11 big trends that are changing the world

Do I have a crystal ball? No, but I do have some unconventional ideas...

On this site, you’ll read about 11 big changes that I believe we may live through in the next few years.  I don't present them here as hard-and-fast forecasts, but mainly to show how it is possible, by giving some thought to the trends happening all around us, to find that you are drawing some interesting and unexpected conclusions.


First, why 11?

Well, I thought it was catchier than “10 changes.”

But more to the point: By choosing to focus on these 11 themes, am I saying that these are the only changes to expect in the next decade?

Not at all.  In some way, large or small, almost everything is going to change over the coming few years.  All I’m doing here is focusing on a handful of the more thought-provoking changes I believe are in the offing – ones that may have a big impact on the future business landscape.  In most cases, this impact will only be indirect.  But that doesn’t mean it will not be real.

As a believer in the value of scenario planning, I also think it’s important to focus on developments that have a realistic chance of happening.  So you won’t see any pie-in-the-sky predictions here, like “In 2020, you’ll be able to fly from Los Angeles to London in an hour” or “All the world’s books will be available in pill form.”  As much as I’d love a Jetsons-style future like this, I don’t see those kinds of things happening any time soon.


Is there anything you can actually do with this information?

The purpose of this Web site is to stimulate you.  First, to stimulate you to think about the trends - already at play, most of them - that may bring about a future that is very different from today.

While we may not know in detail what that world will look like 11 years from now, we do know one thing for certain: It is not only in today's environment, but in that future environment, with all the changes that have taken place between now and then, that your company will have to be competitive.  So thinking about how the world may change makes sense.  It can give you a head start on your competitors.

Second, I would also like this site to stimulate you to give scenario planning some serious consideration. If you want your organization to be successful 11 years from now, you already need to start taking steps today to ensure that your long-term strategy is aligned with the way the world could evolve.

So are the scenarios described on this site useful in a practical sense?  If they get you to think about the future in a new way - and better yet, if they get you to think about planning for the future in a new way - then I would say they are of immense practical value.


Everything's connected

Lastly, the 11 changes described here are, not surprisingly, very much intertwined.  It is not so easy to tease apart the strands and present them as separate, distinct ideas.  Demographic changes, for example, are behind a number of the scenarios, but rather than show “demographic developments” as 1 change with several consequences, I chose instead to look at the consequences themselves, since that is what we will actually see, and have to deal with.



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