The most popular NEXT Insights from 2022

Which of our insights caught your attention in the year just gone? It's all about better, more ethical tech — and vertical and horizontal integration…

2022 is done. And as we move forwards into the new year, it’s’ worth pausing to look back at the insights that mattered to you in the year just gone. Based on our traffic figures, the following ten posts were the most popular through the year just gone. And there are some real surprises in there.

For example, as you’ll discover at the end of the list, people are really intrigued by horizontal and vertical integration – perhaps as a consequence of the way the pandemic reworked our economies. But there’s also a strong theme of people wanting to design for a better, more ethical and responsible version of tech. And that gives us something to think more deeply about in 2023…

A few insights from the Insights

  • Martin Recke remains the blog’s MVP with 50% of the posts in the top 10
  • The oldest post in the top 10 is from 2012, and the newest from this year.
  • We have three posts in the top 10 that were written in 2022 — and all of them are summaries of NEXT Show talks.
  • The most popular posts are about 18 months old.

Enough of that! Here are the posts that you, our NEXT community, found most useful in 2022:

10: Nathalie Nahai: Persuasive Design and Ethical Business

(2022, Adam Tinworth)

The NEXT Show was born of necessity, when the pandemic made the face-to-face conference unrealistic for 18 months. But it’s become a mainstream part of what we do – and summary posts of talks by three great female speakers are in the top 10 most read posts this year. This great set of insights from Nathalie about how we can move beyond dark design patterns into a more ethical business model that delivers compelling businesses advantage has been deservedly popular.

9: Ana Andjelic: What Web3 means for brands

(2022, Adam Tinworth)

I first made contact with Ana late in 2021, to interview her for the book NEXT Level CMO. That led to her appearing on the NEXT Show and then speaking at the conference itself. While cryptocurrencies themselves had a torrid 2022, the underlying technology that comprises Web3 is still there, and people are still keen to understand what that could mean for brands. Both this summary of her talk on the show and the video itself have been popular.

(2021, Matthias Schrader)

Matthias, the co-founder of NEXT Conference, may have left Accenture Song now, but his insights live on. His predictions, published late in 2021 and extrapolated from Benedict Evans’s work, hold up well in retrospect.

7: With great power comes great responsibility

(2020, Martin Recke)

It’s nice to have Spider-Man helping out, isn’t it? There’s no doubt that some of the popularity of this post by Martin is down to the use of a paraphrase of the superhero’s motto. But as savvy marketing types, you know that SEO-friendly content that has low engagement times doesn’t keep its ranking. Martin has transformed that accidental interest into an exploration of what individual and corporate responsibility looks like in the digital age. And people stay to read it. Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben would approve, I think.

6: Protopia now: Monika Bielskyte on designing better futures for humanity

(2022, Adam Tinworth)

This is a surprise: our highest-ranked piece published last year is my post summarising Monika Bielskyte’s NEXT Show talk on designing better futures for humanity. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise: after three tough years, people are not just looking for a better future, they’re acutely aware that may have to plan and design it. And Monica’s talk is a great starting point.

5: What is Digital Service Design?

(2012, Adam Tinworth)

I just scrape into the top five (it’s Martin all the way here), with the piece from a decade ago, helping define digital service design. This was part of the build up to the couple of NEXT Service Design mini-conferences we did in Berlin in the early 2010s. It looks like we were prescient — more than a decade later, people are still searching for information about this.

4: The Dopamine Loop is Dead. Long Live the Experience Loop!

(2018, Martin Recke)

About five years ago, we started exploring some of the dark patterns of experience design that were giving tech a bad name, like ludic loops. Martin’s piece from 2018 moved the conversation forwards, by suggesting ways we could use positive experiences to build loyalty from customers, rather than additive deign patterns.

3: What is digital humanism?

(2017, Martin Recke)

We often joke that pieces we write for NEXT Insights will inform people five years in the future. Here’s direct proof of that. Martin started exploring the idea of digital humanism – an acknowledgement that digital culture is deeply entwined with human life, and needs a humanistic approach – five years ago. And people are catching up with his thinking.

2: The dual strategy of horizontal and vertical integration

(2021, Martin Recke)

You’ll spot a theme with the top two posts. This article from Martin has earned a featured snippet in Google search results and is the first non-academic paper result for people looking to understand horizontal and vertical integration in a business. Talking of which, isn’t there a large business well known for doing this…?

1: Amazon, the pioneer of horizontal and vertical integration

(2021, Martin Recke)

Martin’s piece from two years ago remains a big player in terms of search traffic. Plenty of people are clearly seeking to understand what makes Amazon so successful — but Martin also offers them some lesson they can take away from this. A great piece, that deservedly has the top spot. In fact, only the homepage and the main conference information pages beat it in traffic terms.