Yesterday, futurist Mike Walsh took the stage at our Opening General Session. Walsh spends 300 days a year traveling the world for the best ideas that he can share with audiences so they can prepare for what’s next. At our conference, Walsh let city leaders in on ways that communities are changing globally:
1. Childhood is shaped by disruptive technology. The use of smartphones and tablets at an early age is transforming kids into a completely different generation–a generation that will create their own version of the internet. It’s a generation who will never know life before the advent of the worldwide web, and it will alter the cultural landscape of cities all over the world.
2. Younger generations don’t want to own things. The Sharing Economy (think: Uber, Lyft, AirBnB) is a shift in mindset. If you can use something without owning it, why make the commitment? That’s the modern approach to cars, music, even clothes. It’s a change in the way people get around cities and engage with their services.
3. The future of the office is about humanity, not technology. More and more, people are driven by people at their office, not just their daily work and equipment. Younger generations will often move to a new city for a job, and they’re banking on that job providing them with a new social network.
4. Businesses are seeking urban areas. Mike Walsh echoed Mayor Becker’s urging to city leaders: “Innovate, be open to change, be forward thinking, or be left behind.” Cities need to be receptive to creative, inventive entrepreneurs who are exploring new communities.
5. This is the age of data. With all the information city leaders have at their fingertips, it’s crucial that they bring data to life. To move forward, leaders can’t keep thinking “This is the way we’ve always done it.” They need to experiment, test their ideas, and use all the information they have to make smarter decisions.