Introduction (trends)

Some global trends (keep in mind the comments made earlier about differentiation between trends and fads) that will impact on Australian organisations include

(*Refers to the megatrends that impact on the others, ie demographic changes via ageing population impacts on the war of talent, the need for more flexible workforce, increasing focus on work/life balance, sea change as retiring "baby-boomers" move to the sea-side, outsourcing, etc.)

- *globalisation

"...features 4 unprecedented trends: (1) movement of capital and other market instruments around the globe, with huge amounts speculating instantaneously each day; (2) the movement of human beings across borders; we will have more than 100 million immigrants scattered around the world at any time; (3) the movement of all matter of information through cyberspace, with megabytes of information of varying degrees of reliability available to anyone with access to a computer; (4) the movement of popular culture - such as stylish clothing, food, and melodies - readily, even seamlessly, across borders..."

Howard Gardner, 2006a


" the world economy grows more competitive, it will become even more difficult for people without skills to keep up. Billions of people are now entering the global workforce. A recent study by Goldman Sachs suggested that 70 million people are joining the new global middle class every year. These people are talented, they are confident, and they are increasingly well educated..."

Rupert Murdoch, 2008

A negative extreme impact of globalization is "stateless terrorism"

Globalization has resulted in a world economy of multinational organisations, ie

"...there were 7,258 multinational companies in 1969. In 2000, the number had increased to more than 63,000 and the multinationals account for 80 percent of the world's industrial production......most multinationals are not big. Rather, they are mostly small to medium-sized enterprises......only a fraction of multinationals are manufacturers. Banks are the largest single group, followed by insurance service institutions.......wholesale distributors (especially pharmaceuticals) and retailers..."

Peter Drucker, 2006a

One of the benefits of globalisation is that it has significantly increased returns on innovation by allowing faster rollouts of innovative products and services to customers worldwide.

Globalisation means skilled labour migration and shortage; global outsourcing; low-value work, such as, manufacturing, moving to cheaper labour regions; impact of the Internet; "free trade" vs trade blocks like EU, the Latin American EU (MERCUSOR), etc; how to handle the uneven distribution of the benefits of globalisation, ie Peter Senge et al (2005) estimates that only 18% of the world's population is receiving 85% of the benefits from globalisation and has created

"...A global culture of instant communications, individualism and material acquisition that threatens traditional family, religious and social structures..."

Peter Senge et al, 2005

Furthermore, globalization has allowed Western organisations to get paid for thinking, organizing and leveraging their know-how and ideas, while subcontracting factories in developing countries to produce the goods. This loss of manufacturing income in the Western world has been more than compensated by the higher pay-off from ideas generation.

Globalisation increases outsourcing, offshoring & competition. They are cost-saving & productivity tasks best done on non-core, lower-cost, lower-skilled jobs like those in back-office (call centres, information processing, accounting, legal work, etc). It is cheaper to do these in messages!!! An outside country, eg in Philippines, it is worth more than $13 b & employs 0.75 m people; Australian firms like Suncorp, ANZ & Westpac have 8.25%, 7.45% & 6.05% of all employees off-shore; cheaper global telecommunications has encouraged this trend. Some risks/threats include supply-chain control, cross-cultural challenges, human rights issues & automation with cloud & digital, ie computers replacing people

- *changing myths (under threat is western domination as demonstrated by the financial crisis that started in the USA in 2008 and by stories or myths that form the basis of western culture, such as humans are masters of their own destinies, natural world is there for our consumption/manipulation, growth is necessary, that there is virtue in reductionist science, redemptive religion, short-term self-interest, a materialistic/technological approach, Anglo-Saxon/Christian dominance, hero leadership, etc; and with the emergence of China and India, and to a lesser extent Brazil and Russia; increasing inaccuracy of stereotyped and caricatured images)


"...China, in little more than 30 years, has gone from an almost closed impoverished society to becoming the second, and shortly the largest economy in the world..."

