Articles & Video

The following are just a few of the extensive writings, programs, news stories, presentations and interviews that, in some way, feature the work and ideas of Gary Marx.

Video of Gary Marx.  Comments following Twenty-One Trends presentation and book signing at the AASA National Conference on Education in San Diego.  February 27, 2015.  Recorded by Lifetouch.

“The Future is Now…Ten Realities for Educators and Communities,” Principal Magazine.  Writing for Principal Magazine’s January/February 2017 issue, Gary Marx emphasizes that our education system is wrapped in the challenges of preparing students for world that is changing at warp speed.  Among the ten realities he urges educators and communities to recognize and deal with is the stark fact that every institution is going through a reset.  Lifelong learning is available anytime, anyplace, any way, and any pace.  He adds a reminder that “everything that happens in the World has implications for education and everything that happens (or doesn’t happen) in education has implications for the world.”  Principal Magazine is published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

“A Futurist Explores the Road We’ve Come and the Road Ahead, Ten Lessons for the Green Schools Movement,” Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly.

In the Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly, Fall 2017, published by the Green Schools National Network, Gary Marx shares highlights of his involvement in projects that have addressed building technologies and indoor environmental quality.  Those and other projects and research have likely triggered interest in buildings with more reasonable carbon footprints and a level of comfort, design, air quality, temperature and humidity control, acoustics, and lighting.  Marx zeroes in on Ten Lessons for the Green Schools Movement.  From the impact of the learning environment on achievement and performance to the need for occupant comfort, the essentials of training to effectively use building systems, an imperative of equal opportunity for quality learning facilities for all, as well as safety and security, he lays out considerations for anyone renovating a building or creating it from scratch.  Flexibility, adaptability, and resilience are part of the bottom line.  He adds that education facilities are not just bricks and mortar, they are part of the overall learning environment and ought to be seen as an investment, not as an expense.

“Future Trends: 10 Big-Picture Realities Facing School Boards.”  This article, written by Gary Marx, appeared in the October 2016 issue of the American School Board Journal, pages 44 to 46, published by the National School Boards Association (NSBA).  In this article, Marx asserts that:  The future is in school today.  We are of this world, not separate from it.  We are either in touch or out of touch.  The face of our nation continues to change.  Perspective and context are basic to understanding.  Every institution is going through a reset.  Personalization is a key to relationships and learning.  The purposes of education shape our future.  Sustainability depends on adaptability and resilience.  Change is inevitable…Progress is Optional.  He adds suggestions about what policy makers can do next to constantly shape education for the future in a fast-changing world.

“Eleven Considerations for Effective Communication, Community Relations, and Engagement.” Gary Marx developed these bedrock leadership guidelines to provoke thinking and stimulate discussion about the importance of staying in touch with societal trends and issues.  Among them are communication that leads to mutual understanding, forming an identity, media relations, and crisis planning.  He included these guidelines in a presentation and discussion for the AASA-Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy during November 2015.

“Trends for the 21st Century…Preparing for the Schools of Tomorrow,” a one-hour international Education Week webinar featuring Gary Marx discussing his research, ideas, and book, Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century.  The webinar was produced by Education Week, the leading newspaper for education in the nation.  When connecting to a recording of the webinar, you’ll be asked to sign-in with requested directory type of information.  (The May 24, 2016, event, approximately one hour, was sponsored for Education Week by Microsoft.)

World Affairs Today, Video of Gary Marx Presentation to the World Affairs Council in Washington, D.C., during June 2014.  Program devoted to his book, Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century: Out of the Trenches and into the Future, carried by the MHz Television Network and seen on stations nationwide.

School Administrator Magazine, AASA, November 2014, Gary Marx Feature Article, “Future-Focused Leadership.”  Issue also includes a series of articles addressing certain trends from Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century.

Directory of School Administrator Magazine articles related to Twenty-One Trends, November 2014.

“Four Big Picture Realities Will Impact Future National Security,” by Gary Marx, Pathfinder Magazine, the magazine of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.  Published June 30, 2016.  Gary Marx Viewpoint Article, found on pages 12 and 13, considers his Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century or national security.  An authorized Department of Defense Publication.

“It’s Not Just a Change…It’s a Reset:  Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century,” by Gary Marx, Independent Education Magazine, published by ISASA Publications, Johannesburg, South Africa, Winter 2015 Issue, Vol. 18, No. 3.  The article appears on pages 86, 88, 91, 92, and 94, with a special “From the Editor” introductory column on page 6. Our link now reaches archive copies.

