What are the really big forces driving change?

In their day to day lives Operations Managers focus on lots of short term issues, typically in the context of an annual budget and a strategy for the next two to three years.  But sometimes it is useful to stand back and consider the really big picture stretching out further into the future – say the next 50 years.  This what Dobbs et al’s article in the McKinsey Quarterly does.

They begin by going back 50 years to see what major trends might have been forecast then.  They identify three – computing power and I.T. systems, shift of economic gravity from West to East, and the baby boomer generation.  They go on to discuss what they think will have major influences on business, economies and society in general over the next fifty years.  Again they identify three – emerging markets growth, disruptive technology, and ageing population.    These are reviewed in some detail.

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