“The changes we will all have to face in the next 20 years may just blow our minds. As individuals
and as leaders, we will need to be ready...”
Change is a fact of life that individuals,
organisations and nations alike have no
choice but to deal with. Those who are able to
acknowledge this fact and cope with change
will survive. Those who are able to seek out
change and actively embrace it will thrive.
But to complete Disraeli’s statement we need
to add one further critical observation – the
pace of change is accelerating.
The changes we will all have to face in
the next 20 years may just blow our minds.
As individuals and as leaders, we will need
to be ready.
Change is inevitable, and it’s getting faster. Business
adviser and author
how we can be ready for it
Live long . . . and prosper?
Due to advances in clean water, nutrition,
antibiotics and disease eradication, average
worldwide life expectancy has sky-
rocketed. As recently as 1900, humans
lived, on average, a mere 31 years,
according to the WHO. Today, the
worldwide average life expectancy is 71.4.
For a quantum leap in human lifespans,
turn to the mysterious world of
biotechnology and genetic medicine.
Revolutionary advances in these fields look
set to push the limits of human life
expectancy well beyond its current level.
Has the first person who could live to 200
already been born?
Gaia strikes back
Climate change will inevitably become one
of the world’s biggest challenges,
exacerbated by the election of a small, but
increasing, number of Western politicians
who are climate science sceptics or deniers.
And yet the science is clear. “Continued
emission gases will cause further warming
and long-lasting changes in all components
of the climate system, increasing the
likelihood of severe, pervasive and
irreversible impacts for people and
ecosystems” (2014 Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report).
Water will be the new wealth
The Oil Age will end when oil is no longer an
expensive commodity; once long-term supply
significantly exceeds long-term demand. It
appears that this day may arrive much
sooner than we thought. Oil-producing
countries are now desperately trying to
transform their economies, which will in
turn alter the economic and political
landscape of the Middle East, central Asia
and Latin America.
So, while oil may become plentiful and
cheap, water is likely to become scarce and,
until we work out how to manufacture it
efficiently and at scale through the fusion
of hydrogen and oxygen, the most highly-
valuable commodity of all. Future wars are
unlikely to be waged covertly over oil; they
are likely to be waged overtly over water.
The processor in your iPhone is more than
30,000 times faster than the computers
that NASA used to put men on the moon in
1969. It was not even 25 years ago that the
internet tiptoed out of the US military and
was introduced to the world. The internet
today is the backbone of just about
everything – many of the world’s largest
companies only exist because of it.
The rise of the machines
Artificial intelligence still has a long way to
go, but machines that can learn and adapt
have already arrived. Ray Kurzweil, a