Megatrends are enduring forces shaping the world’s future over time horizons of 5 to 10 years or more. 3M consulted external sources to identify five key megatrends that are expected to make the greatest impact in the years ahead. Although events like the COVID-19 pandemic will cause short-term headwinds to some key trends, and tailwinds to others, we expect these megatrends to persist.
Technology has long been a measure of human advancement and power. Today, the next revolution is well underway, and the world is rushing to adapt to the rising speed of development. What feels like incremental change today is truly exponential compared with the past, and expectations continue to rise. Disruption is the new normal and will drive relentless change. How must we plan, invest and execute in a rapidly advancing world?
Demographic and social change is foundational, impacting all other trends. People’s relationship to society, community and government evolves at different rates, but common trends still emerge. How can we prepare?
Influence can come in the form of a crisis or event but can also develop over time. The world is entering another fascinating decade of geopolitical and economic change that will certainly rebalance the world’s influencers. What must we do to keep a steady footing as the world rebalances?
Disruptive changes to the natural environment are causing fundamental shifts in behavior and raising concerns about the future health of the planet and all that live on it. Investment in alternative energy continues to rise, but prevention of climate change is a waning option, with adaptation becoming the new focus. Ensuring access to clean air, water and food are rising priorities for governments, and a waste management crisis is hitting developed countries. What role can we play to bring about a brighter future?
The rising influence of individuals is transforming economies and societies. The demands of personalization and shifting corporate expectations have put exceptional pressure on companies to adapt, leaving many of them vulnerable to disruption by new technologies and business models. The increasing strength of individuals’ digital voices has empowered the masses to seek change and demand more from those who serve them, but these digital tools are double-edged, and society is currently confronting the damage being done in what many call the “war on truth.“ How must we respond to thrive in this new environment?