Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Megatrends - Seven to Watch Out For

There have been plenty of previous books about the future, with a noted one Future Shock by Alvin Toffler. How right was he in his prognosis on the future? Have you read it?  

Then there were two books by John Naisbett on the 80s and 90s - both titled Megatrends.
Similar books have continued over the years, albeit slowly in recent years so it must be about time for another one.
It does not mean to say they are right or wrong either as thinking about how the future may unfold can be a serious planning issue.  Many factors of influence are already fixed in place NOW, and will influence what happens.
Then there are the so called "black Swan "events - rare but influential.  Can they be predicted?
Maybe read this new book and see what factors are at work now that will have influence.
No, I have not read it - quite new in fact, with the press release about the book only dated early May.  Not too many reviews round yet, as I write this on 8 May 2015.

Dr Stefan Hajkowicz is an expert in foresight, which uses economics, geography and decision theory to plan for an uncertain future. He is principal scientist at CSIRO, Australia’s national research agency.

What will the future look like?

How will technology development change the way we live, work and play?

How should we respond to change?

These are some of the questions that we need to answer if we're to make wise choices and make a better world.

In a new book from CSIRO Publishing, Global Megatrends: Seven Patterns of Change Shaping Our Future, author Stefan Hajkowicz identifies seven patterns to tell a story about how the world will change over the next 20 years.

"Megatrends are gradual yet powerful trajectories of change that have the potential to throw companies, individuals and societies into ‘freefall'," Dr Hajkowicz said.  "Moments of freefall will happen to you, your company, your society and the world.

That's assured.

It's not whether change will happen that matters, but when and how you respond."  "The financial collapse of stock markets, terrorist strikes, technology disruptors, democratic elections in eastern bloc countries and the fall of the Berlin Wall were relatively sudden events - when viewed over history - but they did not occur in isolation."  "The change heralded by megatrends lies beyond our direct control but not beyond our influence.

By getting a picture of how the world is changing and what these megatrends are, we can alter our destiny."

The seven patterns outlined in the book are:
  • More from less - Increasing demand for limited natural resources and a scarcity of these resources
  • Going, going... gone? -A window of opportunity to protect biodiversity, habitats and the global climate
  • The Silk Highway - Rapid economic growth and urbanisation in Asia and the developing world
  • Forever young - An ageing population, changed retirement patterns, chronic illness and rising healthcare expenditure 
  • Virtually here - Digital technology reshaping retail and office precincts, city design and function and labour markets
  • Great expectations - Changing consumer expectations for services, experiences and social interaction, and
  • An imperative to innovate - Technological advancement is accelerating and it is creating new markets and extinguishing existing ones.

The book captures the thinking of many dedicated scientists and researchers who have devoted their careers to exploring and understanding change, and draws on hundreds of reports and peer-reviewed references.

It is an easy-to-read tool that can be used by businesses, governments, researchers and students to anticipate and plan for the future.  "The seven megatrends are all about the signals that lead-up to a moment of freefall. They are taking the world into new territory, creating new risks and new opportunities."

Global Megatrends: Seven Patterns of Change Shaping Our Future, by Stefan Hajkowicz, available from 1 May 2015 in book shops and online, $35.00, paperback, 216pp, ISBN: 9781486301409.


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