The Future is Changing: Bill Gates on the Next 15 Years

The world is going to change more in the next 15 years than the last 50 combined. Considering how much the world has changed in the last half century, that’s quite a bold claim. Nevertheless, more and more indicators are pointing to this being a reality.

And more and more people are talking about what these changes might look like, and how they could influence us. The most high profile of these is Bill Gates. In his annual letter, published through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in January 2015, he laid out a vision for the emerging world that is breathtaking (read the full letter here). Specifically, he claims that “the lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else’s.”

This will make developing markets the fastest growing markets available, and will open up trillions of dollars of potential opportunities. The shape of our world will change dramatically, and no industry will be unaffected.

Gates sees the next 15 years being driven by advances in primary health care, education, agriculture and technology. These are four drivers of deep social, economic and political change. To read more about his vision for the next few years, the best place to go is a series of articles guest editing by Bill Gates in the online magazine, The Verge – read them here.


looking at the futureOur team at TomorrowToday has been talking about five drivers of disruptive change for some time: Technology, institutional change (changes to the rules of success and failure in economics, politics, sectors and industries), demographics, environmental and ethical issues, and shifting social values. We agree entirely with Bill Gates that we’re on the edge of an era-change in history, which will bring significant threats and opportunities to everyone, everywhere.

What this means for each of us is that our success in the next few years depends very much on our ability to identify and track these disruptive forces and the rapid and discontinuous changes that they are creating. Each of us has to do a better job of thinking like a futurist, and we need to learn skills to be able to see the future with greater clarity. This doesn’t mean learning dark arts of crystal ball gazing – there is some solid science behind making business predictions, developing scenarios and tracking trends. Each of us, and all of our companies, could do better in learning these skills and applying the tools that are available.

Our team has a developed an online video-based course to assist you in learning how to think like a futurist, and ensure your ability to keep up in times of rapid change. For more information, see here or contact one of our team to find out how you can improve your ability to prepare for a changing future.

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