Megatrends that are shaping our future
Demographic and social changes
A full 99 percent of growth in the global population over the next four years will be concentrated in regions that are classified as less developed, such as Africa, Asia (excluding Japan), Latin America and the Caribbean. Birth rates vary between Europe’s low 1.6 children per woman to 4.6 in Africa.
Around the world there is a growing health awareness and industries like ecological food and dietary supplements are expected to continued expanding rapidly. Consumers are also increasingly seeking information about preventive healthcare, on the Internet and through other channels.
Shift in purchasing power
The focus for global growth has shifted. For example, China overtook the USA as the world’s largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) already in 2014. Several of the other so-called E7 countries, which aside from China include India, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, will also climb up the value chain.
Today the E7 countries are graduating three times as many academics as in G7. Eventually, more and more of the major multinational corporations will be led by people from emerging markets, which will among other things affect the corporate culture.
Climate change and depletion of resources
Today’s economic development means that we are consuming resources beyond the planet’s capacity to cope. The consequences of this include climate change and depletion of resources.
Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause an estimated additional 250,000 deaths per year as a result of malnutrition, malaria, diarrea and heat stress.
Decision-makers will most likely continue to be driven by short-term goals, and companies will therefore play a leading role in managing the sustainability challenges. At the same time, organizations must become more flexible in order to handle the changes arising from unpredictable climate and environmental policy.
Stakeholders will increasingly judge companies from a sustainability perspective. For example, consumers want to know about product origins and whether they have been produced in an ethical and sustainable manner. The ability to build and manufactured trust among different stakeholder groups will be decisive for a company’s success.
Technological innovation is at the heart of the changes that are taking place in many sectors. Above all in emerging markets, new technology is giving rise to major changes. The Internet, mobile phones, computer analysis and cloud-based services make it possible for companies to get closer to their customers and take on a more “advisory” role.
In the healthcare sector there is already a wide range of digital tools for selection, development and testing of new products. Another trend is “big data”, which can be used for example to gather and cross-check health information from different registers to better understand illnesses, develop new methods and more efficiently allocate resources at the right time and to the right patient.
Apps and “wearables” enable patients to keep track of their health wherever and whenever, which is among other things freeing up hospital beds. By the same token, healthcare professionals can be available to patients regardless of where they are.