We are witnessing the rise of the individual like never before. Tremendous technological advances and connectivity are empowering individuals across the world.
Almost 5 billion people are using mobile phones, and of those devices, more than half are smartphones. Social platforms have fundamentally changed the way people communicate, interact and organise their lives: from sharing information and organising knowledge on Wikipedia, WeChat, and Twitter, to funding new ventures on Kickstarter or peer to peer marketplaces on Airbnb, Uber or Airtasker.
Use of mobile payment is 11 times higher in China than in the United States. Chinese tech firms Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu rival Facebook, Google and Amazon in innovation, the size of their customers, profitability and social impact.
There is an increasing expectation for experience and personalisation rather than consumption. Access to information changes not only the way we consume but also the way we interact with companies and the influence we have over products and services.
This megatrend will vary substantially across different regions. Those who do not have access to technology and connectivity, available to most, will feel increasingly disempowered. New forms of organisation such as the ‘gig’ economy also raise new questions around the responsibilities of business and the status and rights of workers.
This megatrend is accelerating as more individuals are connected to internet services and as large social platforms invent new ways draw people into their ecosystems. While giving people a voice, the same data practices and business models also amplify misinformation and disinformation, harmful and extremist content.
Rising rates of depression, stress and anxiety amongst adolescents are linked to increased use of social media and the introduction of smartphones. Technology, however, could also be an opportunity for improved, individualised delivery for mental health.
As this trend continues to amplify our voices, governments and individuals need to understand the trade-offs between access and privacy, between empowerment and isolation.
Barry, E. (2019) 72% of Australians use digital payments, with non-bank apps preferred. (online) Finder. Available at: https://www.finder.com.au/australians-digital-payments-roy-morgan-survey
Clement, J. (2019) Mobile payments in the United States – Statistics & Facts. (online) Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/topics/982/mobile-payments/
PwC. (2019) It’s time for a consumer-centred metric: introducing ‘return on experience’. Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019. Available at: https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/consumer-markets/consumer-insights-survey/2019/report.pdf
Yu, E. (2019) Asia driving global mobile payments, with eight in top 10 markets. (online) ZDNet. Available at: https://www.zdnet.com/article/asia-driving-global-mobile-payments-with-eight-in-top-10-markets/
Connaker, A., and Madsbjerg, S. (2019) The State of Socially Responsible Investing. Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2019/01/the-state-of-socially-responsible-investing
Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, (2018). 2018 Global Sustainable Investment Review. (online) Available at: http://www.gsi-alliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/GSIR_Review2018.3.28.pdf
Brain and Mind Centre. Youth mental health and technology. The University of Sydney. https://sydney.edu.au/brain-mind/our-research/youth-mental-health-and-technology.html
CSIRO, (2019). Australian National Outlook 2019. Available at: https://www.csiro.au/en/Showcase/ANO
European Commission. (2018). Economic Power Shifts, in The EC Megatrend Hub. Available here: https://ec.europa.eu/knowledge4policy/foresight/topic/expanding-influence-east-south/power-shifts_en
Haidt, J. and Lukianoff, G. (2019) The Coddling of the American Mind. Penguin Press.
Haidt, J. and Twenge, J (curators) Is there an increase in adolescent mood disorders? (online) Google docs. Available at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1diMvsMeRphUH7E6D1d_J7R6WbDdgnzFHDHPx9HXzR5o/edit
National Intelligence Council. (2017). Global Trends, Paradox of Progress, (online). Available at: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/nic/GT-Full-Report.pdf
The latest on amplified individuals
What are megatrends and how they are shaping the future of business?
Uber has been forced by the UK courts to treat its British drivers as workers. It will probably require legislative change for Uber's Australian drivers to be treated as employees.
This week: a special episode with Marc Stears on the importance of relationships.
This week: we discuss how digital ownership through NFTs creates value and new kinds of assets, and what the GameStop saga reveals about new forms of spontaneous digital organising.
The Australian university student of the future will not fit identifiable stereotypes. How should the education sector adapt?
This week: protests, free speech and the responsibilities of social media platforms
This week: gender pay gap Groundhog Day, and the tyranny of niceness.
How can we make better decisions? Professor Daniel Kahneman discusses bias, noise and algorithms.