Malcolm Turnbull, 2013

With the growth of China, there is a need to understand where it is heading, ie

"...As Xi strives to consolidate political control and restore the Communist Party's legitimacy, he must also find ways to stir growth in China's economy. Broadly speaking, objectives include transforming China from the world's manufacturing centre to its innovation hub, rebalancing the Chinese economy by prioritising consumption over investment and expanding the space for private enterprise. Xi's plans include both institutional and policy reforms. He slated the tax system...... local revenue will come from a broad range of taxes, instead of primarily from land sales, which led to corruption and social unrest. In addition, the Central government, which traditionally has received roughly half the national tax revenue while paying for just one third of the expenditures for social welfare, will increase the funding it provides for social services, relieving some of the burden on local governments. Sources of additional policy initiatives are also in trial phases, including encouraging private investment in state owned enterprises and lowering the compensation of their executives, establishing private banks to direct capital to small and medium-sized businesses, and shorten the length of time it takes the new businesses to secure administrative approvals.

Yet as the details of Xi's economic plan unfold, it has become clear that despite his emphasis on free market, the state will retain control over much of the economy. Reforming the way in which state owned enterprises are governed will not undermine the dominance of the Communist Party in these companies' decision-making; Xi has kept in place significant barriers to foreign investment and even as the government pledges a shift away from investment led growth, its stimulus efforts continue, contributing to growing levels of local debt.. The increase in the value of outstanding non-performing loans in the first six months of 2014 exceeded the value of new non-performing loans for all of 2013...just three of Xi's policy initiative successes: reducing the time it takes to register new businesses, allowing multinational corporations to use Chinese currency to expand their businesses and reforming the hukou...Xi's efforts to transform politics and economics at home have been matched by an equally dramatic move to establish China as a global power...For Xi, all roads lead to Beijing. He has revived the ancient concept of the Silk Road - which connected the Chinese Empire to Central Asia, the Middle East and even Europe - by proposing a vast network of railways, pipelines, highways and canals to follow the old route...Also he is consider building a roughly 8100-mile high-speed intercontinental railroad that would connect China to Canada, Russia and the United States through the Bering Straits.....establishing new institutions to support China's position as a regional and global leader. He has helped create a new development bank, operated by BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - to challenge the primacy of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. And he has advanced the establishment of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which could enable China to become the leading financier of regional development. These two signal Xi's desire to capitalise on the frustrations with the United States' unwillingness to make international economic organisations more representative of developing countries......also promote new regional security initiatives. In addition to the already existing Shanghai Cooperative Organisation, a Chinese led Security Institute has included Russia and four Central Asian states. Xi wants to build a new Asian-Pacific security structure that would exclude the United States..."

Elizabeth Economy, 2014


"...The convergence of developing countries with the developed world, supercharged by the internet's annihilation of geography, has meant more and more industries and jobs in high-waged-developed countries such as Australia are subject to competition from countries that are invariably lower wage but less often lowered skilled..."

Malcolm Turnbull, 2013

- *urbanisation (in 1820, just 5% of the American population lived in urban areas; about 1/3 of the world's population was urbanized in 1950; in 2004 it was around 45% - in OECD countries, around 80%; in 2020 it is estimated that around 60% for the world's population will live in urban areas)

- *demographic changes (in many industralised countries there is an ageing population; falling birth rate; more women in the workforce as professionals; changing social expectations; low to zero population growth; enormous migration of people, especially in Europe; more adult children staying at home.For example, in Australia, over 25% of the population will be over 65 in 2011; in 2008 the percentage of Australians aged 25 to 29 still living at home has doubled since the late 1980s to 20%. People in western nations are living longer with fewer major health problems; they are more physically robust throughout their lives, making them more productive and fuelling unprecedented affluence across all levels of society. Furthermore, more adults are returning to study; there are increasingly flexible work situations (see below); and there are fewer examples of life-time employment in one industry or organisation; an increasing number of single person households in western society, eg in USA in 2003 it was the most common living arrangement.

