The world has finite natural resources.  In the future there will be a major global effort to extract more for less.

A new report from CSIRO identifies five global megatrends and eight megashocks that are changing the world.

“Megatrends are collections of interlinked trends that will change the way people live and the science and technology products that they demand,” report co-author CSIRO’s Dr James Moody says.

“Megashocks are hard-to-predict risks defined by sudden and significant events, like the Asian tsunami and the GFC.
“As well as informing science activities within CSIRO, we hope that this report will help inform Australian industry, government and community decisions.

“Our aim is to take a fresh approach to understanding the future by using new data, methods, technology and ideas.
“We welcome comment and input from experts and stakeholders to this work in progress.”

The megatrends presented in the report are based on analyses of over 100 trends contributed by leading scientists and business development staff across CSIRO.

The five interrelated megatrends identified in the report are:

  1. More from less. This relates to the world’s depleting natural resources and increasing demand for those resources through economic and population growth. Coming decades will see a focus on resource use efficiency.
  2. A personal touch. Growth of the services sector of western economies is being followed by a second wave of innovation aimed at tailoring and targeting services.
  3. Divergent demographics. The populations of OECD countries are ageing and experiencing lifestyle and diet related health problems. At the same time there are high fertility rates and problems of not enough food for millions in poor countries.
  4. On the move. People are changing jobs and careers more often, moving house more often, commuting further to work and travelling around the world more often.
  5. i World. Everything in the natural world will have a digital counterpart. Computing power and memory storage are improving rapidly. Many more devices are getting connected to the internet.

Report co-author Dr Stefan Hajkowicz says that the megashocks of our future world will have profound and far reaching implications for people’s lives.

“Our megashocks are based on 36 global risks identified by the World Economic Forum in 2009, from which we have identified eight risks particularly important from an Australian science and technology perspective.


  • asset price collapse
  • slowing Chinese economy
  • oil and gas price spikes
  • extreme climate change related weather
  • pandemic
  • biodiversity loss
  • terrorism
  • nanotechnology risks.

The report can be obtained from: Our Future World: An analysis of global trends, shocks and scenarios.