Megatrends are the base of the Beam Me Up, Scotty! -competition concepts. Each team was asked to choose one or two megatrends, create a problem based on them and then design a solution for the problem. The megatrends that the competitors chose are ageing and prosperity, technological development and health and environment.
Megatrends are large, social, economic, political, environmental or technological changes that are slow to form. Megatrends such as ageing and urbanization will affect every corner of the world.

Here are short descriptions on megatrends that the contestants will be working on.
The world’s population is ageing. It is happening because we live longer, and because there will be relatively more elderly than youths the next decades. This is especially because the world’s women have had fewer children the last 55 years. This will cause change in the labor market and social dynamism since old people are often less open to change then the young. Well off pensioners will consume and travel a lot.

The majority of the population of OECD countries and large groups in formerly developing countries are now growing more prosperous. The economic growth will cause a change in the demand for new types of products, with a new business structure as a result. More prosperity and more consumption will change the relationships between costs, prices and profit. The relationship that formerly existed between consumer prices and production costs, based on resource contributions such as labor and capital, is no longer present. Much of the value of the tangible products of the future is in the knowledge behind the product, like marketing and distribution, etc.

Technological development
Since the start of the industrial age, technological development has accelerated, so changes come faster and in more areas. In 2020, computers will be about 200 times faster than today’s computers, and will have memories 1000 times as large. Computers and robots will take on increasingly complex assignments, and the Internet will be a breeding ground for completely new, virtual industries. At little further into the future are nanomachines: microscopic robots that, for example, swim around in our veins removing cancer and plaque.

Health and environment
The health and environment megatrend will have even greater significance in the coming years. There will come more age related illnesses, more lifestyle illnesses such as obesity and stress, and more mental illness. Men’s sperm quality has fallen greatly over the last 10 years, more children suffer from allergy, and smoking is banned in more and more places. The environment is suffering and we will need to act in order to save our lives on the planet. There will be focus on clean drinking water – even in the countries that until now have not had problems drinking water from the tap.

Source: Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies: Why megatrends matter