Are You Ready For The Future?

It’s impossible to predict the future because what comes next depends on so many unknown and unknowable variables. But from experience we can guess it will be different from the present or the past.

Globalisation rules

In recent decades a significant level of economic growth has come from globalisation, as wealth rose in many parts of the world. Prosperity grew over the years as money generated in one country flowed across borders to increase standards of living in others. Developed nations were seen as models of success for emerging ones as strategies concentrated on maximising financial return, albeit with little concern for the environment. In such a landscape it was relatively easy to predict the future, as models of best practice were taken from one country and used in another. And there was a largely shared view among governments and commentators that globalisation was the best way forward.

In more recent years, however, globalisation has attracted a slew of critics and fallen out of favour, as a rise in populism and a return to the primacy of the nation state gains favour. Globalisation did provide a model of economic development and job creation that enabled rich countries to get richer and poorer countries to lift millions of people out of poverty. But it also triggered its own destruction as accelerating consumption levels threatened the livelihoods of countless people and the sustainability of nations. Put simply, the planet cannot support the scramble for raw materials that a globalisation strategy depends on to succeed. And so the era of chasing mindless growth is coming to an end and none too soon as resources stretch to the point of exhaustion.

Technology rules

In the future the drive of globalisation will be replaced by the drive of technology, which given its disruptive nature lessens our ability to predict what will happen next. Not least because it requires new thinking and new ways of doing things that change any version of what we consider normal. Today’s technology-driven digital economy guarantees tomorrow will be very different from yesterday and therefore difficult to predict. 

New ideas and new technologies will come from the minds of entrepreneurs as they offer different ways to think about and solve previously unsolvable problems. Entrepreneurs have already used their skills to change the face of computing and are now applying their energies to reorder every aspect of the economy. As a result, the only reasonable prediction about the future lies in the knowledge that it will be a surprise, as it is shaped by the creativity of people from every corner of every country in the world.

So, the future is already here and it presents a whole new set of challenges and opportunities unlike anything previously experienced.