On the demographic front in Australia, the 55 to 64 age group is the fastest-growing ten-year age group (Lyndall Crisp, 2007a); some of their characteristics:

- more discretionary income per person than any other age group

- more spent per person on discretionary goods and services than any other group

- hold more wealth than any other group

- this cohert feels that its needs are least understood, and communicated, by consumer marketing organisations

- the proportion of all households headed by a person aged 55 and over will grow from 35 percent in 2004 to 43 percent in 2020

- people aged 45 to 64 years, who make up 1/4 of the population, hold half the nation's total household wealth

- each baby boomer has an average accumulated net wealth of $381,000 (compared with the average net wealth of $292,500 of all Australians), mostly stored in housing

- 4 out of 5 baby boomers own a house

- almost three-quarters of the people in the 45 to 64 age group carry a combined total of about $150 billion in debt (an average of $59,000 per household.)

In fact, in the Western world

"...People are marrying later, having kids later, moving out of home later and retiring later......actually, people don't retire these days, they just evolve their career to focus on more personally rewarding interests..."

Simon Rich as quoted by Neil Shoebridge, 2008a

(NB In the developing world and amongst Indigenous Australians, the demographics are the reverse of those of the industrial world, ie higher proportion of young people, increasing birth rate, die younger, more health issues, etc)

The rise of Asia, ie Asian share of global gross domestic product in the last 3 decades has increased significantly despite the "Asian Crisis (1997-98)" and GFC (starting 2007), ie 7.5% (1980), 10.5% (1990), 14.5% (2000) & 26% (2013) (Homi Kharas, 2013)

- *'technophysio evolution' has changed the way we spend our money and time (people in developed countries spend less and less of their income on pure survival, ie buying life essentials comprises less than 1/3 of American incomes, compared with more than 80% two centuries ago; increased leisure time with ordinary people able to enjoy activities once only the rich could afford, such as in USA, around 60% of the population owns a car, around 80% have a VCR or DVD player; control over people's time is becoming as important as their wages)

"...if you measure it in hours, 160 hours of labour per year will buy all the food that a typical household needs. If you put food and clothing into the mix, you're into 320 hours but we're working about 1,700 hours. So the rest of what we're working for is to buy services, including a lot of leisure services, but also including health care and education. In 1880 men had an average of 1.8 hours a day for leisure activities, they had 5.8 hours a day in 1995 and will have 7.2 hours per day by 2040..."

Robert Fogel as quoted by Luke Collins, 2005a

Furthermore, some examples of technological change are having a disturbing impact on society

i) increased TV watching

"...40 percent of American 2-year-olds watch TV for at least three hours a day - hours that are spent not interacting with people who can help them learn to get along better. The more TV they watch, the more unruly they are by school-age..."

Daniel Goleman, 2007

More recently (Brad Howarth, 2008) people are spending more time on-line than watching TV

ii) social isolation with minimal face-to-face personal interaction as shown by constant digital connectivity, eg the use of the iPod, Walkman, mobile phones, Internet (emails, web, etc), TV screens, Playstations, etc.. On the other hand, there is a trend towards herding with people looking beyond their home to connect with other people of similar interests, eg bookclubs, choirs, charity groups, etc. This gives people a sense of belonging and a connection to like-minded people. Furthermore, the Internet is encouraging the herding trend with the creation of on-line communities.

