Megatrends

What are the technological effects? Trend researchers have differing answers. We have compiled a number of forecasts from leading trend experts for you.

AN INSIGHT INTO THE WORLD OF TOMORROW

Which megatrends characterize the present?

The world is increasingly organized into networks. Whether online or off-line, everyone maintains a diverse array of connections to others. While some only loose connections, almost all are digitalized. Smart devices, which are connected and communicate with each other via the Internet, are also becoming increasingly commonplace. In every area of life, whether professional or personal, they are interconnected and smart.

Technologies:

  • Digitalization – everything that can be digitalized is digitalized

  • Internet of Things – increasing communication among devices

  • Big data – intelligent analysis creates new insights and business models

  • E-commerce and mobile commerce – the growing demand for immediate delivery

  • SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) – the convergence of collaborative, locally-based, and mobile technologies

  • Lead management – essential for every company

  • Pop-up money – more and more “parallel currencies” are rising (such as Bitcoin)

Selection of current developments:

  • Market sectors and entire markets are converging, creating new ecosystems. Companies are developing into open value creation networks.

  • As a result of increasing individualization and “singling”, people are more frequently seeking contact in connection to other temporary communities based around a specific topic. Community thinking and a “club mentality” are becoming more important.

  • Connectivity and digitalization are inseparable. Increasing digitalization is creating new interfaces, surfaces, and action concepts. Work, communication, and cohabitation are constantly accelerating.

  • The link between the smart wearables and consumer goods together with forecasting software makes it easier for companies to determine individual needs and offer targeted products and services for the specific situation. This affects a diverse spectrum of industries and supply chains.

  • Analogue value creation processes, experience, products, and services are becoming increasingly digitalized. New business models are booming. New social media start-ups are launched almost every day. E-commerce is rapidly gaining market shares.

  • Friendships, consulting, and sales all take place increasingly online. Online networks and communities for special topics are becoming more and more important for customer contact.

Progressive globalization is distinguished by the ongoing integration and internationalization of markets along with the growing effects on society, ranging from the educational system to the private sphere and relationships.

Developments:

  • Increasing exports and more involvement of emerging nations in the world trade and economic growth. A new middle class is developing in emerging nations (BRIC, Next Eleven) and also in central and eastern Europe.

  • The existing “middle-class bulge” industrial nations is diminishing. Social systems suffering from increasing pressure and there is a rising number of super-rich with growing wealth.

  • Everything that can be automated is examined for feasibility and cost effectiveness. Machines are successively taking over mindless or fatiguing activities. Human responsibility is changing. Work is becoming less labor-intensive and the values are moving from the material toward the immaterial.

  • Increasing globalization results in greater regionalization. Regional products are becoming important value creation factors.

  • The boundaries between different cultures are becoming increasingly fluid.

  • National, European and multilateral laws and regulations are becoming more and more coordinated, requiring mandatory participation in global competition.

In addition to transporting people, goods and information, mobility also encompasses the growing mental flexibility with regard to issues such as career choices, changing faces of life and lifelong learning. Spatial and cognitive flexibility will become fundamental requirements in competition with machines and well-paid jobs for many career areas of the future.

Developments:

  • The competitiveness of companies and employees in a globalized world is fundamentally dependent on mobility. Globalized corporate structures are becoming increasingly fluid and swarm-like.

  • People expect mobility around the clock. The subway in Vienna, for example, operates 24 hours a day. New mobility-related products and business models such as car sharing are gaining traction. The number of car sharing users in Europe will increase from 0.7 million in 2011 to 15 million in 2020.

  • Greater mobility also places greater stress on the environment and demands the development of new, sustainable drive technologies.

  • The desire for a sense of home, stability, quiet, and true closeness is a counter-trend to mobility. Coordination and communication will become drastically more intense because more and more employees will collaborate in projects from different locations. As a consequence, “Attentiveness” will become a stabilizing force.

The transformation from an industrial to a knowledge society, based on creating immaterial value, will result in changing corporate structures and employer behavior. The workforce in areas such as service, information, and creativity will become a key factor for the global economy. Processes, experience, and ideas will become increasingly important. The boundaries between personal life and professional life will become more and more indistinct. Permanent employees will also demand greater independence as part of their work.

Developments:

  • Knowledge workers, entrepreneurs, and the rich of the future will form the creative class. They are hedonistic, enjoy the “new luxury”, and their families are world citizens, also feeling committed to their region.

  • The creative class appreciates outstanding performance, quality workmanship, cutting-edge technologies, transparency, sustainability, friendship, self-optimization, and quality of life. They redefine work by demanding flexible working time models, greater autonomy, and self-actualization. Career biographies become multigraphies with the objective of lifelong living.

  • Mobile, location-independent work to best develop one’s own creativity along with a good work-life balance will become the expected standard. Only those companies that position themselves as an attractive employer with flexible working hours, sabbatical years, work-life balance principles, and meaningful work will be able to attract and retain top talents.

Neo-ecology is more than just nature conservation or opposition to major industry. Sustainability and efficiency characterize every area and combine economy, ecology, and social responsibility. More and more consumers prefer “good” brands and companies that offer more than just a product. These companies promise to make a contribution to the lives of their customers, employees, and society as a whole.

Developments:

  • For successful companies, environmental protection, good working conditions and equal advancement opportunities for everyone are integral aspects. These see themselves as “good companies” that actively assume responsibility in society.

  • Customers increasingly judge the ethical and ecological aspects of products and brands when making purchase decisions.

  • Cultivated consumption, reflected in coffee, tea, clothing, and food cultures today, will replace classical status and luxury goods.

  • Companies place increasing value and sustainable production during the product development. Sustainability as a customer benefit gained increasing importance as an added value and as an advertising focus.

For more than 100 years, society has been characterized by the drive toward greater autonomy and self-determination together with the decline of classical hierarchy models. People shape and display their identity and personality through their consumption and the search for new connections. Important life decisions are postponed in order to retain as many options as possible for as long as possible.

Technologies:

  • Fabbing – individual manufacturing of products using 3D printers

  • Rapid manufacturing – the use of professional 3D printers for customized products 

Developments:

  • Traditional lifestyles are changing as a result of the growing desire for a personal and “real life” together with the need for self-actualization. Workplace change, location change, partner change – biographies now consist increasingly of endings and new beginnings.

  • People utilize the Internet as a platform for self-portrayal and the publication of personal content. More and more do-it-yourself websites are created that emphasize the desire for uniquely designed objects for daily usage.

  • Freely chosen associations such as friends and topic-based communities replace the traditional family.

  • The commercial potential lies in the development of personalized products and services based on modular concepts.

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