What will be after COVID-19?

You are currently stuck at home and have more than enough time to think. The daily flow of depressing, worrying news doesn’t let go of you, although the gain in knowledge remains extremely small. Thoughts about it run in circles. Time to bring some order into your own thinking.

> Go directly to the Corona-Trendlist

I wrote this post on 29.03.2020, 7 days after the first lock-down started in Germany.

As an industrial designer or developer in general, I design with certain assumptions in my head. Assumptions that have developed over decades of professional activity and that are reliably implemented in new products.

But now it is also clear that our world will not be the same after the COVID-19 crisis has been overcome. What will change, what will remain? The experts cannot give you any certainty. So we are forced to move into the field of speculation.

If I now plan products – and the products planned today will almost certainly apply to a time after COVID-19 – that will have to hold their own in these changed conditions, it makes sense to be clear about his assumptions.

Making the future conceivable

The german Zukunftsinstitut has published some interesting articles about the suspected effects of COVID-19 on our behaviour. The Corona-Effect – 4 Future Scenarios for Economy and Society is only one of them that you should read. But I wanted to develop my own thoughts about it and looked for a suitable systematics.

So today I grabbed the good old Megatrend Map of the Zukunftsinstitut and went through all the trends. And compared them with my assumptions. A very interesting exercise.

Here are my findings – Click to enlarge.

Brainstorming: What do I think is likely?

When I imagine today (in march 2020) how the world looks like after the crisis, many small details come to my mind that will probably change after the COVID-19 experience. I simply wrote down my thoughts, 94 individual assumptions, very individual from my specific point of view as a designer living in Germany. No claim of general validity or completeness. I post this here also to look back at the time  overcoming the crisis and to see how my view of the world has changed.

Do this exercise for yourself. Here is the original Megatrend Map by the Zukunftsinstitut. And here is my long list with my personal assumptions for the time after COVID-19 – as well as the trend phenomena from the megatrend map. (Addendum 07/21: in the meantime, Zukunfstinstitut has published several articles on the impact of COVID-19 and also created a post-Corona trend map).

