It is said that underpinning all movies in history there are ultimately only 36 formulae to tell a story, be they arthouse productions or action-packed blockbusters. In the same vein, as we were researching on our book, Understanding How the Future Unfolds: Using DRIVE to Harness the Power of Today’s Megatrends, we investigated some of the megatrends that are potentially fundamental in many events and issues currently observed in the world – much like the underlying narratives that serve as the backbones of movies. Naturally, the economic, business and social environments are extremely complex – so much so that it would be impossible to know how everything in the world works.

We have identified five specific megatrends that can help us make more sense of what is happening around us in the world, and where it is potentially heading.

Demographic & Social Changes

If there is one prediction of the future that is certain, it is the fact that the world’s population is aging. Both developed and developing countries are experiencing aging populations, leading to shrinking populations of young people. Projections show that the majority of people in developed countries will be over 40 years old by 2030 – over 52 in Japan. While China has a younger population (averaging 35.4) today than the United States (37.4), by 2030 these averages will be 42.1 and 39.5 – China’s aging population is ‘catching up’ with the developed world.

Clusters around 14 cities of India will be able to access 40 per cent of the Indian market by 2030.

The two major implications for urbanisation are the boost in consumption resulting from the higher populations.

Resource Scarcity

The growth of consuming populations and their concentration into certain areas creates a greater reliance on available resources, and resource scarcity is the second aspect that the DRIVE framework predicts for expanding urban areas.

Our mobility, food and building systems also have deeply ingrained wasting habits.

lowering waste creation while allowing existing waste to be remanufactured and repurposed.


The gap between rich and poor in countries like the United States is growing rapidly, where the top 1 per cent earn 19 per cent of its total income. In fact, the top 0.1 per cent hold almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 per cent. China, meanwhile, ranks very low in terms of the world’s richest countries, yet has the second highest number of billionaires in the world, the richest 10 per cent controlling a greater share of wealth than in the US.

Productivity and GDP have continued to grow worldwide, while job prospects and income have faltered.

It is likely that most of the new capital created will come from China,

Volatility, Scale & Complexity

The business world is changing from the activities of the preceding 200 years – beginning with the Industrial Revolution, before which GDPs hardly changed – that are largely responsible for today’s global wealth. IT has increased this growth in the last three decades, now that all parts of the world can reach each other in seconds. This leads to the fourth DRIVE aspect – Volatility, Scale and Complexity.

Productivity and GDP have continued to grow worldwide, while job prospects and income have faltered.

These new dynamics create a new globalisation of increased opportunities and unexpected volatility,

Enterprising Dynamics

Technologies are not just fundamentally changing the way we live; they are also reshaping businesses’ work. New models of doing business are emerging at breakneck speed. Despite its growing importance, China is often viewed as a country unable to innovate. Yet, in customer-focused and efficiency-driven innovations, it has been doing business at such levels of novelty that Western companies should take it as a reference.

The speed of change quickens its pace through the declining end of the company lifecycle.

By anticipating what could be coming, they can start thinking about what to do next. Being slicker today means getting to do new things quicker.

Some Companies That Have Worked With MegaTrends

About MegaTrends

Mark Esposito and Terence Tse are megatrend strategists. They coach executives to find new business opportunities and markets using the DRIVE framework.

This ‘dynamic duo’ also teaches, writes and speaks about the latest business, economic and social developments on a regular basis.

Dr. Mark Esposito

Mark Esposito teaches Business, Government & Society & Economic Strategy and Competitiveness for Harvard University's Division of Continuing Education and serves as Institutes Council Co-Leader, at the Microeconomics of Competitiveness program (MOC) at the Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness, at Harvard Business School.

Mark is a Professor of Business & Economics at Hult International Business School and a Fellow at the Judge Business School in the UK, as part of the Circular Economy Center. He equally holds an Adjunct Professorship at IE Business School.

Mark is the Co-Founder and President of Nexus FrontierTech, an AI Studio, dedicated to the productions of AI solutions. He is a prolific author and his articles can be found on ResearchGate and his books on Amazon. Mark consults in the area of Corporate Sustainability and Competitiveness worldwide, including Board of Directors, Communities and National Governments. He has advised the President of the European Parliament on the systemic nature of the EU crisis and serves as a global expert for the World Economic Forum.

Dr. Terence Tse

Terence is a co-founder and CFO of Nexus Frontier Tech, which customises artificial intelligence products for its clients to build up new capabilities to attain unfair business advantage. He is also a Professor of Finance at the London campus of ESCP Europe Business School.

Terence is the co-author of the best seller Understanding How the Future Unfolds: Using DRIVE to Harness the Power of Today's Megatrends. The framework contained therein was nominated for the CK Prahalad Breakthrough Idea Award by Thinkers50, the most prestigious award in business thought leadership. The DRIVE framework has also led Chartered Management Institute’s own magazine Professional Manager in the UK to name Terence as one of the 18 new voices in 2018 that reshape management and leadership. Talent Quarterly in the US called the DRIVE framework one of the 24 trends transforming talent management in the years to come.