Trends Identified

Innovating communities
Is there a big future in small cities? The majority of humanity will live in cities by 2050. But, in what kind of cities? The conventional urbanization narrative holds that big cities will only get bigger and economic benefits will continue to accrue disproportionately to hotbed regions, such as the San Francisco Bay Area or Shenzhen in China. However, as we highlight in our “Remapping urbanization” megatrend, the future of cities is not more of the same. A counter-narrative to this urbanization story is arising as global megacities and hotbeds begin to experience the limits to growth, and the forces of disruption continue to drive change that creates new opportunities for legacy cities and smaller cities. The result will be a more distributed, inclusive and resilient global cityscape.
2018
What’s after what’s next? The upside of disruption Megatrends shaping 2018 and beyond
EY
Health reimagined
With growing health needs, is digital the best medicine? There is much to gain from disrupting health care. Aging (see Engaged aging) populations and increasingly sedentary lifestyles have put costs on an unsustainable trajectory. Advances that improve health outcomes and care delivery will generate tremendous benefits, not just for patients, but also for governments and businesses. This is the promise of health reimagined* — the move to an entirely different health paradigm that is predictive, personalized, proactive and participatory. The ubiquity of data and analytics means every company is now a tech company. In the future, companies from every sector will develop products, and increasingly, algorithms to improve individuals’ health. Mobile and other empowering technologies are helping drive this shift, transforming patients into super consumers who demand greater control of their health through new products and services.
2018
What’s after what’s next? The upside of disruption Megatrends shaping 2018 and beyond
EY
Food by design
Can innovation align delicious with sustainable, affordable and healthy? The US$5 trillion global food industry is experiencing the cross-currents of disruption. Food companies deliver mass products from far-flung supply chains even as consumers demand local, transparently sourced, personalized foods. Agriculture generates 24% of greenhouse gases, consumes 70% of fresh water† and occupies nearly 40%‡ of the global landmass. Climate change and population growth render this kind of resource consumption increasingly untenable. The diffusion of the modern western diet contributes to a variety of global health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. More people now suffer from obesity§ than from malnutrition. Innovations at the intersections of food, biotech, wellness and digital are emerging from these cross-currents to design new ways to eat.
2018
What’s after what’s next? The upside of disruption Megatrends shaping 2018 and beyond
EY
Molecular economy
Nature is clean, efficient and distributed — why is manufacturing not so? There is a revolution in the making. In 2017, IBM Research discovered a way to store one bit of digital information in a single atom*, a density that would allow the storage of Apple’s entire 26-million-song music catalog on a device the size of a coin. Researchers at the UK’s Durham University used light-activated motorized molecules† to drill into cancer cells, destroying them in 60 seconds; animal testing will follow. And, Dubai wants to 3-D-print 25% of its new buildings‡ by 2030. In this revolution, physical, digital and biologic systems converge to create clean, efficient and distributed production processes.
2018
What’s after what’s next? The upside of disruption Megatrends shaping 2018 and beyond
EY
Human augmentation
Technology has always augmented human capabilities. So far, this has been relatively passive: assisting humans in performing tasks. We are now on the cusp of human augmentation that is qualitatively different. For the rst time, technology will take an active role, working alongside us and directly on our behalf. The next wave of disruptive technologies, which are rapidly coming of age, are driving this change. They include AI, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), sensors and blockchain. These breakthroughs are in turn generating new products and services, such as AVs, drones, robots and wearables.
2018
What’s after what’s next? The upside of disruption Megatrends shaping 2018 and beyond
EY
Populism
For the last seven decades, globalization has marched forward uninterrupted. The Bretton Woods Institutions and multiple subsequent free trade agreements ushered in an era of trade liberalization and global supply chains, trends that helped lift more than one billion people out of poverty. In 2016, that inexorable forward-march hit a major roadblock when back-to-back election results gave us Brexit and President Trump, bringing populism and anti-globalization to the forefront. While populism had been ascendant in numerous countries before this — from Poland and Hungary to Bolivia and the Philippines — these elections brought such political philosophies to two of the world’s largest economies.
2018
What’s after what’s next? The upside of disruption Megatrends shaping 2018 and beyond
EY
engaged aging
The world is getting older. Life expectancy has gone from 34 in 1913 to 67 at the turn of the millennium. By 2020, for the rst time in human history, the world’s population of people aged 65 and older will exceed the number of children under the age of ve. And, the World Economic Forum estimates that the global cost of chronic diseases — driven largely by aging populations — will total US$47 trillion* between 2010 and 2030. If demographics are destiny, it’s not hard to read what those numbers imply for our collective future. Forget the millennials for a moment. The much bigger disruption is what’s about to happen at the other end of the demographic distribution: aging populations across much of the world. These trends threaten to overwhelm health care and pension systems, draining public coffers and crowding out other societal priorities, from education to defense.
2018
What’s after what’s next? The upside of disruption Megatrends shaping 2018 and beyond
EY
Synchronous Interactions
The success of HQ Trivia, a game with shows scheduled for specific times, “harkens to olden days,” says Siegler. “When people were forced to listen to the same thing, or watch the same thing on TV, dating back to the game shows of the ’50s, when people gathered around, or even more recently to Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. It’s antithetical to the way social networks have been predominantly used, connecting people but doing so asynchronously. What if there’s a desire for people doing the same thing at the same time in a connected way?”
2018
The Most Important Tech Trends Of 2018, According To Top VCs
Fast Company
E-sports
“What’s happened over the last 18-24 months, with the rise of Twitch, there’s a massive global core gaming audience, tens of millions of core to mid-core gamers,” says Natarajan. “That used to be the gaming market. In the past two to three years, suddenly that market multiplied. Now it’s not just the gamers, it’s the audience, people watching [the gamers].” “New product and company opportunities are going to emerge from that,” he adds. “It used to be, Who are the content guys, the large studio publishers? That used to be our investment framework. Now it’s who are the founders building the connective services? …It’s amazing to think about core gaming as a spectator sport, and all the interesting new platforms and services that will support that.”
2018
The Most Important Tech Trends Of 2018, According To Top VCs
Fast Company
Autonomy
Evans says that when the day comes that cars, buses, and other vehicles no longer need drivers, it’ll be possible to completely re-imagine what those vehicles can be, and—even better—re-imagine the world in which they move. “If you’re building public infrastructure or planning a city, then [long-term planning] absolutely needs to be something that figures into your thinking.”
2018
The Most Important Tech Trends Of 2018, According To Top VCs
Fast Company