Dr. James Canton: Top 20 Trends That Will Shape the World in the Next Year

Canton - Global Futures Forecast 2010 Since 1990, Dr. James Canton, a futurist and founder of the Institute for Global Futures, has released an annual Global Futures Forecast 2010.  These annual forecasts from Canton are always a little too sensational and dramatic in how the trends are worded.  I know he does this just to ‘sell’ the trends list and pull people into his marketing engine.  But if you ignore all that drama and read between the lines for the message of the key trend, the lists can be useful. 

In this years report, Dr. Canton lists 20 trends that he says we need to watch in 2010 as these trends are transforming our lives today and will continue to do so for many years into the future.  Here is my summary of the 20 trends. See below for a link to a 13 page pdf file wiht more detail.

  1. Future Positive.  We’ll once again look at the future in a positive way.
  2. The Existential Consumer.  Relationships have been strained between governments, business and individuals.
  3. Business as Unusual.  Expect some bold moves by businesses in 2010.
  4. Design for a Better World.  Canton says that giving back to others, social responsibility will emerge as a key trend this year.  Perhaps the Haiti earthquake is the spark we needed.
  5. Energy X.  Canton says our future is tied to finding new sources of plentiful and cheap energy.
  6. Asia Self-Reliance.  Asian economies will increasingly rely on internal sources of growth and prosperity.
  7. Personalized Medicine.  Technology will start to deliver on the promise of personalized medicine.
  8. The Neuro-Society.  Canton expects 2010 to be a breakout year for neuroscience and that there will be broad-based impact.
  9. Hungry Planet.  Canton says there will be progress made towards a cooperative approach to solving food shortages, food security, and improving quality of life.
  10. Products That Think.  Canton says we’ll have more smart products as manufacturers embed chips into everything.
  11. Social Capitalism Emerges.  Canton says that efforts to remake capitalism into a populist or social welfare tool will fail. 
  12. Workforce Talent War.  Canton expects that companies will have a talent shortage as increased complexity, competition and demands for performance drive the talent search…and talent wars.
  13. Jobs and the Innovation Economy.  Real job creation will not come from government but the private sector stepping up the innovation game.
  14. Rogues Among Us.   Canton says to watch out for rogue organizations that seek to destabilize the world’s security order.
  15. Green Tech.  Canton says there will be increased focus on helping nature help itself by geo-engineering the planet using science to protect the planet. 
  16. Internet Everywhere.  Canton safely predicts that the Internet will be everywhere this year.
  17. Tomorrow’s Markets.  Canton points out that the emerging middle class in the developing world is a huge opportunity for all businesses.
  18. Robots R Us.  Canton says “The robots are coming!”.
  19. Singularity Watch.  Canton believes that Singularity discipline (the use of advanced science and technology to cope with planetary social challenges) will get increased attention in 2010
  20. Reinventing Education.  Canton says we need to reinvent Education to make it more relevant, modern and future-ready.

For a 13 page pdf file that covers the 20 trends, check out Global Futures Forecast 2010