Editor Comments:

Gary Marx Article:

Published Article:

Video Interview, Chat Room, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), Gary Marx guest, Worldwide Webcast.

AdvancEd Source, November-December 2014.  Lead article by Gary Marx, “Getting Students Ready for a Fast-Changing World.”  Distributed by this leading education accrediting organization to approximately 100,000 readers.  AdvancEd is a major accrediting organization that serves 34,000 schools and school systems–employing more than 4 million educators and enrolling more than 20 million students–across the United States and in 70 other nations.

Educational Leadership Digital Magazine (Video) (6:17)  The May 2015 issue of Educational Leadership Magazine included an interview with Gary Marx.  The interview was conducted, at special request, during the 2015 ASCD Annual Conference in Houston, Texas.  The video is accessible in the digital issue of that publication.,AAAAAmGjiRE~,escbD3Me8-wT_coVb7sTe18vG6vv3Oyk&bctid=4161145759001

Article in Chinese.  Education media in Taiwan carried a translation of Gary Marx article devoted to the purposes of education on the “Go Banana’s for Education” web site.  The item was posted on that site during June 2015.

“Focusing on the Future…Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century, A Community Conversation,” Rines Auditorium, Downtown Portland Public Library, Portland, Maine, May 4, 2015.  Gary Marx presented opening remarks about trends with implications for learning, economic growth and development, and quality of life.  Following his remarks, this brain trust of people from many walks of life were involved in a “Community Conversation” as a prelude to planning and the Portland Public Schools’ commitment to hearing ideas and sharing a sense of ownership.  (Approx. one hour)

Urban Libraries Council (ULC).  Gary Marx presented a webinar for ULC from the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 2015.  Leadership and staff from approximately 75 urban library systems participated in the online event, which included a presentation followed by a Q&A.  The program, “Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century…Getting and Staying in Touch with Our Communities,” runs approximately 60 minutes.  Note that responses and questions were submitted at the time of the program.

AdvancEd Source, (Accrediting Organization), Article by Gary Marx, “Staying in Touch with Societal Trends, Getting Students Ready for a Fast-Changing World,” Pages 2 and 3. Fall 2010.  AdvancEd is a major accrediting organization that serves 34,000 schools and school systems–employing more than 4 million educators and enrolling more than 20 million students–across the United States and in 70 other nations.

NSPRA Network, National School Public Relations Association, August 2014, Article, Gary Marx, “Out of the Trenches and into the Future…Let’s Interpret Education to Society and Society to Education.”

“It’s Not Just a Change.  It’s a Reset.  Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century,” Gary Marx, The Futurist Magazine online, World Future Society, July 1, 2014

Video. Television Story about Gary Marx Events in Presque Isle, Maine, Interview.

Toronto Star, Gary Marx,  One of Featured Interviews, “World Future Conference in Toronto: Futurists Describe the World in 2050,” by Kate Allen.

Character Scotland, December 2014, Article, Gary Marx, “Character and the Future.”

Huffington Post, January 20, 2015, Article, “Study: American Students Have High Levels of Education, But Stressful Lives,” by Rebecca Klein. Gary Marx, International Indicators Task Force.

Diane Ravitch Blog, January 20, 2015, “Major New Study Reports on Strengths and Vulnerabilities of American School System,” by Diane Ravitch.  Gary Marx, International Indicators Task Force.

EduTalk Radio, Interview, Gary Marx, James Harvey, and Rich Bagin Featured, January 26, 2015, “The Iceberg Effect: School Performance in Context.”  Discuss newly released study in international indicators for education with host Larry Jacobs.

Principal Center Radio, Interview, Gary Marx, September 25, 2014, “Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century.”  Hosted by Justin Baeder.  (Click on Download, then click on file.)

Educational Leadership Commentary on Gary Marx Presentation at 2003 ASCD Annual Conference by EL Editor, Marge Sherer. 

In “Perspectives, More or Less,” EL (Educational Leadership), the December 2003-January 2004 issue, Editor Marge Sherer incorporates Gary Marx’ comments from his then recent presentation at an ASCD National Conference.  Marx asks everyone with influence on the education system to be sure that standards we develop get students ready for the future and don’t freeze the system in the past.  He also warns against using high-stakes testing to subtly push kids out who don’t happen to be doing well, reinforcing the tyranny of the average.

