To work out what's going to happen in the future, and to construct a meaningful strategy to prepare for it. it is key to consider what else will be happening. You can call these factors or trend drivers. Here at the The Future is already Here we like to think of these as the "water we will be swimming in". Through the years, they have been reduced to many acronyms. A strategist called Michael Porter famously called them PEST in 1979, that is:
Since then, others have played with this, expanded on it. Add Legal and rearrange the letters, and you have SLEPT. Add Environmental and you can get PESTLE. Add Ethics and Demographic factors and you get STEEPLED.
It is important to consider all of these when working out what is happening now, and what will happen in the future.
Here are some key considerations:
- Social: Stuffocation, and the switch from a culture based on materialism to one based on experientialism.
- Economic: The rise of the global middle classes
- Demographic: Nine billion? Will the world's population top out around mid-century at nine billion or will it continue to rise?
- Demographic: Urbanisation
- Demographic: Ageing population: people are living longer
- Demographic: Singles rising
- Environmental: Resource scarcity
- Political/Environmental: Water wars? Increasing population and wealth is creating more pressure on water tables. Water wars could well happen at a local, national and international level, between people, brands, and countries.
- Social: Increased expectations: we believe in progress, and expect things to get better. Will they?
- Demographic: Womenomics: the continuing move away from a physical world, where bigger muscles meant more power, in this century may well see women overtake men for the first time in history, in terms of economic and political power.
- Technological: the internet of things
- Technological: the rise of social media
- Economic/technological: the rise of the sharing economy