1. Drivers, Trends, and Mega-Trends

1. Drivers, Trends, and Mega-Trends

Slide

1 Minute Futures Method Series – Episode 1

These episodes are to encourage designers to learn about a range of Futures Methods to enable them to include Futures in their design practice.


This first episode is to introduce concepts of Drivers, Trends, and Mega-trends. These are essential components of Futures Thinking as they have a strong influence on the type of plausible Future being explored; Possible, Probable, and Preferable. Drivers and trends are useful in explorative forecasting scenarios.

There are 2 approaches to generating Future scenarios; Explorative and Normative. Explorative forecasting explores what is possible regardless of what future is desirable. Normative can be considered the other side of forecasting, where a desired future is defined by asking ‘what future do we want?’.

If we start by examining the Futures Cone we can connect trends and drivers to explore plausible Futures. Carefully selected trends and drivers make them a powerful and an enlightening tool in Futures Thinking.

Unlikely drivers or trends will create unlikely Futures.

Drivers can be interpreted as behaviours that aren’t measurable but have an impact and are forces of change. They include changes in values, behaviours, and new players (i.e. services or businesses). Drivers are causes or reasons of developments. A Driver example could be the growing awareness of sustainability issues and choices we make having an environmental impact.

Trends are measurable, based on fact and observable; indicating clear and steady changes. Trends are characteristics of developments. A Trend example could be increasingly improving renewable energy options for individuals.

Mega-trends are a shift in behaviour or attitude resulting from several trends coming together. Mega-trends should still be relevant in 10 years or more, multinational, and cross multiple industries. A Mega-Trend example could be increasing numbers of communities around the world adopting eco-friendly living. This is enabled by multiple local and global industries enabling this demand.

View Episode 2 – Driver Mapping

Transcript

Drivers, Trends, and Mega-trends are essential components of Futures Thinking. They have a strong influence on the type of plausible Future being explored; Possible, Probable, and Preferable. Drivers and trends are useful in explorative forecasting scenarios.
We can connect trends and drivers to explore plausible Futures. Carefully selected trends and drivers make them an enlightening tool in Futures Thinking.
Drivers can be interpreted as behaviours that aren’t measurable but are forces of change. They include changes in values and behaviours. Drivers are causes or reasons for developments.
Trends are measurable, and based on fact; indicating clear and steady change. Trends are characteristics of developments.
Mega-trends are developments resulting from several trends coming together. Mega-trends should still be relevant in 10 years or more, multinational, and cross multiple industries.
Combined, trend analysis forms a powerful tool for scenario creation.

References

Rafael Popper, Thomas Teichler, 2011, 1st EFP Mapping Report: Practical Guide to Mapping Forward-Looking Activities (FLA) Practices, Players and Outcomes 
2017. The Importance of Megatrend Analysis. Euromonitor International: Euromonitor Research. https://blog.euromonitor.com/video/the-importance-of-megatrend-analysis/
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, https://www.oecd.org, Accessed (19 October 2019)

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