AssumptionTrend Phenomenon
1Wearing masks will be part of daily lifestyleMindfulness, Do-it-yourself, Universal design
2Highest hygienic standards are requiredPreventive Health
3Social/physical distancing will be maintainedMindfulness, Supersafe society, Privacy, OMLine
4Healthy lifestyle continues to gain groundMindfulness, Health Literacy, OMLine, Digital Health
5Tele-Health, remote consultations are requested to avoid infectionDigital Health
6Swarm intelligence through health data and AIPreventive Health, Predictive analytics
7The fear of the second wave is presentDigital Health, Open Knowledge, Resonance Society
8Holistic concept of health is maturing, body, environment, city, politics, global Holistic Health
9Fitness Boom Individualizes More and More into PrivateMovement Culture
10Sportiness as a lifestyle is on the declineSportivity
11Thinking sports and other long-distance duels via InternetMind-Sport
12Nutritional awareness increases, towards veganFlexitarian
13Lockdown lasts until summer Supersafe societySupersafe society, Hygge, quality of life
14Simple things are appreciated moreSimplexity
15Skin in the game – Feeling for sincerityIdentity management
16Responsibility is expectedTrust technology
17Design becomes more honest – authenticSimplexity
18Club sport becomes less frequentPreventive health
19Private celebrations become smallerDownsizing, we culture, neo-tribes
20Major events increasingly viewed criticallyPreventive Health, downsizing, supersafe society
21Hygiene behaviour is growing, Germophobia, avoid foreign contact, invisible barriersHyperhygiene, supersafe society
22Crowds are out, airy groups inDownsizing, we culture, neo-tribes
23China can become a role modelMultipolar world order
24Borders are emphasized, border traffic decreasesNeo-nationalism
25Local group formation supported by social mediaGlocalisation, social networks, good citizens
26Aid organisations trendSocial Business
27Bringing production back into the countryNearshoring, Simplexity
28Individual emergency stockpiling and managementResonance Society, mindfulness
29Bullshit intolerance growsMindfulness
30Friendships through practised selfless helpWe-Culture, Sharing Economy
31Pleasure is defined differentlyMindfulness, Quality of life
32Redefinition of quality of lifeQuality of life
33Confidence in politics declinesWe-Culture, Resonance society
34Generation conflict intensifies (ok Boomer)Economy of meaning, social business, quality of life, post-carbon society
35Permanent uncertainty remains in some parts of the populationResonance society, social media
36Retreat into the private sphere, cocooning Hygge
37Cocooning is carried outsideHygge, Privacy, Preventive Health
38Shelter for family, friends is definedNeo-Tribes
39“The inner circle” is defined, everything else is outsideNeo-Tribes
40Own bubble, bubbling together with othersWe Culture
41Distance rules lead to new forms of interpersonal communication. Real Emojis, LikesWe Culture
42More certified delivery servicesEveryday outsourcing, dash delivery
43Necessary flexibility in the labour marketMultigraphy, lifelong learning, flexicurity
44More telecommunications and InternetSmart Devices
45Medical device manufacturing is normalized, competitors are working together3D-Printing, Coopetion
46Trade fairs are out, presentation on the Internet will be moreReal Digital, Digital Creatives
47Cashless payment becomes standardTrust Technology
48Contracts via Blockchain replace the contract signatureBlockchain
49Increased cybercrime / Internet Achilles’ heelCybercrime, Trust-Technology
50Privacy Paradox – We want privacy, but we need security from Big Data, Early Warning Systems vs. Privacy Privacy, Big Data, Self-Tracking
51Cheating and manipulation in advertising and design declinesDigital reputation, post-gender marketing
52The hour of Digital Creatives, everything can be solved digitallyDigital Creatives
53Bike, scooter boomMicro-mobility, bike boom
54Fewer trips, less distant, consciousDe-touristification
55Private transport preferred, but ecoE-Mobility
56Mail order business boomingDash-Delivery
57Avoidance of mass transport, new public transport concepts required 
58Fewer flights, protects health and the environmentSlow Culture, Super-safe society, De-Touristification
59Environmental awareness on the rise, 100 km/h speed limit conceivable for the first timePost-Carbon Society
60Overheating in many areas is being reducedSlow Culture
61Turning “miserliness is cool!” into spending money sensiblySense Economy
62Proof of origin is required Direct trade, postal services Growth economy, transparency markets
63Waste prevention – vs – disposable protective clothingZero-Waste
69Locally organised Circular economyCircular Economy
65Barter trade boomingSharing-Economy
66COVID-19 is linked to climate protectionGreentec, quality of life, post growth economy
67Many new single-use products for safety and hygiene reasonsZero-Waste
68Purchases with a focus on sustainability and security, consumerism declinesMinimalism, slow culture, post growth economy
69Premium segment is changing towards sustainabilityQuality of life, minimalism, slow culture, post-growth economy
70Many people at the subsistence levelSharing-Economy
71High unemployment Start-up Culture, Gig-Economy
72Freelance working from home Start-up Culture, Gig-Economy
73Job security redefinedCo-Working, Gig-Economy
74Home office becomes the normWork-Life-Blending, Cybercrime, open knowledge
75Office is dissapearing step by stepWork-Life-Blending, Cybercrime, open knowledge
76Platforms for life and workPlatform Economy
77Better Online ToolsPlatform Economy
78Double earning is becoming less common, new parent rolesProgressive Parents
79Systemically important jobs are upgradedCorporate Health
80Virtual collaboration becomes more Collaboration, We culture
81Fewer meetingsCollaboration, Smart City
82New shop concepts, safer, more distance, sensibleService economy, omni-channelling, dash delivery
83International competition for the brightest mindsTalentismus
84Highly qualified people are bored / unemployed / retiredUn-Ruhestand
85Older generation must save the youngerDownaging, post-demography
86 It’s hard to be hilarious in a group, going-out miles on the retreatThird Places
87Expressing togethernessCo-Living
88The city is losing its appealDe-Urbanisierung, Rural Citiys
89Neighbourhood assistance expandsUrban Manufacturing
90Tinyhouses – small but myMicro Housing
91Entertainment goes in the direction of knowledge transfer Edutainment
92School as a place of learning is questioned Learning Analytics, educational business
93Remote maintenance, remote instructionsAugmented Learning
94Do more by yourself, acquire new skillsOpen Innovation, Crowdsourcing, Co-Working, Do it yourself, Digital Literacy, 3D Printing

What can we do with it now?

I’m sure this is the more difficult part. To be honest, I don’t know yet. I suppose these 94 personal assumptions will influence my decisions. Decisions on design projects, decisions on investments or partnerships. In any case, I would be delighted if we could take this speculative approach together with our customers – for their microcosm. Our offer for a joint Innovation Managment workshop is hereby confirmed.

Addition 1:

In connection with the possible behavioral changes assumed above, I have gained the following insight from the book “Skin in the Game” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb An intolerant minority – no matter how small – will sooner or later dominate the tolerant majority. The book gives many vivid examples of this.

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Markus writes about design- and innovation management, creativity methods, medical design and intercultural branding. More about...

Originally written by Markus Wild, 14. April 2020. Last updated 23. April 2023


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