I recently attended the Go Further With Ford Trend Conference sponsored by The Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. This was the second year I was invited. (Wonder if they spoke to my astrologer from several years ago who said that I stay ahead of the trends? Or maybe they invited me because I’m just such a trendy boomer girl who likes to keep her boomer girlfriends up-to-date on all the trends.)
What’s that? You want to know all that I learned at Ford. Here’s a peek into the future:
Urbanization: Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s Head of Global Trends Future, said that by 2050 there will be a global population of nine billion. Plus, that population is aging, both here in the USA and also in emerging markets that are not ready for it. Sheryl said that by 2050 more people will be over 60. Mobility is going to be an issue around the world, that’s one of the reasons that Ford is interested in this trend. (Ooh, how old will I be by then? Let me do the math. Ah, if I’m still ticking I’ll be 92. And if I am still ticking or even if I’m in heaven, I may still be driving because Ford is going to add technology that may allow my car to virtually drive on its own with driver alerts, traffic jam and park assists, lane departure warnings and a whole lot more.)
Carol Coletta, a specialist in developing cities and creative communities also spoke about the growth of cities. Carol said that the average homebuyer today is paying more for a house with a higher walkscore and if there is good transit, they’ll pay even more. While millennials like city life, so do many baby boomers who often move back into the city when they become empty-nesters. According to Carol, cities underpin the economy and offer more variety, discovery, and opportunity. (Hmm, hmm, hmm, after hearing Carol talk all about the benefits of city living I was tempted to go to walkscore.com to check the scores of my home.)
Streamline & Simplification: As Parrish Hanna, Global Director of Human Machine Interface for Ford said, this trend is all about what German Painter Hans Hofmann refers to as “the ability to eliminate the unnecessary, so the necessary can speak.” With so much technology available now, we’re connected all the time. Parrish said that over 40 percent of those who are always tuned in really desire a slower lifestyle and want to de-clutter and prioritize what is most important. (Amen, I second that philosophy. Between my emails, my iPad, iPhone, iHome and Macbook, my TV remote, my cable remote, my DVD remote, my DVR buttons, I always feel like I am on overdrive. It’s like “The Busy Trap” that Tim Kreider wrote about last week in the New York Times.) Not to worry, in the future, there will be voice activated driver wellness right on the steering wheel – to sync my smartphone, check my heart rate, and sense my breathing patterns. The good thing is that Ford is testing these simplification systems on older drivers to ensure that they work on all generations.
Age of Accessible Design: Since I consider myself a fashionista, this trend was one of my favorites. That’s because it is about style and seduction. It’s about the desire for products and services that work and that also have good design. Guess who I met at this session? Do you see who is in the picture with moi? Yes, it is Christian Siriano, the youngest winner and fan favorite of Bravo’s “Project Runway.” (I was very impressed with Christian and want to follow him on Twitter @csiriano. He shares his design process so if you are a fashionista like me you may want to follow him too.)
Eco-Psychology: I saved the best trend for last. That’s because DO YOU KNOW WHO I MET? Yes, I am shouting. DO YOU SEE WHO TOOK A PICTURE WITH MOI? Yes, it is Adrian Grenier from Entourage. Yes, he is as gorgeous in real life as he is on TV. (All the female bloggers sat in the front row for this session.) Adrian is doing some really cool stuff that is aligned with this trend on his new website called SHFT. Eco-psychology is about an awareness of health and well-being and the relationship with nature and how we heal our bodies and ourselves with nature. This trend is about the butterfly effect, about how each one of us can make small changes now to improve the environment, that will impact big changes in the future. I think when I purchase my next car I may look at a hybrid model. By then, my new car my be able to find the location of a nearby charging station, track my CO2 emissions and plan the most efficient driving routes for all my trips.
My post would not be complete without highlighting some of the interesting bloggers I met during the conference. Check them out. Some are boomers and some are mommies. Some write about entertainment and some write about travel and technology.
Elise’s Ramblings by Elise Crane Derby
MidLifeBloggers by Jane Gassner
GeekGirlfriends by Christina Tynan-Wood
Everything’s A Buzz by Michelle Spreckels
Connect with your Teens by Jennifer Comet Wagner
Traded My BMW for a Minivan by Elizabeth Peterson
Enjoy…see you in the future.
P.S. – Calling all boomer girls…this blog is my newly updated site. I hope you like it. As part of the relaunch, anyone who signs up to receive my posts via email or leaves a comment on any blog post during the month of July, or sends a note to me with feedback about my newly designed blog, will be entered into a raffle for a copy of “I Remember Nothing And Other Reflections” in remembrance of the late writer Nora Ephron. (Note: To leave a comment on a post you can click the little bubble near the title of the post.)