Our Future World: Global megatrends that will change the way we live

This report describes the outcomes from a CSIRO global foresight project. It presents six megatrends that will redefine how the world’s people live.

  • 23 April 2010 | Updated 25 March 2014


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 six interrelated megatrends identified in the report are:

  1. More from less. The earth has limited supplies of natural mineral, energy, water and food resources essential for human survival and maintaining lifestyles.
  2. Going, going ... gone? Many of the world's natural habitats, plant species and animal species are in decline or at risk of extinction.
  3. The silk highway. Coming decades will see the world economy shift from west to east and north to south.
  4. Forever young. The ageing population is an asset. Australia and many other countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have an ageing population.
  5. Virtually here. This megatrend explores what might happen in a world of increased connectivity where individuals, communities, governments and businesses are immersed into the virtual world to a much greater extent than ever before.
  6. Great expectations. This is a consumer, societal, demographic and cultural megatrend.It explores the rising demand demand for experiences over products and the rising importance of social relationships.
Diagram showing six megatrends -1 More from less, 2 Going, going, ... gone?, 3 The silk highway, 4 Forever young, 5 Virtually here, 6 Great expectations - with interlinked coloured circles.

The six megatrends are shown using an interlinked venn diagram.

Download the report

This report is designed to inform a wide range of strategic science planning activities within CSIRO.

We hope that after consultation with key experts and stakeholders, this material will help inform Australian industry, government and community decisions. 

We welcome comment and input from experts and stakeholders to this work in progress.

To download a copy of Our future world: Global megatrends that will change the way we live (2012 update).

Author availability

If you would like one of the authors to present the report at a conference or strategy session for your organisation please contact Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, on +61 7 3833 5540 or Stefan.Hajkowicz@csiro.au.

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