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Megatrends

Megatrends are one start point for analyzing the world from the perspective of  identified probable futures. They represent great emergent change forces that will influence the future of society and the world for decades or longer. The interaction between Megatrends is as important as the Megatrend itself.

Uses of the method

  • Organizations use Megatrends (the largest forces in societal development) to understand what probable futures are over the horizon e.g. aging, personalization, social networking, urbanization.  
  • As a feedstock for other futures methods

Benefits

  • Relatively few Megatrends to work with
  • Examples of current megatrends listed on many websites and in books
  • Different meanings for different organizations
  • Good for innovation, threat assessment

Disadvantages

  • Maybe too late in terms of gaining significant, ahead of the game, advantage
  • Different meanings for different organizations
  • A trend is only a trend until it bends. Beware a sudden change in sentiment or surprise!

Steps to complete

  • Considering the Megatrendrend ask each question in turn without producing any answers.
  • Sort your ideas into priority order or a logical order.
  • Capture your most exciting idea and biggest fear .
  • Determine the fixed elements (almost certain hard trends) that will inform your strategic response: slow-changing phenomena e.g. demographic shifts, constrained situations e.g. resource limits, in the pipeline e.g. aging of baby boomers, inevitable collisions e.g. climate change arguments.
  • Capture critical variables i.e. uncertainties, soft trends and potential surprises. Both these and the fixed elements will be key to creating scenarios and examining potential future paradigm shifts.
  • Capture unique insight into new ways of seeing that can be utilized by the organization.
  • What conclusions can we draw from the exercise(s)?
    • How might the future be different?
    • How does A affect B?
    • What is likely to remain the same or change significantly?
    • What are the likely outcomes?
    • What and who will likely shape our future?
    • Where could we be most affected by change?
    • What might we do about it?
    • What don't we know that we need to know?
    • What should we do now, today?
    • Why do we care?
    • When should we aim to meet on this?
  • Finish by noting your next steps. Next steps could include a further round of iteration, a recommendation on how to get the answers or use of other research and methods such as 'Starburst' to create more vantage points on the issue.

Collaboration
'Megatrends' can  be shared with others or kept private using the 'Visible to' fields and through the 'tag', 'report', 'share'', 'link and 'comment' functionality. Use 'tag' and/or 'report' to aggregate your analyzes, 'share' with others via email, Facebook and Twitter etc. or add a 'comment' to ask others where they agree/disagree and encourage them to make their own analysis from their unique vantage point.

Further reference

Contact us
Even with all the advice and tools we have provided here starting a foresight project from scratch can be a daunting prospect to a beginner. Let us know if you need help with this method or want a group facilitation exercise or full project or program carrying out by us. We promise to leave behind more internal knowledgeable people who can expand your initiative for better organizational performance.

Contact us today for a free discussion on your needs.

Are there other enhancements or new methods you would like to see here? Let us know and we will do our best to respond with a solution quickly.

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