Disruptive forces are growing in complexity, velocity and impact. One of the slower moving forces is demographics and this force is now a growing tsunami which will crash on the shores of both developed and developing economies. No region or country will be immune to the impact of demographic disruption over the next 50 years. We are entering a period unlike anything ever experienced before in the history of humanity. Here are a few of the headline statistics

  • Total World Population will grow from 7.4 billion today to 9.5 billion in 2050
  • Global fertility rates have decreased from just under 5 babies to slightly above 2 children per woman over the past 45 years. This is a seismic shift of mega proportions.
  • Life longevity is increasing dramatically. Of all the people ever to reach the age of 80, in the history of humanity, over half are still alive today.
  • The number of centenarians is growing at 400% every year
  • By 2060 the average life expectancy for someone living in Europe, America and China will pass 80 years-of-age.
  •  The global population aged between 40-79 will increase by 1.7bn and those aged between 60-79 will experience a total increase of 850m by 2060.
  •   But the total increase over the same period, for those aged between 0-19 will only be 200m, representing a dramatic thinning in the base of the population pyramid.

Businesses and business models for decades have been centred on meeting the needs of the youth and young adult markets. This is changing as the needs of an aging population become apparent.

The disruptions in levels of productivity, healthcare and life insurance will be huge. And, within the next twenty years, retirement as we have come to know and expect will have disappeared. Something new will replace it but what?

This is a brave new world and when it comes to demographics the future is happening right in front of us. Demographics is a trend that can be accurately tracked and projections easily made. Alarmingly though, the implications of changing demographics as a disruptive force is often overlooked by business leaders. This is a concern because as there are growing challenges there are also opportunities for astute future facing leaders who understand how disruptive demographics will impact their business models as well as their markets to make considerable gains.

This video from The Economist, is one of the best I’ve seen on changing demographics :

Hans Rosling, a statistician with Gapminder uses augmented reality to brilliantly capture 200 years of population growth and demonstrates what it means for the future, all of this in just 4 Minutes 


Option B

About the Author: Dean van Leeuwen is a founding partner at TomorrowToday Global, an author and international keynote presenter.

Watch his TEDx video here

Download the epilogue from his book here

Buy the book: Quest: Competitive Advantage and the Art of Leadership in the 21st Century

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