Stay young and invest in friendships. That’s how you become future proof

Stay young and invest in friendships. That’s how you become future proof

With “The Next Gen” as its central theme, the eleventh edition of LEADERS MEETING PARIS aims to make business leaders and policy makers think about the future. After all, that future starts today within our youth. That’s why we need to stay young. That is the message that trend watcher and futurist Tom Palmaerts wanted to give to the guests of the network event as the first keynote speaker.

Tom Palmaerts has always been passionate about young people. For the past twenty years he has been researching “the youth” and (extreme) subcultures that live among youngsters. According to him, the next generation is more than only a generation of flashing screens and short messages. By keeping an eye on what young people do today and by looking at what concerns them, we see what can happen on the long term. In this way, the next generation is challenging the current generation.  

Based on his observations of youngsters, Palmaerts makes some predictions about what our life will be like in 2030. He believes, for example, that we will all be living in larger cities within the next ten years, and that Asian culture will play an increasingly important role in this. He refers to the popularity of k-pop and TikTok among young people, where the Asian stars are indispensable. 

Further on, Palmaerts strongly believes in the value of personal contact and friendship. This too will become increasingly important in the future. His reason: that’s something young people don’t excel in. The next generation feels like their lives are getting busier and busier, partly because they are bombarded by social media on all sides. As a result, they have less time to invest in deep relationships. He therefore calls on the next generation to look up their mobile phones and look for real, deep connections.

Tom Palmaerts


Palmaerts concludes with two tips to become future proof: stay young and invest in friendships. The visions and attitudes of young people can challenge us to innovate, but at the same time they can also show us what we need to invest in. To get them on the right track right away, Palmaerts gave the guests of LEADERS MEETING PARIS a challenge: “Download TikTok and do something with it tonight.” There’s no doubt anymore that it will be interesting days in Paris.


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