Megatrends and Their Impact on Our Future

I’m excited to welcome Andrew Bolwell as a guest blogger today. As HP’s Chief Disrupter, Andrew plays a key role in CTO Office innovations. Our CTO Office is defining new market segments, products, and business models that will help shape HP’s future growth. The CTO team is studying industry-shifting trends like Hypermobility, Internet of All Things, 3D transformation, immersive experiences, advanced robotics, and artificial intelligence.

To help us stay ahead of the accelerating change happening around us, Andrew has been focused on Megatrends shaping our future. In this post, Andrew will share the team’s latest findings, and how Megatrends can be a beacon for where the world is headed.

Take it away, Andrew.

There’s so much change happening around us these days that it’s easy to forget the speed at which things are changing. In fact, there is more change expected in the next 15 years than in all human history to date.

To stay ahead of the change, our team has been working to identify and define major socio-economic, demographic and technological trends occurring across the globe. At HP, we call these Megatrends. Today, I’m sharing and answering the most frequent questions I receive about these trends and how they will affect your business.

What are the Megatrends? Fueled by faster technology advancements, our rapidly changing world finds us more connected and reliant on digital technologies, altering how we live, work, and socialize with one another. At HP, we’ve identified four major Megatrends: Rapid Urbanization, Changing Demographics, Hyper Globalization, and Accelerated Innovation. Here’s a quick rundown of each of the Megatrends.

Rapid Urbanization is leading to a sprawling urban landscape. 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. With bigger cities comes major economic growth. By 2025, urbanization will welcome an additional 1.8 billion consumers to the world economy, 95% of them in emerging markets.

Changing Demographics are shifting the tapestry of society. On the one hand, we have a new generation that is beginning to enter the workforce, a generation known as Generation Z. Yet at the same time, more countries are becoming super-aged, which means more than 20% of their population is over the age of 65.

Hyper Globalization is powering a global marketplace. It’s easier now than ever before for start-ups to scale globally and for emerging market companies to challenge established multinationals. Disruption is now happening everywhere to everyone, even to those companies who were themselves doing the disrupting just a few short years ago. Companies around the globe must constantly reinvent themselves to stay competitive.

Accelerated Innovation is creating the building blocks for tomorrow. The rapid pace of change we are experiencing today will accelerate as we move forward. Emerging technology trends like Hypermobility, 3D transformation, the Internet of all Things, and smart machines will harness advancements in computing power, connectivity, and immersive computing to deliver richer experiences.

What’s an example of a trend? The butterfly effect of self-driving cars is a perfect example. Everyone has heard of self-driving cars, but what about their implications beyond the roadway? The effects will be more far-reaching, impacting industries beyond automotive.

Today, U.S. drivers travel over 3 trillion miles and spend 75 billion hours in a car every year. What if that time could be put toward getting work done rather than getting to work? Productivity gains could reach $507 billion annually.

Connected cars will also communicate with each other, reducing congestion and speeding up travel times. Car designs will change becoming roving rooms and entertainment centers.

And with self-driving semi-trucks, there will be fewer human truckers on the road, leading to fewer motel stays and rest stop visits, and cheaper trucking could take business away from freight trains or even oil pipelines.

The full scale of these economic shifts is impossible to understand until it’s upon us, but the one thing we know for sure is that they’ll touch almost every aspect of society.

How do I apply these trends to my business? If you’re asking yourself, “how do companies stay ahead of all this change, to innovate, adapt, reinvent, and engineer experiences for the future?”, you’re on the right track. Since we can’t predict the future, we must look to the major socio-economic, demographic and technological trends occurring across the globe to help guide us. I believe these Megatrends will have a sustained, transformative impact on the world in the years ahead, and help point us to where these future opportunities might lie.

HP CTO & Global Head HPLabs. Technology futurist, passionate leader focused on 3dprinting, cybersecurity, drones, travel, and FriendsNational.

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