By now, the concept of megatrends as overarching transformation processes is well established in the strategic discourse of both business enterprises and political organisations; they are exploited in multiple ways as the basis for strategy and innovation processes. Rather than considering megatrends in isolation in the course of our projects, we work with you to produce a change map with which the various trends and their integrated ramifications can be understood.
- Megatrends: megatrends are the drivers of change. We compress the transformation dynamics into a concentrated set of twelve trends for you. The core aspects of the megatrends can be mapped according to traditional indicators of change, but also to new changes which need to be discussed. They provide a basic navigation aid in a complex and confusing world.
- Areas of need: megatrends transform human needs. We juxtapose these megatrends, which describe the changes from a macro perspective, with a systematic overview of the microcosm of human needs. In essence, there are fifteen areas of human need against which the force of the megatrends can be gauged in a unique way from a corporate perspective, as they also represent attractive opportunities for value creation.
- Future markets: megatrends drive future markets. The effect of megatrends on the areas of need leads to the emergence of new growth areas and value creation opportunities. In the course of our project collaboration with you, we will take a targeted approach to identifying new issues, which will come to be important for your company.
- Fault lines: Megatrends not only represent a concentration of opportunity, but can also result in far-reaching upheavals, exposing new fault lines in society and politics. Together with you, we will identity any global risks that are likely to affect your business going forward.
Megatrends: Understanding the Drivers of Change
The new set of megatrends encompasses the structural framework conditions for dealing with political and commercial organisations, but also for people’s individual lifeworlds. The brief descriptions that follow are also available as a PDF download.
By 2030, the global population will have grown by another billion to 8.5 billion people. This development is regionally asymmetrical: birth rates in Africa, for example, far exceed the population replacement level. Almost half of the world's population growth between now and 2030 will take place in Africa. The population of Europe, by contrast, is shrinking. On the other hand, with the exception of Africa, most regions throughout the world are affected by population ageing. One of the main developments concomitant with the population explosion is the expansion of urban living space. The speed and extent of urbanisation in many Asian and African states is unprecedented. Burgeoning migration waves throughout the world are also contributing to increasing urban sprawl.
- Regional development asymmetries
- Global population ageing
- Urban growth regions
- Increasing migration waves
Anthropogenic Environmental Damage
The environment is suffering more and more from the subsequent costs of the human lifestyle. No trend reversal has yet been achieved in greenhouse gas emissions. The main emitters are power stations, industrial plants, traffic systems and agriculture. Surface and water temperatures are increasing as a result of anthropogenic climate change, in addition to which the polar caps are starting to melt, sea level is rising and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. Noise and light pollution are also increasing steadily, whilst rubbish piles are growing and soils are being contaminated. At the same time, a flood of laws, regulations and initiatives are attempting to prevent human beings from destroying the basis of their own continued existence.
- Anthropogenic climate change
- Increasing environmental pollution
- Loss of biodiversity
- Increasing volumes of waste products
- Tightening of regulations relating to the environment
The world is becoming less equitable. Whilst inequalities between states are diminishing at the global level, they are increasing within specific regions and countries. The expected future economic growth in Europe, North America and China will almost exclusively benefit the more affluent sectors of these societies. More and more families are facing poverty, social exclusion and material deprivation. This is in particular true of rural areas that are in danger of being completely cut off from the rapid developments in urban centres. The interactions between different aspects of inequality lead to a significant potential for social conflict. This finds expression in political radicalisation, terrorist actions and politically motivated violence.
- Increasingly precarious living conditions
- Increase in wealth concentration
- Intensification of social conflicts
- Increasing rural-urban disparity
New Political World (Dis)Order
The political world order is currently undergoing a transition towards multipolarity and the unilateral “pax” americana is disintegrating. The geopolitical situation is currently dominated by volatility, instability and asymmetric conflicts. The influence of major emerging economies such as India and especially China, but also smaller states, regional powers and non-state actors, is increasing, resulting in new distribution struggles for power and resources. A new system contest is on the horizon between liberal market economic democracies on the one side and authoritarian state controlled capitalist systems on the other. At the same time, calls for a strong, even authoritarian state are being countered by the slow but steady withdrawal of state-funded social safety nets on the part of many states.