- *technology change - its pace and applications -(increasing rate of technological change, including the Internet, digitalization, e-marketing, etc; convergence and boundary-less nature of technology applications across traditionally different industries, eg IT/telecommunications/ media; this is linked with the growth of home entertainment in the developed world; the different uses and uptakes of technology by gender, different cultures, etc need to be understood: for example, American women are early adopters of wireless and mobile technology, and a majority of Americans (68%) use the Internet for religious purposes. In 2008, the Internet accounted for about 20% of Australia's media consumption; with people in their 20s it is now around 50%. People under 30 have been brought up on the Internet, ie

"...Technology allows them to make connections, have fun and find the entertainment and information they need to elevate their status among their peers. Technology also allows them to control their environment and to access the content they desire. It gives them the ability to find like-minded people, on sites, such as Facebook, for example, and form niche communities..."

Dion Appel as quoted by Neil Shoebridge, 2008a

Social networking tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc plus wikis, blogs, etc are changing the way people, organisations, communities, etc communicate. It allows data collection and communication to be fast and cost-effective way. For example, surveys can be posted online to produce a quick assessment of the reactions of the customers/community to a proposal/product and/or service, etc

It is worth remembering Moore's Law that states that technology knowledge is doubling every 18 months, which is illustrated by this quote:

"...more business traded worldwide in a single day than we did in 1974......more phone calls worldwide in a single day than in all of 1984......more Emails in a single minute than in 1994..."

Craig Rispen, 2006


An example of the impact of technology on lifestyle is shown by what children can do, ie simultaneously do their homework, listen to music and send instant messages!!!!

NB Even groups that lack technological innovation can simply copy them from others that have developed them.

Increasing proportion of education will come from simulation or other virtual reality.


"...The rate of change over the past 20 years has been unstoppable"... Governments have lost power, the media has lost power, brands have lost power: power has finally come to the people" All you need now is one piece of material from Cupertine (Californian home of Apple) and YouTube and you have got a worldwide audience..."

Kevin Roberts, Saatchi and Saatchi as quoted in Dominic White, 2013

"...In 1963, you need permission from newspapers, radio stations and TV channels to reach an audience. Not any more..."

Dominic White, 2013

- *increasing commoditisation (eg, competence, ie competitors can become as competent as you; information, ie computers and the Internet have widened the audience for information; state-of-art-technology, ie technology can be bought, commissioned and surpassed). On the other hand, there is a counter trend for authenticity, ie hunger for something real, such as truth, beauty, freedom.

"...commodities should have natural authenticity; goods should have original authenticity; services should have exceptional authenticity; experiences should have referential authenticity and transformation should have influential authenticity..."

James H Gilmore et al, 2008

- *sustainable development (by definition is performing things in a more efficient and effective way so that these actions have minimal negative impact on society and environment; it involves merging concerns with corporate responsibility, especially on environmental issues, such as climate change including global warming (risks to be managed include regulatory, supply chain, product & technology, litigation, reputation, etc), use of renewable/non-renewable sources of energy and resources, such as water (includes oceans), air, land, etc, biodiversity, etc; more and more people want to support a product/brand/service/firm that supports a good cause, such as sustainability of the environment; increasing price of fossil fuels. Furthermore, the challenge is to make capitalism itself sustainable)

Linked with sustainable development is handling pollution. An example is the impact of plastic rubbish on the blue economy (oceans)
"...oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface and contain 97% of our water. Our oceans are inextricably linked to our land......we know more about the surface of the moon that we do about the floors of our oceans. In our society, environment and economy are undeniably linked to our oceans......the ocean is vital to the world's economy, more than 90% of trade uses sea routes. More than 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated to be US $ 3 trillion per year or about 5 percent of global GDP..."
Adrian Turner 2019.0

One of the greatest risk to the oceans is the plastic rubbish floating in it, ie
"...plastic rubbish will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050..."
World Economic Forum as quoted by Adrian Turner 2019

- *knowledge worker (by definition, knowledge is very specialised; one of the challenges of management is to integrate knowledge workers into a productive team, as most knowledge workers are soloists who desire to stay as specialists rather than become managers; knowledge is the basis for power; declining tenure and loyalty to organisations resulting in more "free agents" staff with the balance of power swinging away from large organisations)

