strategyWow!  This article from Strategy + Business, How to Seize the Opportunities When Megatrends Collide, has articulated what I like to do! “… tap into people’s natural curiosity about external factors, to broaden and deepen the resulting conversation; and to translate the general understanding of megatrends into a more practical framework that companies could use to seek opportunities and reduce risks.”  For years Rebecca and I have talked  and taught about the big picture and thinking strategically.  Here’s an earlier post on the topic too!

More from the S+B article:

“The megatrends framework can help any private- or public-sector leader think more clearly about complex external trends, and help develop an ordered, prudent, and proactive strategy for facing them. Its basic building blocks are five historical patterns active in the world today that have left their mark on all aspects of the world’s economic and social fabric.

1. Demographic and social change: the combination of greater life expectancy, declining birthrates in many parts of the world, and unprecedented rates of human migration, accompanied by a gradual increase in the status of women and greater ethnic and social diversity within most countries.

2. Shifts in global economic power: in particular, the much-noted expansion of prosperity in emerging economies at faster rates than in the industrialized world, leading to momentous changes in consumption patterns and a rebalancing of international relations.

3. Rapid urbanization: the massive expansion of cities around the world, through a combination of migration and childbirth, with major implications for infrastructure, land use, traffic, employment, quality of life, and culture.

4. Climate change and resource scarcity: the rapidly increasing demand for energy, food, and water, in a finite world with limited natural resources and even more limited capacity for carbon dioxide and a wide variety of other effluents.

5. Technological breakthroughs: the transformation of business and everyday life through the development and use of new kinds of digitally enabled innovations in fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, fabrication (including 3D printing), cloud computing, and the Internet of Things.”

The article goes on to discuss where those megatrends intersect, or “collide, with disruptive or transformative changes rippling out into nearly every industry around the world.”  It examines “four collisions in more detail: the global Sahara, the pop-up enterprise, supercompetitive cities, and global women rising. Like most of the collisions, they are just now beginning, and can still be influenced.”

I am happy to see that libraries have already recognized the “megatrend of shifts in global economic power [that] has also combined with technological breakthroughs. One of the most noteworthy results is the spread of pop-up companies—businesses that operate for only limited periods to complete specific tasks, and that reinforce (and benefit from) a looser, less draconian overall business environment.” Libraries are popping up in parks, community centers, as well at events to showcase their products and services where their customers are.

The majority of people now reside in cities. “The megatrend of rapid urbanization has accelerated the spread of some social problems such as traffic, crowding, tensions between rich and poor, difficulties in raising children, food and water shortages, crime, and government corruption. But it has also improved the world’s economic growth, environmental sustainability, and cultural viability. Cities that face their challenges effectively gain a high quality of life and strong social networks; they become hubs of prosperity. Cities that don’t manage themselves well spiral down into social and economic decline.”  Libraries are helping to improve their community environments — just look at Library Journal’s 2014 library of the year — Edmonton Public Library!  World class and a great role model.

With respect to “Global Women Rising”, it will be interesting to see if the “changes will lead many companies to shift their diversity-oriented practices, from a compliance-based system aimed at meeting regulatory requirements to a proactive approach that seeks to attract skilled women employees whose high potential might not have been fully realized in the past.”


1. “The first step is to look for your own collisions, aimed at your own industry. What might happen over the next 10 to 15 years when demographic and social change collides with technological breakthroughs—in healthcare, energy, automobiles, or consumer products? How might your company get out in front? What investment would be required? In what time frame?”

2. ” Develop new management skills… become better listeners, better interpreters of meaning, and better catalysts for change. This could mean stepping out of[your] comfort zone on a regular basis and encouraging others to do the same. It could also mean trying new business models or collaborating with other companies, seeking different ways of looking at the world. It almost certainly will mean experimentation, creativity, and modeling the open behavior that they want to encourage.”  or continuous transformation & innovation as I said in an earlier post!

I hope this article makes you think as much as it did for me!  Good luck, may the future be yours!  Can’t wait to hear if this piece sparks some ideas.