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10 voices on 2026

They say we’re at the verge of a paradigm shift, and that evolution is accelerating more and more. Smarter Worklife asked ten experts to gaze into their crystal balls and tell us how the world will look in 2026.

1. Paul Svensson, TV chef, cookbook author and restaurateur

on the food of the future:

“Terms like vegetarian and vegan won’t be used to the same degree as today. Rather, food producers will talk about healthy, enjoyable, climate-smart food. We will eat similar food to what we eat now, but the contents will be very different, more plant-based and varied. The biggest trend change in the coming years will be the use of marine plants—that’s going to be big.”

2. Dr. Mouna Esmaeilzadeh, physician, neurology researcher, entrepreneur and TV celebrity

on the future of health:

“In the future the focus will be on preventing diseases rather than to cure them, and individuals will have much more agency over their own bodies and health. Humans have always been a passive product of evolution, but through various technologies we will help to shape our own evolution and future. One example of this is the discovery of the CRISPR gene editor, which won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020. It can be used to find precise genes and to remove or add parts in the DNA of living organisms. CRISPR and other similar discoveries mean that for the first time in human history we can start dreaming of a world without disease.”

3. Josefine Mordenfeldt, head of Coor Advisory

on the workplace of the future:

“I think we’ll see a change in focus; where we used to expand office space, now we’ll focus on enhancing the user experience and safety of the workplace. We will work from home on average 1.5–2 days a week, and the office will become more important for building relationships and the brand, both from the customer perspective and to become a more attractive employer.”

4. Carsten Beck, futurist from the CIFS think tank in Denmark

on the society of the future:

“I think that in the future we will live in a ‘hybrid world’ where physical and digital versions of the same thing compete with each other. Take brick-and-mortar stores, for example; they need to give us incentives to visit them now that we know we can get along without them. In the future, stores will have to focus less on transactions and more on experiences, entertainment, networking and knowledge. Restaurants are different—we’ll go to them to see friends and hang out.”

5. Per Grankvist, sustainability expert, journalist and author

on the sustainability reporting of the future:

“Five years from now, companies won’t produce sustainability reports. They will be fully integrated in the financial reports, so the question becomes ‘What did we do to improve the planet and how much did it earn us?’ rather than starting with the money. Looking at social sustainability, we’ll see that misleading diversity communication, which doesn’t actually reflect the company’s diversity, will be punishable by fines.”

6. Alexander Haneng, lecturer, expert in innovation and digitalization

on the innovation of the future:

“How can we solve major, global problems? With innovation! Personally I think the big companies will have to become much more innovative; they will be the key to solving the global problems. In five years’ time I think we’ll live on a more sustainable planet and stop throwing away 97% of everything we produce after using it once.”

7. Peter Esaiasson, political scientist, researcher and author

on the politics of the future:

“Polarization will increase, especially people’s opinions on what is most important, global warming or migration. In recent years we’ve seen more and more people saying that society is moving in the wrong direction, even though their own personal situation has improved. Much of this discontent is about countries’ migration policies. People on the left think that this unhappiness is focused on the wrong thing, and those on the right feel that the major demographic changes are undermining the cohesion of society.”

8. Sandra Bourbon, economist, author and lecturer

on the economy of the future:

“Five years from now we’ll take even more responsibility for our personal finances. We won’t trust the system to provide our pensions, we’ll take care of them on our own. More and more people will set aside a ‘fuck off fund’ that will allow them to quit their job or leave their partner. Independent advice and sustainable choices will be valued more, so we’ll use investment bots to a greater degree than today.”

9. Fredrik Torberger, from the consulting and analysis company Kairos Future

on the employees of the future:

“In the future we will be surrounded by more know-it-alls—‘digital coworkers’ that continuously analyze data and know everything about what’s going on in our organization and among our customers. We might not see them as colleagues, but like our human colleagues today, the machines will help us to understand and influence our decisions. At the same time, we can expect to work more with people whose knowledge base is different from our own. This will be a necessity for solving complex tasks in the digital landscape.”

10. Paula Manrique, blogger, gamer and TV expert

on the entertainment consumption of the future:

“I think gaming and film will merge together in the coming years. Even now we hear about more and more established actors, like Willem Dafoe, providing voices for games. At the same time, series and films, like video games, will become more interactive, so the viewers can influence the story. I also think that movie theaters will soon be a thing of the past. We will absolutely watch movies together, but remotely. Disney+ has already begun with that in their GroupWatch, where people watch content together with friends or family via an app and can chat or talk at the same time. The streaming giants will develop more, similar services, so we can count on new kinds of movie nights in the future ...”