04th January 2023

‘Mutuality’ is the business word of 2023

Schwa’s research predicts it will be the word on every businessperson’s lips next year

Every year, the big dictionaries pick their word of the year. But what about business? Which word is on the rise in the boardrooms and Zoom rooms of the world?Schwa is a language consultancy that reads and writes hundreds of thousands of words a year for corporate clients like Zurich, Disney and PepsiCo. They studied which words were being used more and were likely to become THE business buzzwords of next year.‘Mutuality’, ‘hypergrowth’ and ‘sustainovation’ top the list“‘Mutuality’ was the winner,” said Neil Taylor, founder of Schwa. “It captures a shift in the dynamics of the workplace, especially, post-Covid, where a good work relationship is supposed to be a win-win for the employer and the employee, rather than it all being in the company’s favour. I don’t reckon Elon Musk will be using it any time soon – but we’re hearing it starting to pepper the speeches of CEOs and HR directors.”‘Hypergrowth’ wasn’t far behind. “Not surprisingly,” says Neil, “it’s about the stage in a company’s development when it grows really fast – especially in a recession where your competitors are getting wiped out. And it just sounds cool – businesspeople love words that sound like they might be based on science, but also have a bit of energy to them.”Third place went to ‘sustainovation’. “Yep, it’s about innovating, but in a sustainable way” says Neil. “But the fact that it’s an invented word gives you the thrill that you might be talking about a cutting-edge concept.”Why businesses love buzzwordsNeil says: “Lots of people slag off business jargon and buzzwords, and yes, some of them are a bit daft. But people to use them to signal that they’re up with the latest trends, and it’s tribal – people want to belong. And even in everyday language, we like phrases like ‘goblin mode’ as a way of expressing an idea in a fresh, pithy way.”


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