To give you a flavor, here are three of the nine trends Stewart thinks are sure enough for you to start placing business bets on:
- Energy will cost a lot. All businesses will have to operate under some form of carbon constraint.
- Multiculturalism and multiracialism will reshape cultural identity in both the U.S. and Europe.
- Even as intellectual property becomes more valuable, IP rights will erode.
Obvious, you say. Of course the world is heading toward an era of energy constraints. Of course intellectual property rights are under attack by digital technologies. What's the big?
Words Into Action
But obvious doesn't automatically translate into action. In May of 1995, Bill Gates wrote his famous "Internet Tidal Wave" memo, which alerted top Microsoft brass to Gates' opinion that the Internet was the most important single development since the IBM PC and that the company needed to focus its full attention on the competitive opportunities and threats. Remember, this was before Google, before HTML became a standard, before AJAX, and before Amazon.com, which launched later that year.
In other words, Gates was envisioning at just the right time. But you already know the rest of the story: Microsoft lost its competitive stranglehold on the technology sector, thanks in significant part to late and misguided plays on the Internet.
OK, so Tom Stewart has had his opportunity to play swami. Your turn.
What does your crystal ball tell you are can't miss trends, the clear business winners, if you play them right? What themes and platforms are emerging right this minute that are worth a significant business bet? Energy efficiency? Open source innovation? The iPhone? 3G in the US?, User-generated content? Kindle? Atom? Search?
Help us place some smart bets.