- *information age (is linked with communicative abundance (John Keane, 2009); the new galaxy of communication media, such as Internet, tweets, iPhones, etc, is impacting on democracy. Technology has allowed everyone direct access to most of the information in the world so people power will grow as it becomes increasingly difficult for governments, etc to hide and/or control information from the general public; the challenge is to make productive use of information)

" an information economy, startup costs and fixed costs are so low that competitors can spring up anywhere there's an opportunity. Online banking, brokerages, and others take billions of dollars of revenue from once almighty firms. It's a similar story in online media, as the former kings of TV, radio, music, and publishing try to figure out where their advantage lies. Their vast infrastructure of transmitters and printing presses matters less every day. Today's source of advantage is above all a good idea......In today's economy, a big idea is worth more than a big market share..."

Geoff Colvin, 2007

Throughout history, communication modes have structured people's sense of time and space, and power relationships, ie who is able to control cultures, etc. The first phase of democracy in Athens was dependent upon oral communications, ie the spoken word; this was supplemented by laws written on papyrus or stone. Following this was the age of representative democracy which was linked with the printing press. The last two centuries of this saw the emergence of people power, ie universal suffrage, abolition of slavery, the vote for women, etc.

"...this was the era of the pamphlet, the novel, the first daily newspaper, telegraph messages, letters, postal systems, which all enabled the development of mass publicity and, within the framework of states, the development of "publics" and the widening of the struggle to question power..."

John Keane, 2009

"...democracy is the greatest philosophical success of modern times. There were no full democracies anywhere in 1799. Throughout the 19th century, more than a third of the world's population lived in countries ruled by imperial powers and almost everyone was governed by despots. The first wave of modern democracies was crushed by the malignant popularist in the 1930s. The great flourishing came in the second half of the 20th century. Today, every second person lives in a democracy..."
Phil Collins, 2017

Currently communications is no longer housed within a territorial state.

"...where print culture was important for developing systems of national identity and self-government, the new digital galaxy enables global publics. This idea of global public - a global interest in climate change, for example - has come about because the way we now communicate is networked and immediate. This shift directly changes the concept of democracy. How do we as global cultures continue to scrutinize power......and catch out global wrongdoing..."

John Keane, 2009

We still need to safeguard the basic principle that the means of communication should not be controlled by government nor commercial/private interests.

- *rise in fundamentalism around the world (mostly linked with religion; a backlash against trends like globalization and westernisation, impact of technological changes, etc; aims to preserve the status quo; linked with spiritual awareness)

- *security (increased terrorist activity resulting in military, emergency services, etc changing focus; concerns about security of data, information and knowledge)

- *role of State (centralise vs. decentralise decision-making, public vs. private allocation; greater transparency of decision-making owing to technology like Internet; increasing role of governmental via rules and regulations)

- increasing competition for talent (an increasing demand for talent coupled with a decreasing supply, as shown by the current shortage of skilled labour. The crisis starting in late 2008 has slowed down the "war on talent")

- more outsourcing (see globalisation above)

- changing nature of work itself with an increasingly flexible workforce (more self-employment/part-time workers, ie about 30% of the Australian work population is part-time, or contingent worker, and the majority is women. In the future it is expected that around 50% of those employed will be contract/casual/part-time workers, including those working from home; a move away from "knowledge and skill" to "attributes and competencies")

- employees' preference for "employer of choice" involves an organisation valuing its people (more than just financially), providing career opportunities, and having engaging and interesting work. It has

"...leading culture and best practices that attract, optimize and hold talent and achieve stated objectives..."

Jason Cartwright, 2004

- work/life balance (prioritising and allocating time for different activities, such as work, family, interests, hobbies, health, wellness, etc; more of a focus on happiness than material wealth)

"...repeated behaviour, three times a week for a month to change a habit. No matter what your schedule, or your personality, structure is absolutely non-negotiable......devoting time to wellness habits should be treated with as much respect as professional engagements..."

