Go where there is no path

It’s perhaps ironic that most people at METSTRADE 2016 were so busy, they would have missed the presentation on the InnovationLAB of Adjiedj Bakas, the Amsterdam-based trendwatcher, author and speaker. He researches financial, social, cultural, economic, technological and spiritual trends and travels widely to present his thoughts on what is about to unfold for individuals, businesses and nations.

His warning for the marine industry was there are going to be lots and lots of changes that will affect everything we do. How we respond to that will define our future in significant ways.

Relating global trends to how they might impact us, Bakas was very focused on marina environments, predicting things that appear to be in conflict. He said that illegal immigration concerns would mean we would see the requirement for more security at harbours and marinas; yet he also stated that marinas need to move away from being parking garages, to welcoming holiday destinations with floating hotels, regular events and things for families to do on site.

Bakas believes the industry has a PR problem and says that“the image is one of an industry of fat cats, but all over the world elites are not popular any more. People don’t like the symbols of elitism. You need to make the industry more accessible, build cheaper ships and use the sharing economy. We don’t need to own everything any more. The share economy is coming along and we will see the equivalent of AirBnB for boats.”

He stated that “the statistics in the industry are not very positive either, and mostly ships are owned by elderly men. We don’t get the young generations in.”

In this case, Bakas thinks “we should use the fact that the younger generations suffer quite a lot from stress and do not experience a good work-life balance. Research in the Netherlands shows one in six professionals between the age of 18-30 years is nearly burnt out. People are not sleeping well. The most important thing we know about boats and the sea is that they are relaxing – so the marine business should be part of the ministries of health around the world and the relaxation industry – it’s an interesting opportunity.”