Saturday, May 15, 2010

CSIRO Report on megatrends

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) recently published a report highly relevant to Australia’s future, entitled Our Future World: An analysis of global trends, shocks and scenarios.

This report describes the outcomes from a CSIRO global foresight project. It presents five megatrends and eight megashocks (global risks) that will redefine how the world’s people live.

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.
The five interrelated megatrends identified in the report are:

More from less. This relates to the world’s depleting natural resources and increasing demand for those resources through economic and population growth. Coming decades will see a focus on resource use efficiency. 

A personal touch. Growth of the services sector of western economies is being followed by a second wave of innovation aimed at tailoring and targeting services. 

Divergent demographics. The populations of OECD countries are ageing and experiencing lifestyle and diet related health problems. At the same time there are high fertility rates and problems of not enough food for millions in poor countries.

On the move. People are changing jobs and careers more often, moving house more often, commuting further to work and travelling around the world more often. 

i World. Everything in the natural world will have a digital counterpart. Computing power and memory storage are improving rapidly. Many more devices are getting connected to the internet.


A global risk, or 'megashock', is a significant and sudden event, the timing and magnitude of which are very hard to predict.  The report identified eight megashocks relevant to Australian science:

-  asset price collapse
-  slowing Chinese economy
-  oil and gas price spikes
-  extreme climate change related weather
-  pandemic
-  biodiversity loss
-  terrorism
-  nanotechnology risks.

Report and Feedback

The report may be downloaded from the CSIRO website here.  CSIRO states that it welcomes comment and input from experts and stakeholders in this work in progress. Contact details are given on the project webpage cited above.

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