3.2.9 Gather data and drivers

It is beneficial to develop an eye for the future, as it is never sudden and rarely unexpected. You can acquire a “view of the future”, develop a Future Thinking style and consciously watch out for signals that indicate trends. 

Signals are any development, idea or innovation that points to a future reality → can be found everywhere and are self-observable, especially in your own industry and environment.

If several signals can be combined or traced back to a single change, this is a trend.
Trends are a change that is observable and likely to continue over the next few years. → Examples of this in recent years are trends such as “multigraphy”, “hyper personalization” or “everything as a service”

Megatrends occur when several trends can be assigned to one another and belong together. They are trend changes that are observed globally and have a half-life of 20-30 years.

Use what’s already there

You don’t have to think about trends and megatrends yourself: Various organizations publish their findings on trends and megatrends with detailed documentation. The Zukunftsinstitut’s megatrend map(8), pictured below, is popular, but other institutions, governments or individual researchers and consultancy teams also publish their own selection.

Databases and other ressources

Trends and megatrends are a possible starting point, but for some people, they are not concrete enough.

If you want to incorporate data into scenarios (demographics, industry, resource quantities, etc.), it is worth taking a look at databases. Based on the previous data, scenarios can be predicted according to the 4 archetypes model (slide 12).

Here is a small collection of possible sources of information: