How to Stay on Top of Megatrends
CategoriesInnovation Policy Strategy

In research and innovation (R&I), megatrends can reveal emerging opportunities and challenges in particular sectors or at the level of society that have to be addressed.

Megatrends can be defined as extensive patterns that are likely to shape the future of our world for the next 10 to 20 years and beyond. They are expected to impact multiple aspects of society, including economics, politics, technology, culture, and the environment. These trends have the potential to create new industries, reshape existing ones, and alter the way we live and work. 

Unlike short-term trends, megatrends form and span over multiple years. They can create significant opportunities and challenges for individuals, businesses, and governments, and it’s essential to understand them to prepare for the future. In research and innovation (R&I), megatrends can reveal emerging opportunities and challenges in particular sectors or at the level of society that have to be addressed. They can also inform about new funding sources and potential collaboration with new actors and stakeholders. 
In a previous article, we explained why megatrends are important for scientists and innovators, and and how can research organisations include them in their strategies to gain momentum and take advantage of the opportunities of the future. We have also shared use cases of EU research and innovation in some of the most impactful megatrends: climate, society, technology, energy and economy.  
In this article, we share some tips to help you stay informed and foresee what the future can bring. 
  1. Read widely: Stay up-to-date on news and trends in your industry by reading a variety of sources, including trade publications, blogs, social media, and newsletters. 
  1. Attend industry events: Attend conferences, trade shows, and other events in your industry to stay up-to-date on the latest developments and to network with other professionals. 
  1. Join professional organizations: Join professional organizations related to your industry to network with peers and stay informed on trends and developments. 
  1. Network: Build a strong network of industry contacts who can provide insights and information on megatrends. 
  1. Conduct market research: Conduct market research to identify emerging trends and shifts in consumer behavior. 
  1. Follow thought leaders: Follow thought leaders in your industry on social media and subscribe to their newsletters and blogs to stay informed on their insights and predictions. 
  1. Monitor emerging technologies: Keep an eye on emerging technologies that could disrupt your industry and explore how you can use them to your advantage. 
  1. Stay open-minded: Be open to new ideas and be willing to pivot your strategy as needed to stay ahead of megatrends. 
One of the main reasons to include megatrends in your research or business strategy is that they inform on the most pressing challenges of society, which translates into the opportunity of solving real problems by developing new solutions.  
If you want to go deeper and learn how to use megatrends in your advantage, focus on a problem-led approach, and make the most out of your innovation strategy and processes, get in touch with our experts.  
Photo by Werner Du plessis on Unsplash