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5 Non-Obvious Megatrends Changing Our World In 2020

For the past ten years I have gone through an annual ritual of publishing a book about trends that describe our shifting culture and business environment. Over the past decade, my team and I have identified and written about well over 100 trends covering everything from the rise of the #metoo movement (a trend we called Fierce Femininity back in 2017) to the growing ability for immersive technology to help us better connect with one another (which we described as Virtual Empathy).

On January 14th, I am publishing the LAST of this long running series – the tenth anniversary edition of Non-Obvious called Non-Obvious Megatrends. In this new edition, we took an expansive look back at the past reports and combined this with all of the feedback, insights and discussions from more than a million smart readers who have bought, shared and debated this trend report over the years in order to arrive at ten big megatrend predictions.

I am so excited to share all of them when the book comes out in January, but as a sneak preview, here are five of the ten – along with a short backstory for each one.

Non-Obvious Megatrend #1 – Revivalism

Resurgence of analog activities such as board games, vinyl music and playing classic video games.

What is Revivalism?

Overwhelmed by technology and a sense that life is too complex, people seek out simpler experiences that offer nostalgia and remind them of a more trustworthy time.

The Backstory: 

Like most of the other megatrends, this one encompassed many ideas from past trends in other reports – and since writing the chapter about it, I keep seeing stories of how the past is coming back to be appealing for us today … which is a good sign!

Non-Obvious Megatrend #2 – Flux Commerce

Capital One co-working space and coffee shop alongside a branch location.

What is Flux Commerce?

The lines between industries erode, leading to a continual disruption of business models, distribution channels, and consumer expectations. 

The Backstory: 

If there is one megatrend that really demonstrates the power of intersection thinking and finding inspiration across industries, it is this one. With stories from banks, food, retail and tech – the impact and expanse of this trend made it very satisfying to research and write.

Non-Obvious Megatrend #3 – Purposeful Profit

Patagonia Worn Wear initiative to repair and resell used clothing.

What is Purposeful Profit?

As consumers and employees demand more sustainable and ethical practices, companies respond by adapting products and taking public stands on issues.

The Backstory: 

There were plenty of big stories this year that offered even more ammunition for this big idea that purpose is becoming more and more of a core necessity for all type of organizations. While this in itself may not be all that new, what was surprising was just how vocal those organizations are now willing to be. 

Non-Obvious Megatrend #4 – Attention Wealth

Shudu - a digital influencer.

What is Attention Wealth?

In the information economy, our attention holds greater value; leading us to be more skeptical of those who rely on spectacles to manipulate us.

The Backstory: 

The idea of our attention as a form of wealth felt like a perfect way to underscore and start to describe the battle that is happening right now for our attention on every level. The positive upside? If we can better understand how wealthy we all are, we can start to find better ways to monetize and prioritize our own attention.

Non-Obvious Megatrend #5 – Protective Tech

Savoike robotic butler, an example of technology offering convenience.

What is Protective Tech?

As we rely on predictive technology to keep us and our world safe and make life more convenient, we must contend with the privacy trade-offs required to make it work.

The Backstory: 

We’re just a few weeks away from CES and the stories of how technology will proactively serve us will likely come about again, but what was interesting about this megatrend was the idea that even as technology can be built to offer us protection or convenience, a question some are increasingly asking is whether we want tech to take this step (and whether we are willing to accept those corresponding compromises to privacy).

Want more trends?

These are just half of the total trends presented in the book. If you enjoyed these, you’ll probably enjoy reading the full book too! Here are a few ways to get the full book:

  1. Join my launch team – get a FREE early reader copy before the book comes out!
  2. Preorder the book on Amazon – get it when it comes out.
  3. Order in bulk – get signed copies early as a gift for your team/colleagues!

How are these trends curated?

The method and process behind the research for these trends is heavily based on observation, analysis, discussion and curation. In the book, the method is described by the term the Haystack Method – which essentially is a model which can be used by anyone to become a collector of interesting ideas which are utilized over time to develop bigger ideas and insights. Here is a video of how this process looks in real life:

About the Trend Series:

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For the past 10 years, the Non- Obvious Trend Report has been one of the most widely read collections of future insights in the world, reaching over 1 million readers. This 10th Edition features ten new megatrends curated from stories, interviews and more than 100 past trend predictions.

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#1 WSJ & USAToday Bestselling Author

Rohit is the author of 8 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

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