There are some stories and topics that get us going a bit more than others. Here, Courier's editors have picked 10 fascinating (and sometimes overlooked) themes to form our ‘compass’ that will guide a lot of what we cover in 2022. They might not include the fastest growing industries or the most talked-about trends, but they're the ones that we really care about for reasons that we'll explain in the links below.

Look out for more Compass stories and features here.

Compass theme 1: Lost trades and skills

Sure, NFT sales and the expanding metaverse are cool, but old-school crafts are what get us really excited. From leather tanners, knife makers and bookbinders to embroidery artists and upholsterers, we want to hear about those keeping age- old trades alive in modern times.

Compass theme 2: AI and automation

You might think AI is something that's only accessible for those with big budgets. But every company stands to benefit, directly or indirectly, and in the most unlikely of areas. We'll be devoting a lot more time to uncovering the latest trends and discovering how AI is likely to impact small businesses in the coming years, from food and fashion to cosmetics and construction.

Compass theme 3: Social and environmental impact

It's a bare-minimum expectation these days that businesses are able to show that they have

a net positive impact on the world around them. Not only are consumers demanding it, but it makes business sense, too. But balancing profit, people and the planet is a difficult task that even the most well-funded companies fail to achieve. We want to showcase the brands that are doing things right.

Compass theme 4: Inclusion and accessibility

The rule book on how we work has been completely thrown out of the window. Yet, following the disruption of recent years, we want to continue shining a light on how companies are treating their employees. We'll look at how heightened awareness of workplace inequality has impacted everything from office perks to company culture, and how wide-scale changes to working patterns are improving inclusion and accessibility in the workplace.

Compass theme 5: Family businesses

Family businesses rarely make the headlines. And yet they account for five out of every six companies out there, according to some estimates. From succession planning to balancing loyalty with ambition, it's time for us to dig into the unique challenges facing family businesses – and discover how the best ones find ways to overcome them.

Compass theme 6: Rural entrepreneurship

As cities across the world have experienced an exodus of people (and in turn, of companies, talent and innovation), we want to understand what opportunities and challenges exist in building companies outside traditional financial and technology centers.

Compass theme 7: Supply chain innovation

The past 18 months have brought to light just how fragile and interconnected many brands' supply chains truly are. Transparency is now the name of the game, and it's an essential way of managing risk down the line. We'll be focusing on the positive strides companies are making, and sharing key insights on everything from next-gen tech to ethical labor practices.

Compass theme 8: Unsexy industries

There are thousands of successful businesses out there, making things or providing services

to people that don't grab the headlines – but that doesn't make them any less successful, impactful or profitable. We'll continue to shine a bright light on these arguably unsexy industries that make a lot of money, but not a lot of noise.

Compass theme 9: Universal design

Designing products for those with disabilities isn't just a good thing to do – it also makes business sense. We'll dig into the areas where companies fall short, and look into how brands are making improvements for their business and the disabled community.

Compass theme 10: Untapped consumer markets

When it comes to focusing on new consumer markets, the demographics that get the most attention are Gen Z and millennials. Luckily, there are a lot more people out there, and that means a lot more opportunity for businesses to branch out. From older shoppers to Gen Alpha and emerging markets around the world, there are endless untapped markets that rarely get the attention they deserve.

This article was first published in Courier issue 44, December 2021/January 2022. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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