Key trends driving the development over the next 50 years

19 september, 2013 Trends ,

We live in an increasingly complex world. Most scientists would even agree that we are living in one of the greatest times of change in the whole history of our species. And that the pace of change is still increasing…

How on earth do you and your company then stay relevant and competitive in such an environment – not only next year, but in five years, ten years, twenty years and thirty years from now? The answer is innovation.

At Innovation in Mind – the fifth yearly innovation conference in Lund – innovation is in the spotlight for two full days, September 18-19, 2013.

One of yesterday’s speakers was Ray Hammond, the #1 Futurologist in Europe. Ray has written several books on the topic, one of them called “The world in 2030”.

Ray means that innovation is the key to endless economic growth, as long as it focuses on innovation without exploitation. In the same way that the wheel was a revolutionizing development to mankind, new innovations enable growth and prosperity in the same way – making things better and more efficient. But, none will innovate if they are content – there needs to be an urge to find a better way to do things. In Ray’s perspective corporations and corporate leaders are the key actors today, with most possibility to influence the future. Far more than governments.

In this pace of change, how will our world look in 50 years? Very different as to Ray Hammond – in a both scary and wonderful way. He means that there are a few key drivers of the future for the next 50 years:

  • Global population explosion – water will be the key issue, not food
  • Climate change – continuosly debated, but still an issue that needs to be solved
  • Continuing energy crisis – related to the first two, with a huge need to identify non polluting ways to produce energy
  • Globalization – if ethically and sustainably done, with respect for local people and culture this can be a truly good force. All countries and continents needs to be included, or they may become a negative force and “come and take the rest of us”…
  • Revolutions in medical science will transform the way we live and radically prolong our lives, especially if we have money enough to pay for the rejuvenation. Maybe we don’t even have to die…
  • Exponential, accelerating technological development – in ten years or so we will reach the point when computers can be as capable of solving problems as humans. Within a few years after that, computers will be able to solve problems better than humans. How will society handle that? Will computers be our slaves or masters…

Looking into the future is not an exact science. Ray Hammond has however practiced for 35 years and has a solid track record. Since I – the article writer – am 44 years old today, I will probably live to evaluate Ray’s predictions as a healthy 94 year old… was he right or wrong?



About the author

Elisabet Lagerstedt

Elisabet Lagerstedt

Elisabet Lagerstedt is the founder and director of Future Navigators. As a trusted advisor, consultant, and Executive Coach, she helps business leaders navigate beyond business as usual to build Better Business and co-create a better future - through insight, strategy, innovation, and transformation. Elisabet is also the author of Better Business, Better Future (2022) and Navigera in i Framtiden (2018).