home isolating and no end in sight, it is no surprise that Zenith have forecast that digital advertising will account for over 60% of global ad spend in 2022. The battleground has been set, and those that are quickest and smartest will win. Just look how Peloton won recently, following the Sex and the City spin off. Whether you’re catering towards a B2B, B2C, or even B2E audience, companies will need paid advertising at the centre of their strategies, because without it, not only are you reaching a small percentage of your current audience, but you’ll be also drowned out by those who are ahead of the curve.
To learn more about our digital team and contact us for support, click here.
Also, follow Madano on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up to date with the team and our latest news.
With COP26 now over, we’ve wrapped up some of the event’s highlights – here’s our take on the event that put Glasgow on the map and played host to some critical discussions and international commitments, many powered by the unique orange fizz that is Irn Bru.
- GREEN POLITICS ON THE RISE… COP26 was aimed as much at British voters as it was international audiences and was intended to convince the electorate that the Government is leading the world in delivering an ambitious (but pragmatic) switch to net zero. As with May 2021’s regional elections, the current administration is hoping voters connect green with growth and remember this as a high point when they next head to the ballot box.
- WALKING THE WALK – Private jets taken by billionaires and key public figures, while lecturing individuals on the climate crisis, was, let’s face it, not a great look. Yet, the one positive conversation to stem from this issue was the importance of moving forward ‘guilt-free aviation’. And it was ZeroAvia that led the charge at COP26 by making the case for hydrogen-powered aviation as THE silver bullet solution to decarbonising air travel. Follow this link to learn more.
- IRN BRU IS AOK FOR AOC – While inevitably the focus is on the climate debate at COP26, it’s also nice to see it was a venue for cultural exchange, such as this moment in which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was introduced to the infamous orange nectar. It became quite a talking point for delegates, with opinion firmly split, but a great case study in the power of digital for politicians like AOC to humanise themselves, at a time when trust in public servants is at an all-time low.
- GAFFES GALORE – It beggars belief that in today’s digital age, with tech solutions designed to make the execution of events a breeze, they are powerless when it comes to human error. COP26 may have put Glasgow on the map but many couldn’t even wrap their heads around the location of the conference. Even Obama, usually a slick and polished orator, mixed up Scotland with Ireland. And who can forget Australian PM Scott Morrison’s Freudian slip, where he misrepresented tackling climate change as ‘tackling China’ (which went viral). It’s an age-old piece of advice, but when it comes to any form of public appearance – be prepared, or prepare to fail…
- GOOD COP, BAD COP…? It was interesting to witness the sheer volume of analysis around whether COP was all it was cracked up to be, so early on in the event. Concerns arose that some countries were downplaying the scale of the 1.5 degrees challenge and Greta dismissed the whole affair as being “blah blah blah”. Following a turbulent two weeks of negotiations in Glasgow, the Glasgow Climate Pact was finally struck and became the headline outcome. As for whether the conference was good, bad, or blah, at the very least it served as a platform to highlight some of the most pressing challenges of our time. Governments alone can’t solve these issues – we all have a part to play. As ever, success will be defined by doing…
At Madano, we’re lucky enough to work with organisations who are using technology, engineering and science to shape the future of sustainability. To talk to us about your strategic communications challenge, please get in touch at [email protected]