Mark McKeon as quoted by Helen Hawkes, 2015

"...changing old habits takes right planning, being true to your core beliefs and perseverance..."

Helen Hawkes, 2015

Linked with wellness is the physical environment of the office (Helen Hawkes, 2015b). Working in a toxic office is not good for your health. Conditions created poor air quality, poor building design, etc can have a detrimental effect on your health and wellness.

Symptoms of poor quality air are dizziness, nausea, discomfort (in eyes, nose and throat), itchy skin, fatigue and inability to concentrate.

Poor quality air is not helped with the pollutants like formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (benzene and trichloroethylene), airborne biological pollutants, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, pesticides, disinfectants (phenols), etc

Essential equipment should provide ergonomic benefits to improve musculo-skeletal outcomes like
- document holders
- rests for wrists and feet,
- desks with adjustable heights to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury
- chairs which provide support for your back
- anti-glare filters on digital devices to reduce eyestrain, headaches and neck pain
- isolate printers as the toners emit volatile organic compounds

Also important are
- adequate ventilation, ie well maintained air-conditioning systems that remove carbon dioxide and other pollutants
- taking regular breaks every 30 minutes, ie the brain needs a rest; taking a short walk outdoors is beneficial. Activities like remedial massages, pilates, yoga, etc can help keep your spine in good order while building strong core muscles and increased energy reserves
- certain plants like peace lilies and rubber plants absorb pollutants and provide fresh air and humidity that makes us healthier
- phones and desks carry many thousands of germs per square centimetre, ie they harbour several hundred times more bacteria than the typical toilet seat!!!!!
The jury is still out on the impacts of electromagnetic radiation from computers
These are all additional to office politics which can be the most toxic of all on our health and well-being

- increasing competition for the consumer's money (retailers are now competing with entertainment - including sports activity - leisure, lifestyle items, etc; plus shifting interests and behaviours of consumers, such as NEOs (new economic order) who are

" thinkers and early adopters who value good design and quality, and hunger for peak experience - are exerting more spending power as the low-spending traditionalists fade. NEOs span the demographic groups, have the means, but will only buy if the message is crafted right..."

Narrelle Hooper, 2007a

- handling diversity, (discrimination against mature-age workers, Indigenous Australians, those who use English as a second language, females returning to work post-family, etc)

- continued focus on governance (probity & diligence, such as more intensive reference checking plus police checks and media searches; handling conflict of interest; accountability and responsibility for action and words)

- increasing importance of developing countries' economic miracles, such as in China and India plus Russia and Brazil

- more generational conflict in the workplace (with 3 generations in the workforce at once, ie baby boomers, generation Xs and Ys)

- more focus on corporate social responsibility (see sustainable development)

- sea-change role and the "Big Shift" (an extra 1 million Australians moving to the coast in the next 6 years)

- ICT (mobile phone and Internet are changing the way we communicate (Jenna Wortham et al, 2010). For example, most households in the developed countries use mobile phones rather than landlines. Additionally, text messages are now used more than voice on mobile phones. In addition to allowing social networking, the Internet has increased communication via VOIP (Skype, etc)

- Cashless society (Electronic payments are replacing cash, eg in the USA & China, electronic payments are over 60% of all payments (Patrick Jenkins 2018). One of the disadvantages of electronic payments is the data trail compared with the invisibility of cash. People who prefer cash are usually involved in hoarding and/or crime and/or tax evasion!!! The big disadvantage of electronic payments is its vulnerability to cyber attacks (hacking, etc) and infrastructure malfunctions, (power blackouts, etc).

The Covid-19 pandemic is discouraging people using cash as the notes could be a way of transferring the virus.)

Remember: to understand the future, you need to appreciate and understand the past

There are 2 types of futurologists: those who attempt to predict the future and those who attempt to create the future!!!!!


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