These days we talk a lot about change and disruption. I often hear people say that the world isn't changing faster, really! But the record of patents and the production of new technologies indicates that it probably is. Change is a big issue and few do it well.
If you're creating leaders every day, like I do, you need to keep an eye on the future. However predicting the future can be highly problematic!
There is one surer way though - look at where the money in R&D is going right now.
The experts in this area, Thomson Reuters IP & Science unit, look at two sorts of data to come up with their innovation list. They look at current scientific journal literature and patent applications. By counting citations and other measures of who's talking about what, they recently identified 10 hot fields, then made specific forecasts for each.
1. Dementia Treatments
Thomson Reuters found that there is a lot of money currently going in to studies of genetic mutations causing dementia, including how to detect it earlier - it's predicted to be an up and coming epidemic due to an aging population, imagine if we can treat it long before that happens.
2. Solar Powered Everything
Thomson Reuters reckon that, give the rate of money being poured in to solar tech, by 2025, solar power will be the world's largest single source of energy and it will most likely be portable, home based, off the grid!
3. Type 1 Diabetes Prevented
Thomson Reuters expects "genomic-editing-and-repairing" to fix this one before it sets in. Incredible and hugely beneficial for those that suffer from this (note that this is not type II which is commonly contracted by adults due to lifestyle factors - we think!).
4. Genetically Modified Crops Grown Indoors The Norm
Basically Thomson Reuters say that we will all eat GM foods en masse soon, they will be grown around the clock under constant light and they won't have any disease.
5. Electric Transport - That Flies!
Thomson Reuters reckon that advances in lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen storage will make electric transport a reality and it will mostly fly - short hops!
6. The Internet Of Things... Everything
Thomson Reuters (and Amazon and everyone else) say that thanks to the prevalence of improved semiconductors, graphene-carbon nanotube capacitators, cell-free networks of service antenna, and 5G technology, wireless communications will dominate everything, everywhere. Hyper-connectivity.
7. Packaging Made Only From Plants - No More Plastic
Thomson Reuters also found loads of cash being poured in to creating non-plastic biodegradable packaging.
8. Personalised Medicine
Medication and medical treatments will be tailored based on your DNA, making it all much more effective and reducing side effects significantly.
9. DNA Disease Checked Annually
And to make that work, DNA will be checked for mutation on a regular annual basis. Yes really.
10. Teleportation - Basic Level!
And... we'll be teleporting, very small things in a very small way... lots of work to get to beam me up Scotty!
I also know that Google are pouring cash in to finding a way for computers to generate text with meaning - which is highly likely to produce Artificial Intelligence if they can get the computation to work at a high enough level... but let's not start talking about skynet!
Some of these seem a little mad, but if that's where the money and the research is going then you know there will be developments there. The progress of making it commercial and commonly applied is often the trickier one. So while it's clear that solar power and electric transport will take off, we may not see flying vehicles yet as transport systems will also need to adjust...
... changing human beings is the harder part!