Cuttings from report on a European Conference on Diversity and Inclusion, held in Tutzing, Germany, and engaging approximately 40 scholars, including Gary Marx.

Report prepared by Frances Kidwell, “Civic Education in a Global World.”

“We are approaching a critical epoch of history in which adjustments today will determine the viability of democratic functioning in the near future.  Gary Marx, consultant and president of the Center for Public Outreach, reports that ‘Demographic realities are stoking that  sense of urgency.  Consider this.  The population of the planet will grow from about 6 billion in 2000 to a projected 9 billion in 2050.  That’s a 50 percent increase in 50 years.  Divisions of the past now seem almost petty compared to the planet-wide need to deal with life or death issues posed by the environment, energy, and the availability of adequate fresh water and nutritious food—all coupled with the moral and ethical imperative of fairness.’” (Marx 2013)

“Gary Marx sees potential problems with the divisiveness of an ‘us and them’ approach, particularly when ‘…what we see as today’s majorities may one day become less than fifty percent of the population.  It’s possible that one of the current minority groups could become the majority.  In an us and them world, would we want them to say the same things, or would we want them to invest in civic education that helps us consider the needs, rights, and responsibilities of everyone?  The shoe could very well be on the other foot.’ (Marx 2013)  We live in a world that does not host static populations, perpetual governments, or infallible bodies as history has clearly shown.”

Newspaper Article following a presentation in suburban Chicago Wilmette Life, Sun Times, Gary Marx Presentation., copies available at

‘Education futurist’ counsels on teaching to Generation E

Wilmette, Illinois

August 24, 2010


Gary Marx posed the kind of question to his “classroom” of teachers Tuesday that teachers might ask of their own students.

“How many of you think the world is going through a normal amount of orderly change?” asked Marx of his audience of Wilmette District 39 teachers and staff members.

Education futurist Gary Marx talks with Wilmette District 39 teachers Tuesday. Marx, president of the Center for Public Outreach, spoke of the trends that will have a profound impact on students’ future as teachers prepared to welcome students back to school Wednesday.

(Allison Williams/Staff Photographer)

Education futurist Gary Marx, addressing Wilmette District 39 teachers Tuesday, says the role of education is not only to create good and employable citizens, but also to “help people live more interesting lives and release the genius that is already there.”

(Allison Williams/Staff Photographer)

“We need to develop an international focus,” education futurist Gary Marx says in his address to Wilmette District 39 teachers Tuesday. “If we don’t, we may not understand the students we have in our own classrooms.”

(Allison Williams/Staff Photographer)


Trends impacting the future

The astute class sensed where he was going.

“How many of you think the world is going through an incredible amount of unpredictable change?” he inquired as a follow-up. Hands shot up across the auditorium of Wilmette Junior High School.

With school scheduled to resume Wednesday, Marx’s talk served as a reminder that the rapid pace of change has profound implications for what educators teach and how they teach it. Marx contends the standards movement associated with high-stakes testing will fuel a demand for personalization in education.

The education futurist speaks and writes about the trends that will create a profoundly different future for today’s “millennial generation,” that is, people born between 1983 and 2003, and what Marx calls Generation E (for equilibrium), people born in 2004 and after.

Wilmette District 39 is about to launch a new 21st Century Teaching and Learning plan to be known as CONNECTED, an acronym drawn from the core beliefs that will guide its development.

District 39 is affirming a commitment to teaching the core subjects, while also opening students to a global perspective, nurturing the traits of successful learners and nourishing a sense of social responsibility. Other principles are: Empowering communication skills, cultivating collaboration and transforming technology into a continuous knowledge tool.

“We are going to have more students coming to school with more information on certain topics than their teachers have,” Marx said, noting that while their teachers were home the night before, reviewing assignments and papers, “the students were browsing the Internet and finding all sorts of interesting information.

“When a student comes into the classroom and says, ‘Hey, look what I found out last night,’ we can say, this is really interesting, but it raises a couple of questions.”

Rather than squelch the student’s interest, the teacher can use it as an opportunity to whet the appetite for more knowledge, and put the information in context.

“We can ask a couple of questions and say to the student, ‘Why don’t you see what you can find out,'” continued Marx. “All of a sudden, learning is becoming a partnership. The teacher is teaching the student, but the student is also teaching the teacher.”

