It lasts but a moment, that fleeting time between the end of 2023 and looking forward to 2024.
By the time the 2nd rolls around, and certainly by the end of the week, the wheels will have started turning again, and we will be back in it.
What just happened?
So what has just happened, and what do we have to look forward to in 2024?
- 2023 was a year in which we finally seemed to escape the shadow of COVID lockdowns, and the world started travelling again – definitely a bright spot for me.
- Hybrid working was still a thing, and despite pressure in many sectors to get people commuting daily again, employees still resisted, not wanting to give up the flexibility and extra couple of productive hours gained in their day.
- Consumer Duty – finally went live in the UK, ushering in a whole new language around good customer outcomes, sludge practices, and evidencing these outcomes.
- Economically borrowing levels continued to bounce back, especially in credit cards, with savings rates decreasing.
- Arrears levels, despite all the doom and gloom noises we made, remained relatively moderate, only showing a slight, albeit steady increase… with energy being a potential exception.
It really felt like a year when things started to get going again, investment in new tech and gear rebounded and new strategic investments started to be made… the rush to digital continued.
… and then there was ChatGPT, which burst onto the scene and sucked much of the attention for many of us… suddenly this tech was widely accessible, although a lot of people seemed quite worried by it all too.
However, it was also a year with some big dark clouds…
- Geopolitics continued to be turbulent, with three major conflicts underway (Ukraine-Russia, Gaza-Israel, and not forgetting Sudan).
- And politics was not much better. Continued lurches to the right and the left across much of the world… populism and access to new media swaying what seemed fickle opinion quickly and seemingly not generating better outcomes in general. It was all a bit uncertain, upsetting, and anxiety-generating for many.
So what do we have to look forward to in 2024… more change? more of the same?
Peering into the near future…. maybe.
There are continued expectations of increasing arrears levels, a further focus on Consumer Duty (and in particular evidencing), with probably more and similar regulatory intervention being seen (and elsewhere around the world)…. not to mention elections and regional conflicts, which are big wild cards.
But an Optimistic Outlook
But, rather than dwelling on these… which we will no doubt hear plenty about next week (whether we want to or not), today it is worth taking a different tack.
We need to remember that we continue to live in the world of amazing… human technology is continuing to extend our lives, making our lives easier and providing new ways for us to build knowledge, making it so easy to interact with people all around the world.
Yes, there are plenty of uncertainties, but the key is flexibility.
And Remain Flexible
Rather than trying to live in the world of the past, pre-COVID, the certainties of the old ways of doing things, is it time to let go and think about how to make the most of the environment we live in today?
I accept this is not going to make some of the bigger problems go away, and we need to solve for these, but it does allow us to free ourselves and make the most of the opportunities we do have in front of us.
5 things to look forward to
So with this in mind, here are a few things to look forward to in 2024.
- A total solar eclipse… on April 8th, 2024, across much of the USA.
- A bonus day in the diary… it is a leap year.
- The Olympics & Paralympics… the festival of sport arrives in Paris this year.
- MS Co-pilot – Chat GPT 5? Will this finally roll out? This could be a game-changer to make AI even more seamless and adopted (we will not even realize by the end of the year, I reckon).
- … and of course, the Taylor Swift Era’s tour comes to the UK 🙂
I am sure there will be more, but it is a start. So here’s wishing you a fabulous, flexible, and fun 2024… have a good one, everyone.