There are trends, then there are… megatrends. I’m not talking about really skinny jeans.
In fact, the CSIRO’s 2012 revision to its global trend outlook thankfully features very little in the way of beardy men in skinny jeans or ironic fox-holding-a-vintage-camera-motifs.
Instead, the report says a megatrend is a “collection of trends, patterns of economic, social or environmental activity that will change the way people live and the science and technology products they demand”.
So it’s like, the future. Of everything. Man.
The revised report lists six interrelated megatrends projected up until 2032, for which I have scoured the interwebs and collected shining examples:
CSIRO Megatrend 1. More from less. The earth has limited supplies of natural mineral, energy, water and food resources essential for human survival and maintaining lifestyles.
The Never-ending Light Globe.
Social entrepreneur Illaic Diaz’s idea to light up slums using recycled plastic bottles is an example of a growing design movement that looks at market-based solutions and sustainable technologies for social impact.
When it comes to enabling people to do something great, like children being able to study, by repurposing an environmental hazard like a plastic bottle - this doesn’t get much better.
CSIRO Megatrend 2. Going, going ... gone? Many of the world's natural habitats, plant species and animal species are in decline or at risk of extinction.
CSIRO Megatrend 4. Forever young. The ageing population is an asset. Australia and many other countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have an ageing population.
Will Hollywood popularise an aged-care robot?
Australian government projections on aging suggest that over the next 40 years, the proportion of the population over 65 years will almost double to around 25 per cent.
The healthcare technology industry are naturally beginning to focus on this growing market.
Other advances in life-longevity research, such as bio-connectivity which uses wearable technology like iPhones for heath monitoring, and preventative medicine as seen in huge leaps in nanomedicine research, are seen as part of this megatrend.
Lastly, think about this: it took $3 billion to sequence the first human genome. By 2009, that was down to $100,000. It’s now under $10,000 and it’s estimated by the end of 2012 to cost $1,000.
CSIRO Megatrend 5. Virtually here. This megatrend explores what might happen in a world of increased connectivity where individuals, communities, governments and businesses are immersed into the virtual world to a much greater extent than ever before.
Live Augmented Social Reality
We all know about augmented reality mostly through the Google Glass project and we all mostly agree that social media has changed our lives.
Insert the South Korean tech company Kiwiple and their social network service Ovjet.
Ovjet integrates social media and augmented reality to provide a user with an experience that uses the technology to provide real-time information and communicate with others.
In a hyper-connected world, the advent of realtime social connection doesn't seem so remote.
As long as you can still block babies from your reality newsfeed and replace them with bacon or cats.
CSIRO Megatrend 6. Great expectations. This is a consumer, societal, demographic and cultural megatrend.It explores the rising demand demand for experiences over products and the rising importance of social relationships.
A burgeoning field pioneered by Reed Montague which uses MRI brain scans to better pitch marketing to our subconscious emotional or cognitive driven decision making.
Oddly enough, the field has its roots in this Pepsi ad campaign from the 1980s.
While marketeers are still unsure how to apply their scientific results, the trend shows how consumer experiences will become more refined and your relationship with brands and products might become more finely tuned.
The science may not answer the real question: Pepsi or Coke? Who cares!