Over the next 15 years, we will experience more change than in all human history to date. The pace and magnitude at which change is occurring is staggering.
Did you know we now have more computing power in our pocket than all of NASA had in 1969 when they put the first man on the moon?
Or how about the fact that artificial intelligence spent 42 hours solving the 100-year-old mystery of how flatworms regenerate body parts?
With the accelerated pace of change comes the equally accelerated rate of innovation. I believe this accelerated innovation and the Megatrends driving it will have a sustained, transformative impact on the world in the years ahead — on businesses, societies, economies, cultures and our personal lives.
So how do we as engineers, marketers, designers, innovators, and executives stay ahead of that change and help chart our own course?
Ask yourself: Is your business Megatrends ready? Answer these five questions to find out.
1. What products could you develop to support megacity infrastructure, an aging population, or hyper global trade?
By 2030, there will be 8.5 billion people walking the earth, and 97% of that population growth will be in emerging economies. And as people move to cities, our cities will get larger, and we’ll have more of them, including megacities in places many of us have never heard of today.
It will change how we buy and consume products and services, propelling the sharing economy and convenience-based services. Businesses must design products that meet the needs of the megacity infrastructure, an aging population or hyper global trade.
2. Do you have the necessary employee programs in place to support an aging & diverse workforce with varying work styles?
As fertility rates decline and life expectancy increases the composition of our population will shift older. By 2030, we’ll have twice as many people over 65, nearly 1B.
And when the already-active Baby Boomer generation begins to age and live longer, there will be increased expectation for new healthcare methods and products that will prolong their quality of life.
In addition, the makeup of the workforce and population in general will continue to become more diverse. Gen Z, aging, female, and global workers will usher in a new set of expectations and a different style of working and living.
Encore entrepreneurs, using their decades of expertise and their contacts to start new businesses or careers, will mix with Millennials and Gen Zs, creating a clash of workstyles and expectations. New workplace policies, means of collaboration, and automation will be a must.
3. Is your business infrastructure designed to support multinational remote workers, partners, and suppliers?
40% of the workforce is predicted to be remote freelancers by 2020, with 80% of large corporations planning to increase their use of a flexible workforce.
A more flexible workforce needs richer collaboration tools. For example, designers in the far east needs effective collaboration tools to easily connect with manufacturers all over the world to bring their product to market in what feels like overnight.
4. Do you have the right supplier and government partnerships to be able to move your manufacturing and design closer to your customers?
Businesses rely on their suppliers to reduce costs, improve quality, and develop new processes and products faster than their rivals’ vendors can. Although that’s nothing new, technology and information are blurring the traditional boundaries among suppliers, manufacturers, and end users.
Demand for international brands “adapted” to local tastes is high. In the past, retailers’ goal was to create a universal experience. Today, they recognize they need to make each location unique.
Consider partnering with local companies. They may provide insights into specific customizations that fit with local preferences.
5. Have you developed a corporate culture ready for business disruption and transformation?
If you build an open-minded and diverse workplace, everyone feels empowered to share their ideas and innovate. In a workplace culture that’s ready for disruption, an open flow of ideas will follow. Your employees will step out of their comfort zones and reach their full potential as innovators, leading to improved business procedures, ideas, and products.
It’s time to disrupt your business … before someone else does.