How do global megatrends impact on the future of your policy issue or your work? This is the question around which the reflections centre when people use the megatrends engagement tool developed by the EU Policy Lab. It has recently been applied in different settings to foster the capacity for forward-looking and systemic thinking by using a set of megatrends based on the Megatrends Hub.

The Megatrends Hub is a repository of foresight-related information on 14 global megatrends, which are major long-term trends that are likely to have a high impact on the future – such as climate change and environmental degradation, diversifying inequalities, and changing security paradigm, to name a few. Based on these 14 megatrends, we developed the megatrends engagement tool, available in several formats: one 3-hour and one full day workshop.


Megatrends engagement tool used at DG GROW Summer Week 2019

Here is how we recently used the tool with two very different groups.

On the 5th of June 2019, the European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) kicked-off their annual Summer Week with a workshop on foresight and how it can be used in the context of policymaking. The participants used the megatrends tool to explore what consequences the megatrends will have for the future of the collaborative economy.

After splitting up in groups of 4-6 persons, the participants ‘mapped’ all the megatrends on a poster by placing them in relation to the X and Y axis representing Relevance and Awareness & Knowledge respectively.  The guiding questions were:

– How relevant or important is this megatrend for the collaborative economy? How large will its effects be?

– To what extent is DG GROW aware of the influence of this megatrend on the collaborative economy? To what extent is it understood?

The following discussion focused on the megatrends considered highly relevant for the issue but at the same time poorly understood. The actions taken (or not taken) in relation to these megatrends may have a high influence on the future of the topic. In the next step, the participants discussed these megatrends’ consequences in the short and the long term. Afterwards, they explored how the different megatrends link to each other in relation to the collaborative economy (see an example in the photo above).


Young Leaders using the megatrends engagement tool. From left, Aaron Atimpe, Sephutile Mhlongo, and Rejoice Namale.

On 11th June, 15 Young leaders selected from a global pool of candidates to participate in the European Development Days visited the EU Policy Lab for a megatrends session. These young leaders from Africa, Asia and Latin America work on topics as diverse as gender inequality, urban planning, entrepreneurship, and migration. This was an opportunity for them to understand better how megatrends will influence their field of work in the future.

Throughout their participation in the European Development Days organised by the European Commission, the Young Leaders will have a chance to interact with high-level policymakers and convey their policy recommendations. We therefore asked them to conclude the workshop by presenting a one-minute pitch about how the megatrends affect their field of work and why this is relevant for the future.

The participants shared some take-aways from the megatrends workshop:

“I loved how we were encouraged to think out of the box and see the bigger picture”.

“There are so many cross-cutting issues that tie our different topics together”.

“My topic is related to every trend and the most innovation lies in the intersection of the different issues”.

The megatrends engagement tool is freely available. It can be used for workshops of different durations from 3 hours to one day (or shorter if adapted). If you would like to learn more about it, get in touch with us through JRC-MEGATRENDS@ec.europa.eu.

By: Anna Hakami

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