Feb 28, 2018


Executive Summary

The purpose of this strategic intelligence brief is to raise awareness about the intersecting mega-trends that are shaping the 21st century. It demonstrates the value of using the global knowledge-mobilization nexus to understand the magnitude of these transformational forces.

In today’s complex world, organizational performance and strategic agility in both the public and private sector remain contingent on an in-depth knowledge of global trends and their complex interaction.

Amidst this complexity three intersecting mega-trends stand out:  

  1. Concurrent geopolitical shifts around the world are challenging core assumptions about international power relations and the traditional understanding of governance systems. Furthermore, these historic realignments are changing in ways that exceed the predictive power of conventional risk management and forecasting methods.
  2. Capital investments in long-distance communication and transportation infrastructures, now estimated to be greater than military expenditures, are enhancing global mobility and inter-connectedness. Global mobility infrastructures extend their strategic reach by integrating assets and ideas from diverse knowledge sources and by learning to create new economic and social value without central direction.
  3. The third mega-trend is intensive urbanization. While rapid urbanization (including the formation of megacities) is redefining the contours of the global knowledge economy, it also constitutes a profound governance challenge for fiscally-challenged mayors facing the demands of infrastructure integrity, human security, and environmental sustainability.

An intensification of these mega-trends in the coming decades will challenge private and public leaders to become more adept at agile decision-making with less-than perfect knowledge. Consequently, there will be a premium on integrated frameworks that facilitate a better understanding of these converging mega-trends and which enable the early identification of new sources of social and economic value.

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