The Future Agenda was created in 2009 to bring together views on the future from many leading organizations.
Sponsored globally by Vodafone Group, this groundbreaking programme looked out ten years to the world in 2020 and built a point of view based on expert perspectives that addressed everything from the future of health to the future of money. Over 1500 organizations debated the big issues and emerging challenges for the next decade. Additional online interaction connected over 50,000 people from more than 145 countries who added their views to the mix.
From the multiple discussions, a wealth of insights were gained and the fifty most significant were detailed in a book, website and accompanying material. Alongside a commentary on the key implications for the future, this was widely shared and has been used around the world by individuals and organizations looking to be better informed. TV programmes, talks, workshops and additional discussions have followed as people have explored the potential implications and opportunities in their sector or market.
We now have the benefit of hindsight and can see that many of the insights that were emerging from the 2010 conversations are now having impact. Consider, for example, the conversations around global pandemics that took place prior to the Ebola outbreak or the more recent Zika virus in South America. Our discussions also uncovered the importance of megacities and how their influence is dominating that of their parent nation, or how it becoming increasingly difficult for individuals to understand the accuracy of information found online – ‘who to believe’ is a key challenge for the current generation. Other insights are perhaps more controversial, but no less topical, such as the way that the Islamic religion is having an impact on Europe, and how the use of surveillance equipment is increasingly being used to track people at the expense of their privacy.
Only more time will tell if the conversations we have had in 2015 are accurate reflections of the future. We hope that they will be at least thought provoking.