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Global trends

“We look at the present through a rearview mirror. We march backwards into the future.” Marshall McLuhan

To observe trends, it is crucial to understand that they are interlinked and connect to socioeconomic and cultural drivers influencing tomorrow’s government and business success stories.

‘What’s next’ in technology often focuses on the obvious: speed, size and cost – but we seem to forget that people are integral to shaping the future and the sociology of technology. At IQ Overseas Education we have investigated 4 key clusters of digital technology:

Smart – Social – Organic – Wellness.

These are the ‘ones to watch’ – impacting how we will live in the future.


The global brain: The Internet of Things is already here and, by 2020, over 30 billion devices will be connected. We see ‘deep learning’ inspired by artificial ‘neural networks’ and evolved ‘augmented reality’. This enables huge opportunities in all areas of life: politics, education, media, health, commerce and leisure. The Internet will soon be connected to everything including our brains – enabling fast and accurate decoding of multi-layered information.

As Big Data merges with ‘Social’ content, we see new strategic software and tools to predict behaviors and buying attitudes. Tracking real-time sentiments will enable brands to deliver better experiences. Currently data management and ‘social analytics’ mostly benefits organisations, but soon people will demand a share of their ‘data value’. This ‘Data Mining Boom’ is already influencing media, with the ‘Nate Silver effect’ now inspiring a whole genre of data-driven journalism to predict the future.


With a global growth of Crowdfunding Platforms are set to explode.

The US leads the trend, but crowdfunding is also flourishing across the Eurozone. We could see a radical change in the funding landscape for entrepreneurs and SMEs. Increasingly, people will want to own a share in the startups they buy from – being respected partners rather than just consumers.

People will migrate for career and life experiences to discover new cultures. The demand for affinity networks and familiar touch points that let us learn and share across conventional borders will grow. To deliver real value and engage with the true needs of the Global Citizen and tomorrow’s talent, agility, convergence and seamless services must be incorporated into each and every offering.


Mindful consuming informs 21st century business models. Cultural storytelling, authenticity and craftsmanship are in demand as we return to local sourcing and manufacturing. Businesses and individuals will join forces to practice ‘Betterness’, such as radical openness and social responsibility, and make a positive impact for the greater good of all. Agility and scalability is key in this – in order to balance costs, transport and ethics – and it will be enabled by clean tech advances and technologies, such as 3D printing.

The growth of disruptive technologies and dedicated social media MBA programmers is already redefining learning. Education, will result in a major educational transformation. The Codecademy wants to turn tech consumers into empowered code builders and Universities are teaming up with entrepreneurs, technologists and leaders globally to define a road map to guide the evolution of new technologies.


Cloud Health: By 2020, chronic diseases will account for almost 75% of all deaths worldwide. Cloud intelligence will evolve as ‘Quantified-Self-apps’, Mobile Diagnostics and Intuitive Bio Feedback become active resources in our daily lives.

Personal digital analysis for balanced health, fitness and diet delivers unique solutions to help us lead better lives. This trend is set to explode as healthcare professionals become involved in designing health management systems and monitoring for prevention rather than just healing.

Challenging the belief that The Good Life is dependent on consumption of stuff, we look elsewhere for new ideals to define a fulfilled life. Businesses now realize that they can achieve success by encouraging employees to adopt a ‘mindful’ approach to work and life in general. It seems inevitable that future economic models will consider data measuring happiness levels.