- Multipolar world
- Asymmetrical conflict lines
- Authoritarian varieties of democracy
- Dismantling welfare provisions
- Regional integration projects
The proportion of the world's population living in cities will increase from the current 54% to 60% by 2030. In emerging and developing economies, in particular, rapid urbanisation is often unmanaged resulting in burgeoning urban sprawl. Meanwhile, western cities are facing the challenge of renovating their ageing, sometimes crumbling, infrastructures, a task whose accomplishment will function as an acid test for many towns and cities. The importance of adaptive infrastructural systems, designed to react to dynamically changing challenges and requirements, is increasing in the context of urban infrastructure expansion as are digital infrastructures, designed to increase the efficiency and public accessibility of urban systems.
- Unmanaged urban growth
- Modernisation crisis in municipal infrastructures
- Expansion of adaptive infrastructure systems
- Generative and sustainable urban development
The Digital Transformation
Digital technologies continue to dominate all areas of life, whereby the dynamics of change will continue to increase up to 2030. Driven by ever faster data connectivity, the miniaturisation of sensors and processors as well as devices that are intuitive to operate and offer novel application functionality, the networking of objects is penetrating into every corner of daily life. Within the emerging “internet of things” (IoT), physical objects are able to communicate and interact with their surroundings. Developments in the field of artificial intelligence have made it possible to analyse enormous amounts of data in real time thus enabling powerful solutions based on automation. Robots and machines are able to discover optimised solutions to complex problems without the need for human intervention. However, internetworking involves a certain amount of risk: cybercriminals are increasingly training their sights on critical infrastructure.
- Digital networking in everyday life
- New opportunities through “big data”
- The establishment of IoT paradigms
- Breakthroughs in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics
- The vulnerability of critical infrastructure
Global Power Shifts
The 21st century will be dominated by power shifts at different levels, initially between states and regions, mostly in a west to east direction – the resurrection of Asia in its former glory. Global welfare will also be subjected to a decentralising distribution. A global middle class will emerge, albeit characterised by strong regional variations. In addition, political power will successively move from central control organisations to smaller organisational units — regions, municipalities, and non-state institutions. Ultimately, the training-intensive requirements of the knowledge and information society will be conducive to a progressive power transfer from men to women.
- Emergence of new powers
- Growth of the global middle class
- Increasing influence of non-state actors
- Shift from states to municipalities
- Women on the rise
The coming decades will be heavily influenced by developments in bio and nanotechnology, the neuro and materials sciences and medical engineering. An increasing profound understanding of the laws of life is enabling man to intervene creatively in natural process in general and in the development of biological organisms in particular, both at the atomic and sub-atomic levels, but also at the scale of networked macro systems. This is altering our understanding of life in profound ways. Intelligent designs are based on natural systems and processes. The bio-technical transformation involves a number of concomitant risks as, by artificially intervening at all levels of the system with increasing frequency, mankind is entering terra incognita.
- Development of modified and synthetic organisms
- Improvement of human abilities
- Smart materials and new construction principles
- Existential risks
The divergence between people's individual lifeworlds will increase by 2030. Gender roles will no longer be accepted as being predetermined, and will increasingly be defined by individuals themselves; new forms of individuality will be established based on complex identity formation processes and modified body images; linear biographies will morph into complex, dynamic multigraphs. Patterns of consumption, which are motivated by multiple factors such as the increasing demand for personalised products, a deeper integration of customers in product development processes, increasing sensitisation to sustainable consumption and a transition from ownership to sharing platforms in certain product categories, will also become increasing differentiated.
