On the odd occasion there are people who identify some emerging trends, others seem to go beyond and have identified something much bigger: mega trends. An example is the business partner and director, Sarwant Singh. He has identified a set of trends that are termed “mega trends” which can be considered as major societal and transformative forces. In addition he has written the book New Mega Trends.
Many of the trends recognise some of the failings of the existing systems or highlight emerging technologies that will dominate the future. Like all trends, some can be identified now, whilst others are more conceptual but are likely to be relevant. Some of his arguments are highly pertinent to sustainability and geography.
Here are the mega trends identified:
1. Health and Well-Being: the age-old model of treating symptoms will be transformed to a more holistic solution. This is a move from the increasingly expensive western welfare model which is becoming too expensive and unsustainable.
2. Smart: this is, Singh claims, the new “Green”. It ranges from so called smart homes to smart cars to smart appliances. Smart means “intelligent” technology that will increasingly help to manage our lives. This may involve ordering products when they run out or utilising home energy intelligently for example.
3. Zero: this is a powerful concept, the removal of things that are not required or should not be there. Thinks zero emissions, zero breaches of security and zero waste for example.
4. Electric Mobility: covered widely in this blog, electric mobility will be taking off over the next decade. There will be an increased pace of change as new technologies develop and improve.
5. Cities as Customers: an interesting idea that the rapid pace of urbanisation will lead to certain cities being targeted to sell to, rather than selling to particular countries. The new urban areas will be mega cities or mega corridors or regions. These will be linked by the sixth mega trend:
6. High Speed Rail: here there will be options to travel long distances overland by train rather than plane. We are seeing the emergence of a pan-Europe high speed network and this will be extended in Asia and America.
7. Value for Money products: sold to mass markets and sold cheaply.
8. An increasingly connected and converging world: this sees the massive growth of personal computing devices, think smartphones and beyond. These will be linked together to alter human connectivity and interactions.
9. Cyber War: there has been a recent spate of cyber attacks recently from North Korea, it is claimed. The future of information will be a battle ground to take control of information.
10. Social Changes: especially from Asian countries such as India and China. There will be an increased rise of women in the world of politics and business. The west will perhaps become more Asian and there is evidence that the west’s domination will be eclipsed by China as an alternative superpower.
Several of these mega trends are intrinsically linked, such as the technological trends but also zero and the powering of transport by electrical power. Zero and the “city as a customer” reflect the changes to lifestyles as the world becomes more urbanised. These trends are certainly worth watching. For a more detailed account of the trends see this BBC article.