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Megatrends and Blogging

Posted By Darren Rowse 19th of May 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Yesterday I spent most of the day at a conference here in Melbourne called the Future Summit. My role was ‘guest twitterer’ on the official Twitter account for the summit for a few of the sessions.

The presentation that I found most helpful today was by Alison Sander from Boston Consulting Group who spent 45 minutes talking about ‘Megatrends’.

The time she was given was not long enough to adequately cover the topic (I could have listened to her all day) but she did use her time well.

Alison Sander described four types of trends (forgive me for a very poor paraphrase):

  1. Linear Trends – those that are quite predictable (imagine a graph trending up in a straight diagonal line). She argued that while most predictable these trends are most rare.
  2. Cyclical Trends – trends that come and go in a cycle.
  3. Fads – one off trends – in this case the graph would have a sharp rise and then sharp fall
  4. Mega Trends – trends that not only trend up but do so exponentially with an ever increasing rise

Sander spent the rest of the session looking at Megatrends which she described as trends that are not going away, trends that are relatively recession proof and trends that are hard to spot at the beginning (but if you do spot them you make ALOT of money). She also made the point that if you don’t spot them early but get into them later there is still opportunity but that there also is a rise in risk in investing into them. She used the internet as an example of this type of trend.

Sander then went on to talk about 18 types of Megatrends. I’ll list them below but won’t describe each one as she was unable to focus upon each in the short time given.

  • Economic Volatility
  • Globalization
  • Connectivity
  • Rise of Trust and Transparency
  • Global Warming and Rise of Green Products
  • Innovation Imperative
  • Rise of Asia (China/India)
  • Rise of Services
  • Rise of Urbanization/Infrastructure
  • Risk and Security
  • Energy Volatility
  • Rise in Natural Disasters
  • Aging/Demographic Shifts
  • Global Divides
  • Health and Wellness
  • RDE Challenges
  • Health spending/biotech
  • Rise of Entertainment/Celebrity

What struck me as Alison talked today was that her list was actually a pretty rich list of topics that bloggers might want to focus upon and align themselves with.

While these trends have moved beyond the early stages opportunity exists to invest time into them, to learn about, to develop expertise in, to create online communities around, to facilitate discussions in etc.

Of course these are massive topics so a wise blogger would be breaking them down and looking for opportunities within the larger topics to develop a profile on subtopics.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Can I ask what’s a Megatrends, is it what the internet is discussing and focusing right now? Or is it something else ?

  • Hi Darren,

    Thanks for the post.
    Just a quick pointer to a typo. You wrote “Global Warming and Rise of Greet Products”. I think you meant to write “green” products.

  • Before I went deep into reading the post, I was expecting twitter as its core focus, but it wasn’t, I was wrong :)

    Even though, twitter is fitting into the description of Mega Trends – trends that not only trend up but do so exponentially with an ever increasing rise.

    On the other “Innovation Imperative” might be the right type where alternative energy source as compressed-air may fit in, which incidentally is one topic I like, given the Global warming issue.

  • Dear Darren, I’m from India. First time, commenting on your blog. Really informative post for experienced bloggers. But this would be too much to look into for amateur bloggers like me. Anyhow, megatrends point no:7 (Rise of Asia(India) ) is the real eye opener for me. After the recent forming of the stable/majority government, I hope the trend will even get better for long time. Thanks for sharing such vital info.

  • I like the way Alison differentiated between the different types of trends. It can be easy to get caught up in a fad, thinking you’re getting in on the ground floor of the next big thing…when in fact, you’re not.

    Excellent post, and it sounds like a great topic. Wish I could have been there to hear her speak.

  • Great list, thanks for the heads up Darren.

  • That is a great list but just wish that we could hear about each one from her. The two words recession proof always sound really nice. I definitely want some of that.

  • Very interesting concept. I think she’s on to something. Unfortunately the hard part is picking the sub-topics and capitalizing on them. I recently started a 2nd blog in the Green topic and it’s been tough to keep up with….running more than one successful blog part-time is a big handful!

  • Interesting in that the rise of Asia & services are given so little coverage in most blogs. Maybe not that trendy but would have mass appeal.

    How to monitize these areas in interesting also compared with a blog that focuses on a product, ie and have more direct opportunities to sell goods online.


    Ivan Walsh,

  • I would have liked to know more about Connectivity as a trend. Obviously the emergence of digital and social media is a large part of this, but it’s what we do with the connections that interests me.

    I think Seth Godin alludes to this in his TED talk on Tribes. It’s kind of like “What are you going to do with all this connectivity?”

    Fascinating stuff, all the same. Thanks for writing about this on Problogger. Got me thinking.

  • That’s what the late giant McLuhan called “looking forward in a rear view mirror”. Is it possible to pile more cliches into a list?

  • This is pretty much my approach to deciding what new projects to do. For example, the “Innovation Imperative” and several other trends on the list are what prompted us to start Lateral Action… it’s a long term deal that will not only remain relevant, it will increase in relevance as time goes on.