- Weakening of traditional gender roles
- New forms of individuality
- Dynamic biographic developments
- Complex identity formation
- "Glocal" patterns of consumption
- Sophisticated consumption
Changed Work Environments
Whether its organisational forms, work equipment, operational profiles or competency requirements – a fundamental change is recognisably taking place in the work environment at levels. Work is being organised on a more flexible basis, both spatially and chronologically, and companies are attempting to dissolve traditional silos in favour of more open structures. Workers are enjoying the support of digital assistant systems, exoskeletons are reducing the strain of physical tasks, artificial Intelligence and robotics are giving rise to novel forms of collaboration and automation. The time contingencies for more complex human activities will increase in future, but workers will be expected to accept more personal responsibility and self-organisation. In addition, they will be required to work continuously on the ongoing development of their personal skills profiles. At the same time, workforces will become more diversified, which will present new challenges for both managers and staff.
- Decentralised organisation
- Assisted and automated working
- More complex tasks
- Dynamic skills development
- Increasing diversity
Throughout the world, companies and economies are experiencing increasingly volatile development dynamics. Several factors are contributing to this development. On the one hand, mutual global dependencies have increased at the same pace as the flows of international capital and goods have burgeoned in the wake of globalisation. The risk of contagion in times of crises has also increased and local events can have global consequences. In addition, the incidence rate of crises of an international character is also increasing, which deprives national economies of the ability ever to achieve full recovery. Increasing international inequalities further complicate the situation. Increasingly, a reliable monetary, economic and fiscal policy is becoming a thing of the past. Industry structures are changing under the influence of disruptive innovations. Speculative investment activities are also destabilising the global economic system.
- Global debt overload
- Concentration of productivity and profits
- Erratic economic and trade policy
- Disruptive change in industry structures
- Short-term investment patterns
Businesses are increasingly being confronted with dynamically changing commercial environments. The technical transition is accompanied by cross-sectoral innovations at the business model and organisational process levels. Innovations arise at the interfaces of formerly separate sectors, whose boundaries are becoming increasingly fuzzy as a result of integrated products and services. Cross-sectoral value creation networks and structures are emerging, as exemplified by the platform economy or collaborative business operations. At the same time, robotics, 3D printing and other production technologies are being revolutionised under the motto “Industry 4.0”. Highly flexible production processes and integrated corporate structures are being created. Business objectives are also changing and are increasingly being extended to include positive external effects on the environment and society as a whole.
- New interface markets
- Expansion of the platform economy
- Sharing as a business model
- The flexibilisation of production systems
- Shared values as a new paradigm
Areas of need: Occupying and Shaping Future Markets
In terms of megatrends, our consultancy services are aimed at gaining an understanding of the long-term cause and effect relationships among the trends in question. This requires a sharp intellectual differentiation between the drivers of change (the megatrends) and their effects. For example, “mobility” is often referred to as a megatrend. However, mobility is actually a human need which is influenced by such megatrends as urbanisation, anthropogenic environmental damage and the digital transformation. The concomitant changes can initiate paradigm shifts within the markets associated with the areas of need in question. The transition from private car ownership to networked mobility services is a prime example of such a far-reaching change.
This example also demonstrates how areas of need also tend to be areas of value creation: it is in this context that future markets emerge which your company can occupy and shape. Z_punkt has developed a system for the classification of areas of need, on the basis of which it is possible to systematically identify relevant growth areas and future business opportunities in B2C and B2B contexts based on the specific skills profile of any given corporation. Below, we present a selection of examples, which, in addition to mobility, includes the fields of energy, health, nutrition, communication, housing, beauty, education and pleasure.
Practical Examples: Megatrends as Tool for Strategy and Innovation
Z_punkt has a wealth of experience with megatrends. We would be happy to collaborate with you to develop a project design, which will highlight how megatrends can support strategic and innovative efforts within your company.
Send details of your query to Kai Jannek. We will do our best to reply as quickly as possible.