Project management institute
Project Management Institute (PMI) has released its latest report on long-term business, geopolitical, and technological trends that are reshaping our world and the types of projects that will be most prevalent and critical in the years to come in the face of these disruptions. Megatrends 2021 helps to ensure that project leaders can better understand the world’s rapid transformation and the global context in which they are working today.

“We know the world changed significantly in 2020, but our research confirmed the long-term impact of how these trends are changing how the world does business,” said Sunil Prashara, President and CEO of Project Management Institute. “There is virtually no industry and no geography that is untouched by the five megatrends outlined in this report. From COVID-19 to the climate crisis to the mainstream use of AI, these forces are driving change across sectors, requiring leaders to embrace new ways of thinking and working. As change-makers in their organizations and communities, project leaders are in a unique position to tackle these challenges and embrace new possibilities.”

The report, which draws on trend data, secondary research, and interviews with project professionals, news reports, and industry data, elaborates on a range of cross-cutting and urgent themes:

  • The impact of COVID-19 revealed deep vulnerabilities in our technology preparedness capabilities and deep-seated inequities in our health, education, and economic systems.
  • The climate crisis is compelling leaders in every sector to collaborate and marshal resources on a global scale to alter the broad trajectory of climate change and mitigate its many near-term consequences.
  • The global wave of protests spanning the past decade has revealed that change is not a question of if, but rather when, and has sparked a growing corporate commitment to racial, gender, and ethnic diversity. 
  • Emerging markets hold the promise of addressing long-festering challenges like global poverty, as well as the potential to reap the demographic dividend, but still require significant global investments in infrastructure and education.
  • The growth of artificial intelligence (AI) has rewired the possibilities for technology and continued learning, but leaders must grapple with the ethical implications of AI on the complex issues of bias and inequality.

These complex challenges will continue to drive demand for versatile and bold project talent who can help make social impact projects a strategic priority, foster open and innovative partnership ecosystems, and rethink relationships with customers and wider stakeholders.

Project-based skills are essential to helping enterprises turn ideas into a reality. The capabilities of project professionals and change-makers with a broad global perspective will only grow in The Project Economy, the emerging global landscape in which organizations will increasingly deliver financial and societal value through the successful completion of projects, delivery of products, and alignment to value streams.

“We live in a world of change and uncertainty—and COVID-19 has accelerated these trends with major shocks and disruptions to the world of business and society itself overnight,” said Prashara. “This report provides a preview of the world we’ll live in and how our community of project professionals and change-makers can drive greater social impact and value, no matter what sector or corner of the world. Success today requires that they continue to cultivate a strong business acumen and understanding of the broader strategic environment in which we’re operating.”

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