  • Some pretty hard topics to write about. Interesting ones though.

  • Hummm, Darren, I wonder if you did not leave the conference a bit early…
    I followed the day on twitter (I was on the receiving end of your tweets, so you can take this comment as a feedback!) and it was fascinating how the live coverage brought me right in the place, making me wish I was there while all the same virtually transporting me.
    The twitter feed faded a bit in late afternoon, but went back on with a vengeance in the early evening when Her Excellency Dr Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe started her keynote speech with an “Eat your words!” slap in the face of the KPMG guy that apparently ignored Africa in his introductory speech earlier in the day.
    From then on, for 45 minutes, tweets fused from all over at an unabated pace, as Dr Speciosa went on with her plea for an means starved & energy/innovation laden forgotten Africa; sometimes heating up tempers and stirring a bit of controversy between microbloggers ignited from hastily typed sentences and misunderstood concepts.
    The atmosphere (I talked like I was there, but trust me, there was an atmosphere in front of the computer as well) was electric and surreal as the excitement and retwitting grew.
    Of course, it is my first experience of the sort using twitter and it is a little hard to judge from uncalibrated data and it will be best measured when the dust has settled down a bit. Is Dr Speciosa THE leader the world is desperately seeking? Is she the one to lead Africa out of its recurring misery? I do not know, but I think I “heard” the truth spoken forcefully with integrity.
    I have the feeling I may have “virtually” participated live in a historical event; maybe one matching the caliber and intensity of Martin Luther King “let freedom ring” or J.F. Kennedy “Ich bin ein Berliner”…

    There are other and more trends there; invisible undercurrents that are swelling, unseen from the world, coming from an African continent, forgotten and ignored by most, that, without finances, seems to be coming to age and emergence…
    I wish I can quickly get my hands on a good video of Dr. Speciosa’s speech and see for myself.

  • Good points! It’s amazing how so many blogs just create noise and repeat the same old topics. Twitter can be a great tool if used for quality content versus personal topics. Thanks for the smart summary.

  • Boring. Besides the fact that these are all topics we should be focusing on ALL of the time, these are all really controlled topics. Perfect candidates for the old Hegelian dialectic… better to dialog you with. Megatrends merely equals the topics that the big boys (NGOs, institutes, etc.) want you out there blabbering about.

    From Darren: Sorry to have wasted your time with such a boring post. I’m not so sure that these topics are things that NGOs want us ‘blabbering about’ – they’re trends happening around us. Who could deny the aging of our population? Who could deny the amazing changes happening in connectivity (wireless communications, internet, social media)? Who could deny the rise of countries like China and India as global major players? Who could deny the influence that celebrities are having on our culture. These things are changing the world we live in – makes perfect sense to me to position yourself in and around these topics as a blogger as they only continue to have greater and greater impact upon the world we live in.

    Besides – don’t half of your latest posts fit within these kinds of categories? Boring?

  • It’s not easy to start a blog about one of these future megatrends she was talking about without having to do some complex research. This topics are not something they teach us in college.

  • Interesting breakdown of types of trends and specifically types of megatrends. Regarding the definition of megatrends “not going away”, maybe it’s just semantics, but I would think that this inherently goes against the very definition of trends and that they merely have a bigger arc. This would go along with the definition of a fad possessing the smallest arc.

  • These are just some examples, not a complete listing of mega-trends. I’m sure if you guys think about it, some of you are probably already blogging about one right now and just don’t know it.

    Wi-fi is an example of a mega-trend. It’s been around for years and years, but wasn’t so popular in its infancy. But the trend has always been upward, and recently, much more popular…almost to the point where it’s the standard now.

    Beanie Babies, on the other hand, were a fad. The next big thing today, and gone tomorrow. As soon as people found they could use eBay for other things, these little stuffed animals were gone with the wind.

    Fashion is a big blog topic, and an example of a cyclic trend. Use your imagination, guys. The possibilities are almost endless!

  • Well, I found this to be a great post and an interesting one at that. I wonder how one can discern what factors to hone in on to determine a megatrend in the making as to be able to jump on board at the get-to. I agree with some of the other readers that we may already be discussing/blogging on items of which are classified as megatrends.


  • What does RDE stand for? :) Thank you for an informative post!

  • Good going Darren, thanks for listing the topics for us readers so we can get into them research and start a blog on them :)

  • This is intresting, when I started my site about eyelashes, everyone said HuH?? Whats so important about eyelashes, I knew there were so many ways to go with this because I did my homework, turns out it is very sucesfull, it’s never gona get 5000 hits a day, but it allways gets 200 or more and there specific to what my site is about not just peekers. There are many trends and niches if you think out side the box a little, My site is only a 2 months old and traffic has grown since week one. Great Post again Darren

  • Just a couple of thoughts, First analyze that blogging will be good for the business you are looking forward to. Also blogging for your boss and asking him to pay for the same wil require good persuasion skills…