#HPRW10: Megatrends and Megashocks

Stefan Hajkowicz presented the final keynote of the High Performance Research Workshop at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. Stefan is a principal research scientist who leads CSIRO’s Sustainable Regional Development (SRD) research theme.
Stefan’s talk looked at Megatrends and Megashocks. CSIRO published Our Future World: an analysis of global trends, shocks and scenarios in April 2010. The report noted that 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 report identifies five interrelated megatrends:

  • 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 ‘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 Australia:

  • Asset price collapse
  • Slowing Chinese economy
  • Oil and gas price spikes
  • Extreme climate change related weather
  • Pandemic
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Terrorism
  • Nanotechnology risks

Stephen points out that “Our megashocks are based on 36 global risks identified by the World Economic Forum in 2009, from which we have identified eight risks particularly important from an Australian science and technology perspective. These include oil and gas price spikes, pandemic influenza, biodiversity loss and extreme weather events related to climate change.”
I reference the report here and acknowledge CSIRO’s request that “if you would like to use the information in any presentations please reference the material appropriately and consistently as determined by a Creative Commons licence“.
Photo Credits
Surf Life Saving



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