I had the pleasure of talking with futurist and the managing partner of ChangeistScott Smith recently about some of the biggest macro trends everyone should be aware of today. While these trends had already begun prior to the coronavirus pandemic, in many ways, they accelerated as the world fought to deal with the pandemic and now as we begin to build our post-COVID-19 world. Here are the six future trends he believes everyone should be ready for.
The world as we know it is about to change fast.
I like to think about the future a lot, so this year I decided to make some predictions.
My predictions for this decade
- Federated Learning will unlock value from previously inaccessible sensitive data.
- Deepfakes will impact democracy and bring about a need for publisher certified content.
- Nationalism will rise around the world, the internet will splinter.
- eSports will take a huge chunk of attention and advertising dollars from sports.
- Blockchain will get adoption in enterprise. Mainstream adoption will struggle until there are key custody solutions that everyone can use.
- Self-driving cars will open up new business models. Regulations will be the main barrier to adoption.
- Welfare systems will get strained.
- Digital currencies and negative interest rates will open Pandoras box.
- Search will get reimagined.
The world may soon pass “peak virus.” But true recovery will take years—and the ripple effects will be seismic. Parag Khanna and Karan Khemka forecast the aftershocks.
In chaos theory, the butterfly effect describes a small change that can have massive, unpredictable consequences. An insect flaps its wings and, weeks later, causes a tornado.
The coronavirus is more like an earthquake, with aftershocks that will permanently reshape the world.
If we are lucky, the world will pass “peak virus” within the next six months. But the economy, governments, and social institutions will take years to recover in the best-case scenario. Indeed, rather than even speak of “recovery,” which implies a return to how things were, it would be wise to project what new direction civilization will take. That too will be a bumpy ride. The next 3-5 years will remind us that COVID-19 was the lightning before the thunder
Climate change, transparency, and nationalism will be driving the workforce 10 years from now.
For decades, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has generated some of the world’s greatest innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups. MIT has built a strong research and engineering culture since its founding in 1861, producing dozens of Nobel laureates along the way. 3Com, Akamai, Bose, Dropbox, Intel, iRobot, Kahn Academy, BuzzFeed, HP, and Qualcomm all have MIT roots. So I always pay attention to the lists published in MIT’s in-house journal, The MIT Sloan Management Review.
Understanding change is at the heart of entrepreneurship. As a founder, you need to spot unmet needs arising from changes in demographics, politics, and innovation. If you fail to do so, you may fail yourself.
Last year, MIT published a list by futurist Andrew Winston of the biggest megatrends that will impact the world by 2030. Winston’s pedigree is extensive; his clients include McDonald’s, Apple, Bank of America, Walmart, HP, Disney, and Cisco. Here is his list (explanations are mine):
As this decade draws to a close, it’s natural to look ahead and wonder what the future holds. However, it’s also worth looking back to see how much things have changed in the decade just gone. As I reflected on the 2010s, there were 10 big business trends that defined the outgoing era.