Thinking global, living local: Voices in a globalized world

Megatrends in Global Interaction

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Megatrend Study

Update: “Megatrends in Global Interaction” is now available. You can order a copy via the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

The team has published an extensive analysis on the interconnectedness of global megatrends. The book will soon be available under the title “Megatrends in Global Interaction”. The following text is taken from the foreword of the book.

Thinking about “our global future” is often a recipe for vertigo. Although the individual words are simple, the concept is larger and more complex than we as individuals first realize. This book sets out to help us understand how to shape our global future by examining the intersecting megatrends which will greatly impact our world.

Throughout its history, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has tackled a range of major global issues, albeit most commonly in isolation from one another. This elicited the question: Could we design a project that examines our global future through the dynamic interactions among megatrends rather than by looking at each trend individually? From that simple thought experiment, this multi-year project began as an earnest attempt to create a different prism through which tomorrow’s world could be viewed.

Megatrend Study

These are the ten megatrends that focusses on.

We selected six megatrends for analysis, each chosen through a process of prioritization. We do not portend that these megatrends are the only issues that matter, but we feel that each is particularly important in shaping our global future. One chapter is devoted to each megatrend, and each chapter’s author defines the current state of that megatrend and examines its potential interactions with other megatrends in the future. Thanks to the excellent work of Michael Mandelbaum, who wrote the introduction, and Nigel Holmes, who designed the infographics, we can review and reflect upon the interactions between megatrends from a macro level.

This book would not have been possible without the assistance of our partners. We wish to thank the Rockefeller Foundation for its generous support of the project even before it launched. Their advice has allowed us to think big in terms of the dissemination and distribution of the ideas presented here. We are also grateful to the Searchlight grantees, who have contributed ideas and perspectives from their regions around the world. We must, as this book shows, move beyond thinking locally if we are to co- operate and cohabitate on this planet, and develop a truly comprehensive view of the future.

Special thanks go to our own trans-Atlantic staff. The Future Challenges teams in Germany and Washington, DC, consistently overcame linguistic and time-zone issues. More often than not, they turned their differences into strengths.

This project took the efforts of many to create. We hope it enriches and engages you, and encourages you to think and act in ways that secure a better future.


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