Top 5 Innovation Trends To Watch For In 2021


2021 will be a landmark year for innovators. The world is currently undergoing a drastic paradigm shift in the way people work, consume content, create, and share. From strategically redeploying resources to developing ethical technologies, top-performing entrepreneurs should note and gain inspiration from emerging trends. 

The following trends have been curated on the basis of current traction, potential, and application for entrepreneurs. From changes to the $250 billion eLearning industry to advancements in AI, these trends are ones to watch in 2021. 

eLearning 2.0 

For more than two decades, online learning has empowered students of all ages to achieve their goals, no matter where they live. From updating professional certifications to earning an entire college degree, eLearning allows more equitable access to a wide range of information. eLearning 2.0 includes a new layer of educational opportunities. 

Beyond reading assignments and taking quizzes, eLearning 2.0 will consist of fully integrated and responsive learning experiences. For example, consider Lingopie, the first-ever video streaming platform designed to enable viewers to learn Spanish or Russian through watching television shows. Users can stream thousands of hours of subtitled content in the language they want to learn. They can then click on any word or phrase to get an instant translation, making the experience a fully immersive process. 

Trust In AI

Ethical artificial intelligence is no longer a future trend - it’s a key component of everyday life. Devices run by AI-informed processes now live in our cars, homes, and even pockets. But what level of trust should we place in these automated systems? 

Building trust in AI is an essential process for top tech innovators, as users become more sensitive to how platforms access their sensitive data. Companies must build, operate, and evolve intelligent, transparent, and trusted AI systems. For example, the Austin-based software company CognitiveScale is ahead of the ethical AI trend with its Cortex Certifai solution. 

Cortex Certifai provides customers with increased confidence, trust, and accountability in the development, deployment, and compliance of its Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) decision-based systems. Essentially, Cortex Certifai mitigates business risks by assigning the first-ever composite trust score, the AI Trust Index, that measures data and model risks related to multiple factors. Business leaders who include AI Trust Index analysis within their product development processes will evolve more quickly and avoid profit-reducing problems. 


CEOs As Global Thought Leaders 

In 2021, CEOs will further adopt the role of active thought leaders in their industries, sharing experience and building trust with their communities. A stunning 92 percent of employees surveyed in the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer say that they expect their employer's CEO to speak up on one or more issues. CEOs must serve as advocates, building equity with their employees, stakeholders, and the global community at large. 

For example, LivePerson CEO Rob LoCascio recently launched a podcast featuring interviews with multi-disciplinary guests, from psychologists to thinkers like Deepak Chopra. “Over the Wall” includes exclusive insights from LoCascio’s 25-year entrepreneurial journey as well as expertise from other industry titans on their mistakes and lessons learned. The show will focus on the grit LoCascio developed after founding a multibillion-dollar company and more than 20 years running a public organization.  Podcasts such as “Over the Wall” exemplify how CEOs are leveraging their hard-earned knowledge to give back and better their communities. 

Venture Beyond Capital 

Brands who work together thrive together. Whether combining resources and talent (like in the Salesforce acquisition of Slack), participating in consortiums (example here), or funding new ventures, top innovators will continue to win by leveraging inorganic growth strategies to multiply their functions. 

ATB Ventures, the innovation arm of Alberta-based ATB Financial, recently partnered with Radical Ventures, the Toronto-based AI-focused venture capital firm investing in entrepreneurs applying artificial intelligence to transform industries. As AI-driven innovations and applications are now being developed and adopted at an unprecedented rate, innovators & inventors will have more choices and overall stability within their tech arsenal by diversifying their growth strategies. 

AI In Video Creation And Distribution

Video content has long dominated the online media landscape. From long-form, produced pieces on YouTube to micro-posts on TikTok and Instagram, top innovators will continue to prioritize video in 2021. And now, thanks to new tools, expensive editing software is not necessarily required. Kamua, a browser-based tool that automates video editing, offers its customers “AutoCrop,” a program that automatically converts those YouTube videos into vertical versions that work best with IGTV viewers. Innovators can focus on content creation rather than the particular specs of a video. 

As 2021 kicks off, innovators are already thinking about upcoming technology innovations. Building products that emphasize ethical AI, the latest customization opportunities and unique partnerships provide innovators with endless chances to launch game-changing creations in the next year.  

Disclaimer: the writer does not hold any relationships with the companies mentioned in this article. 

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