Summary of 2020 Tech Trends Report

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2020 Tech Trends Report summary

Editorial Rating

8

Qualities

  • Comprehensive
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples

Recommendation

Leaders in politics, innovation and business pay more attention to the future than ever before. Fast-moving technological advances generate so much disruption that building strategy can be difficult. With the Future Today Institute’s 2020 Tech Trends Report, leaders can make more sound decisions about how to invest, grow their business and support their teams. The “quantitative futurists” at FTI cover a broad scope and design their insights for laypeople. Recurring themes are big tech’s expansion into the public sector, data ownership and better regulations in what is increasingly a surveillance state. The FTI’s report can help leaders in business, the sciences and policy making build the future, today.

About the Author

Amy Webb is professor of strategic foresight at the NYU Stern School of Business. She is a quantitative futurist, founder of the Future Today Institute and author of The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream and The Big Nine: How The Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity. Marc Palatucci is a senior foresight analyst and associate with the Future Today Institute. He specializes in technology, culture and business.

Summary

To capitalize on the future, leaders need to know what it might hold.

The 2020s will witness extraordinary change, as expanding technology creeps into every facet of life. Leaders can optimize opportunities while mitigating catastrophes.

Trends ideally obey the following “laws”:

  1. Basic human needs drive trends.
  2. Trends are timely, but persist.
  3. The convergence of weak signals over time makes trends.
  4. Trends evolve as they emerge.

Much of the “technological ecosystem” is still under construction, so strategic trends remain murky. Future trend drivers include demographics, economies, politics and social movements.

Eleven “macro sources of disruption” exist, with technology as the “connective tissue”: 1) wealth distribution, 2) education, 3) infrastructure, 4) government, 5) geopolitics, 6) economy, 7) public health, 8) demographics, 9) environment, 10) media and telecommunications, and 11) technology.

These disruptions remain outside a leader’s control. Companies should think exponentially but act incrementally. Start with tactical planning (one to two years) and expand into strategic planning (two to five ...


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