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Sitra’s 2016 Trends List is revealed

Sitra’s list of megatrends, which forecasts major societal changes on a global scale, is published.


Heli Nissinen

Senior Lead, Communications and Public Affairs


Sitra’s list of megatrends, which forecasts major societal changes on a global scale, is published. Key topics this time around include the global sustainability crisis, the accelerating pace of technological development – and its impacts on society – and the intensification of global tensions and everyday interdependence.

Sitra’s 2016 Trends List analyses developments in both the world and in Finland, based on three major forces of change: ever-accelerating technological development, global interdependency with growing tensions, and the sustainability crisis linked to the use of natural resources and climate change. Various phenomena are examined through these lenses, such as working life, the economy and lifestyles of the future, and what the related changes will mean for individuals, organisations and various international actors.

When contemplating the future, we need to identify greater wholes – not forgetting slow but nonetheless major directions of change. It is easy to become transfixed by sudden, dramatic developments, but being trailblazers means being able to look into the future and anticipate our society’s direction of development within a changing global environment.

Some signs of major change-related phenomena are already visible. Technological transformation is increasingly to the fore in our everyday lives – think of smart devices, as well as intelligent transport systems and services. Our globally interdependent community may be struggling with a sustainability crisis, but it is capable of major change: the Paris Agreement is a prime example of this. We are already witnessing a shift in the global balance of power, demarcated by the formation of new alliances and free-trade areas.

Since change-related phenomena are genuinely complex and interdependent, differences of opinion are to be expected. In our list of trends, we are not trying to present chapter and verse on the issue but instead, based on a long-term data analysis, our interpretation of the major development trends already affecting the future of Finnish society.

Sitra’s list of megatrends is not based on academic futures research; it is a compilation of various visions, foresight discussions and viewpoints presented in layman’s terms and in a usable format. A key part of the work involved bringing together a range of phenomena from Sitra’s focus areas and their specialists. A deeper perspective was achieved using megatrend-based foresight reports, international and national statistics, academic studies, news articles and expert statements, as well as the work of Finland’s national foresight network and contributions to a range of debates on future directions.

We hope that our megatrends analysis benefits and interests decision-makers, journalists, students, schoolchildren, or anyone else with an interest in the future. Sitra’s Trends List serves as an excellent tool and basis for discussion when assessing changes in the operating environment associated with activities such as strategy work. It is freely available to everyone.

We will be delighted to discuss any questions related to the list and the associated working process.

An English-language slideshow of the key messages of the Trends List is available below and via the following link: Megatrends 2016

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Megatrends 2016 by Sitra from Sitra the Finnish Innovation Fund

You may also like to take a look at our background memo (in Finnish):
Elina Kiiski Kataja
Megatrends 2016 – The future is now
ISBN 978-951-563-955-4 (PDF)
Download the memo in Finnish here

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