Change, Challenge And Choice
This chapter looks at the key trends which are bringing widespread social, political and economic change.
The Economist Intelligence Unit published a research report in Spring 2006 which assessed the likely changes to the global economy, to eight major industries and to corporate structures over the next 15 years. More than 1,650 senior executives, analysts and policy makers from across the globe took part in a survey and a series of in-depth interviews conducted especially for this report. The report identified three trends which are producing important changes in our lives, and which are likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Under the heading of demographics, the report examined the consequences of ageing and the impact this will have on economies and companies. In particular, it highlighted the impact of an ageing workforce, and the difficulties we may have in funding pension schemes.
The report also stressed the importance of knowledge workers and the need for management attention to be on "the areas of business, from innovation to to customer service, where personal chemistry or creative insight matter more than rules and processes".
A third key trend identified in the Foresight 2020 report is globalisation. The globalisation trend is reflected in the rising volume and falling cost of traffic between countries around the world. "Traffic" in this context includes the movement of ideas, finance, people, products and services between organisations, communities and individuals.
The impact of these three key trends is increasing and can no longer be ignored. In this chapter we will review some of the possible consequences of these trends, the changes they will bring to our lives, the challenges we will be facing and the choices we will have to make.