Advertising: 'All sorts of things will just be sold in plain packages'
If I'd been writing this five years ago, it would have been all about technology: the internet, the fragmentation of media, mobile phones, social tools allowing consumers to regain power at the expense of corporations, all that sort of stuff. And all these things are important and will change how advertising works. But it's becoming clear that what'll really change advertising will be how we relate to it and what we're prepared to let it do. After all, when you look at advertising from the past the basic techniques haven't changed; what seems startlingly alien are the attitudes it was acceptable to portray and the products you were allowed to advertise. In 25 years, I bet there'll be many products we'll be allowed to buy but not see advertised – the things the government will decide we shouldn't be consuming because of their impact on healthcare costs or the environment but that they can't muster the political will to ban outright. So, we'll end up with all sorts of products in plain packaging with the product name in a generic typeface – as the government is currently discussing for cigarettes. But it won't stop there. We'll also be nudged into renegotiating the relationship between society and advertising, because over the next few years we're going to be interrupted by advertising like never before. Video screens are getting so cheap and disposable that they'll be plastered everywhere we go. And they'll have enough intelligence and connectivity that they'll see our faces, do a quick search on Facebook to find out who we are and direct a message at us based on our purchasing history.At least, that'll be the idea. It probably won't work very well and when it does work it'll probably drive us mad. Marketing geniuses are working on this stuff right now, but not all of them recognise that being allowed to do this kind of thing depends on societal consent – push the intrusion too far and people will push back. Society once did a deal accepting advertising because it seemed occasionally useful and interesting and because it paid for lots of journalism and entertainment. It's not necessarily going to pay for those things for much longer so we might start questioning whether we want to live in a Blade Runner world brought to us by Cillit Bang.
20 predictions for the next 25 years
Affordable catalysts for green vehicles
Progress is being made on a promising zero-emission technology, the hydrogen-fed fuel cell. Progress to date has been stymied by the high price of catalysts which contain platinum. However, much progress has been made reducing reliance on this rare and expensive metal, and the latest developments involve catalysts that include no platinum, or in some cases no metal at all.
These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2017
World Economic Forum (WEF)
Africa and China will tie their fates.
China’s growing investment and presence in Africa over the last several years is undeniable; Xi Jinping just committed another $60 billion to African investment only three years after a similar pledge. “African countries are now fully aware of the huge infrastructure gap they have,” in the $70 billion to $120 billion a year range, and have welcomed Chinese money, says Stephen Yeboah, founder of Commodity Monitor. Meanwhile, China needs arable land to feed its population and raw materials — cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, copper from Zambia, bauxite from Ghana — to feed its industry. In 2019, public opinion will look at those deals closely, demanding fair terms and quality infrastructure, Yeboah says. Zambia’s loans were so mismanaged it can’t even tell how much it owes, he points out, while countries like Rwanda or Ghana have been able to drive a harder bargain. “Ultimately, each country is sovereign,” he says. “It’s up to African leaders to decide whether they let the Chinese call the shots.”
50 Big Ideas for 2019: What to watch in the year ahead
Against the Grain
With climate change placing growing strain on the global food system, and with international tensions already heightened, the risk of geopolitically motivated food-supply disruptions increases. Worsening trade wars might spill over into high-stakes threats to disrupt food or agricultural supplies. Conflict affecting supply-chain chokepoints could lead to disruption of domestic and cross-border flows of food. At the extreme, state or non-state actors could target the crops of an adversary state, for example with a clandestine biological attack. In these circumstances, retaliatory dynamics could swiftly take hold. Domestically, rationing might be needed. Hoarding and theft could undermine the social order. Widespread famine risk in recent years suggests that greater hunger and more deaths—in least-developed countries, at any rate—might not trigger a major international reaction. If similar suffering were inflicted on more powerful countries, the responses would be swift and severe. More resilient trade and humanitarian networks would help to limit the impact of food supply disruption. But if trade wars were a contributing factor, then countries might seek greater self-sufficiency in food production and agriculture. In some advanced economies, this might require rebuilding skills that have been allowed to fade in recent decades. Agricultural diversification and the development of more resilient crop variants could bolster national security by reducing countries’ vulnerability.
The Global Risks Report 2019 14th Edition
World Economic Forum (WEF)
Ageing and uneven population developments
Over the coming decades the overall population of the EU is projected to grow but it will be much older than it is now.
Challenges at the horizon 2025
European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS)
The world’s population is getting older, with the population over 60 growing fastest.
Now for the long term - The Report of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations
Oxford Martin School
Since life expectancy will continue to increase, the median age will rise and aging of population will even accelerate. Globally, the median age will move up by 5.1 years, from 29 today to 34 in 2030. Between 1990 and 2010, the increase was 4.7 years, up from 24 in 1990.
Trend compendium 2030
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
Life expectancy reaches ninety years in Western countries. Human enhancement breakthroughs mean middle age begins at sixty. Retirement ages rise. The young are not being promoted with everyone working longer.
Global risks 2035- the search for a new normal
Replacing the canary in a coalmine
Top 50 Emerging Technologies 2017
Frost & Sullivan
Agility and innovation
A number of innovative approaches that began in software development are now being adapted by organizations for non-IT products and processes—including agile, scrum, kanban, design thinking, and other creative methodologies.
Twelve Forces That Will Radically Change How Organizations Work
Boston Consulting Group (BCG)