‘Megatrend’ is a word coined to describe and group a set of changes in our world that are enormous in their impact, unprecedented in their magnitude, and apparently unstoppable in their march. They are global, sustained and macro economic forces of development that impact business, economy, society, cultures and personal lives, defining our future world and its increasing pace of change.

A few examples of mega-trends include:

  • Global Warming and climate change;
  • Scarcity of vital resources such as food, water, and land;
  • Global population growth;
  • Urbanisation;
  • Digitisation and robotics;
  • Artificial Intelligence;
  • Shifts in geopolitical power;
  • Human longevity and associated health and care challenges.

Together, these massive influences are changing the face of our children’s futures. They are making for a harsh, brutal reality that previously would have been considered fundamentally incompatible with human prosperity and well-being.

So, how will your organisation exist in this harsh, new environment?

One thing we do know, is that we cannot solve today’s problems with the tools and thinking that created them in the 20th century.

For us to even begin to address the megatrends facing us in the 21st century we need to employ fundamentally disruptive approaches. This is where Millennials (digital natives) may hold the key. It’s instinctive for this generation to use empirical data and sophisticated algorithms to assess situations, decisions, challenges, and choices. They have unprecedented access to data, intelligence, and applied knowledge their parents would probably not have dreamt of.

If we are to stand a chance of tackling 21st century challenges such as population growth, climate change and global warming, food and potable water scarcity, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, we need disruptive approaches.

We need the kind of problem-solving that is born out of “integrated thinking” which is the natural ally of Integrated Reporting, and is enhanced by taking “time to think.”

By employing these approaches in the boardroom, and across the thought-engines of start-ups and corporates alike, we may find the beginnings of a new ‘informed optimism’ as we look towards welcoming 9 or 10 billion souls on our tiny planet.