20 December 2010

Vodafone foresight on the world in 2020

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Future Agenda
Vodafone has launched its new futureagenda website that presents the results of a 12 month insight and foresight programme on the world in 2020.

The project, which was presented last week in Istanbul, Turkey (and only got covered, it seems, by the Turkish press), also includes a book and downloadable pdf (315 pages).

The Future Agenda programme brought together informed people from around the world to analyse the crucial themes of the next ten years. Fifty workshops in twenty-five locations took place and resulted in a unique view of the next ten years. The website reports on the key conclusions.

In the opening section, Vodafone details what it sees as the four macro-scale certainties for the next decade – the things that, unless there is an unexpected, massive and fundamental global shift, will most definitely occur and so are the certitudes upon which everything else is built. These certainties are 1) a continued imbalance in population growth, 2) more key resource constraints, 3) an accelerating eastward shift of economic power to Asia, and 4) pervasive global connectivity.

The second section explores some of the key insights gained into how the world and our lives will probably change over the next decade. These are the key changes that will occur in many different areas, some influenced by just one of the four certainties, others by two or more. These changes are detailed by providing both the signals from today that give evidence to support the direction of change and the future implications over the next ten years. They are grouped into six clusters – health, wealth, happiness, mobility, security and locality – which seem to encompass all the issues highlighted. Each change that is depicted in this section is variously linked to a number of others.

The Future Agenda team invited students of the the Innovation Design Engineering Department (IDE) of the Royal College of Arts to create some solutions to the challenges we face. IDE focuses on using cutting edge product design experimentation and systems thinking to tackle important real world issues with advanced technical design (and) within social parameters. Short videos show the results of this RCA project.

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