Which megatrends will have the most impact on infrastructure by 2050? Have your say

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Have you ever wondered what the world would look like in 2050, and what it would mean for the infrastructure industry?

Could it be a highly digitized world where the adoption of technology is hyper-accelerated across all infrastructure sectors? Is it a green world where sustainability is the new main decision criterion? Perhaps private sector participation in infrastructure service delivery has become more common—and more coordinated with government needs and objectives. Or perhaps the world has passed the climate change “tipping point” and mitigation efforts are no longer effective despite strong cooperation among nations and technological innovation?

The Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub) team is working to develop a set of divergent and plausible scenarios to help prepare the infrastructure community for an uncertain future. In order to do that, we need your help in understanding the level of impact that relevant megatrends will have on the development of infrastructure to 2050, and how prepared we are, as a community, to address these trends.

What are megatrends?

According to the term’s founder, John Naisbitt, megatrends are large, transformative processes with “global reach, broad scope, and a fundamental and dramatic impact.”

Megatrends are exponential waves that will fundamentally reshift the competitive landscape in the future.

They are sustainable growing movements with global and significant impact, which:

  • Cause inexorable growth that challenges surrounding resources and systems
  • Affect numerous businesses and geographies across industries in a significant way
  • Shift the way countries, industries, and markets operate

“Megatrends” is not just a buzzword. Looking at these movements allows us to distinguish what is likely in a world that is highly uncertain.

Why are they important? 

Three reasons come to mind.

First, we are living in an increasingly complex world with an unprecedented level of change and   uncertainty. However, one thing we can be certain of is that the future will be full of megatrend-related structural changes. The real power comes from knowing the context of these changes, and increased visibility can reduce our vulnerability to surprises.

Second, while these changes will present challenges, they will also inspire new opportunities for growth. As the world adapts, investment portfolios must too. An understanding of relevant megatrends—their pace, interconnectivity, and potential impact is a key driver of investment decision-making, and it can add significant value to an investment portfolio.

Last, trends allow us to connect the dots to see broader patterns around risk and opportunity. They can facilitate the development of strategic action plans that respond to future scenarios, increase our resilience to changes, and help us capture the uncertainty advantage and realize potential opportunities.

How are megatrends relevant to infrastructure?

The GI Hub has identified 25 megatrends relevant to infrastructure that can be categorized under the following topics—society and workforce, market and customers, geopolitics and regulation, technology, and sustainability and resilience.

The majority of these trends are “certain” to an extent, as this is the nature of trends. But what will they mean for the design, finance, and ongoing maintenance of infrastructure projects? How can the infrastructure community come together to plan for the future?

What do you think?

The GI Hub has released a survey to better understand the infrastructure community’s perceptions of a set of megatrends as they relate to the development of infrastructure to 2050.

The survey aims to get your opinions on:

  • How clear the direction of these megatrends is
  • Which trends are going to have the most profound impact on infrastructure development over the next 30 years
  • How prepared your industry is for each trend to occur

It takes 8–10 minutes to complete and the survey results will guide activities that the GI Hub undertakes as part of our work on the “Future of Infrastructure.” Your responses will directly inform the development of a shortlist of these megatrends into credible future scenarios and their implications.

Upon completing the survey, the GI Hub will share with you the links to their latest online guidance tools.

The deadline for the survey is Friday, November 15, 2019, at 5 p.m. EST and you can complete it here: http://bit.ly/2pXReJA

Disclaimer: The content of this blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the World Bank Group, its Board of Executive Directors, staff or the governments it represents. The World Bank Group does not guarantee the accuracy of the data, findings, or analysis in this post.

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About the Global Infrastructure Hub
The GI Hub is an independent organization that was established by the G20 in 2014 to connect the global infrastructure community and share insights to facilitate delivery of G20 members’ economic, social and environmental outcomes through more and better infrastructure.


This blog is managed by the Infrastructure Finance, PPPs & Guarantees Group of the World Bank. Learn more about our work here.


Stephanie Barker

Analyst, Global Infrastructure Hub

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