Of course, the Internet also puts millions of questionable sources at students’ fingertips.

“We are going to need to teach media-literacy skills and social-networking skills,” said Marx. “We are going to need to teach students to sort the wheat from the chaff because they are going to need that kind of information to make decisions in the future.”

Speaking of changing demographics, Marx noted that the old will outnumber the young and no one racial or ethnic group will make up a majority of the population.

“We need to develop an international focus,” he said. “If we don’t, we may not understand the students we have in our own classroom.”

Marx is president of the Center for Public Outreach and a frequent adviser on futures issues to school systems. His latest two books are, Sixteen Trends: Their Profound Impact on our Future and Future-Focused Leadership: Preparing Schools, Students and Communities for Tomorrow’s Realities.

Article Prepared for The Futurist Magazine Online, 2014

It’s not just a change.  It’s a reset.

Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century

By Gary Marx

What gets our intellectual and emotional juices flowing?  What triggers our imaginations?  What turns hindsight into foresight?  It’s the anticipation, the restlessness, and even the opportunities that spring from the virtual certainty of uncertainty.

Like an anthem, Bob Dylan’s ageless alert echoes across the world—“The times…they are a changin’.”  Too often, we ignore that reality.  We try to apply shopworn solutions that once helped us endure but are no longer up to dealing with today’s problems.

Some of us, by choice, prefer to ignore, refute, or even hide from a cascade of realities driven by the convergence of massive trends.  A few dig trenches deep enough to protect themselves from the stimulation and rush of a world in constant motion.

Their hope?  If we can hold out long enough, life will return to what it was before high-speed computers; before robots; before an array of mobile, handheld, wireless devices; and before the incessant presence of social media.  Fully committed to the status quo or what we remember as better times, we lose touch, sometimes by choice.

One day, fully entrenched, we notice that battle cries from above have gone silent.  Peering from the rim of our sanctuary, we discover that the world has gone on without us.  We’ve been left behind, the smallest of islands floating in a mammoth sea.

Rather than simply peering from the tops of our trenches, we need to move toward higher ground.  Seriously considering trends can jolt our fixed concept of the horizon.  It can also fuel our foresight as we explore and shape a world of possibilities that might just be beyond our imaginations.

In Touch…or Out of Touch?

If we understand trends and issues, people will likely say we’re in touch.  If we don’t understand trends and issues, they will likely say we’re out-of-touch.

Our new book, Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century:  Out of the Trenches and Into the Future focuses directly on helping us stay in touch.  Working with a distinguished international Futures Council 21, we’ve tried to lay out the signals of forces in society that, in one way or another, have implications for every education system, business, community, country, and every one of us.  We protect ourselves from the reality of these forces at our own peril.  We are, after all, of this world, not separate from it.

“We haven’t inherited this planet from our parents. 

We’ve borrowed it from our children.”

Jane Goodall, British Primologist and Anthropologist.

A Glimpse of New Realities

Before we share a list of those 21 trends, let’s take a brief glimpse at society-shaking evidence of a perfect storm.  We are facing a convergence of new realities that should command our attention, wherever we are and whatever we do.

  • In the U.S., non-Hispanic Whites are expected to fall below 50 percent of the population by about 2043.  For those 18 and under—by 2018.  For those age 1 and under, the shift began in 2011; for those 5 and under, in 2013-14.  Majorities are becoming minorities.
  • Beginning in 2011, Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) began hitting 65 at a rate of about 10,000 a day.  That the handwriting on the wall, and the cycle will continue for about 30 years.
  • In 2012, members of the Millennial Generation (born 1982-2003) started turning 30 and will be assuming leadership that will be no less than revolutionary for society and every one of our institutions.
  • As growing numbers of Millennials upsize by downsizing, they will insist on quality, style, collaborative leadership, service, and results.
  • Big data and the cloud, coupled with super- and quantum computers, will lead to revolutions in everything from education to health care and raise even greater concerns about identity and privacy.  Computer speed, capacity, interactivity, and mobility will increase exponentially.
  • Lifelong education will move toward being available anywhere, anytime, and any way.  The same expectations for service will be true for many other industries.
  • While school curriculum will continue to be aligned with goals, pressure will grow for goals to be more aligned with individual students’ strengths and the needs of society.
  • Leadership will become increasingly horizontal with an emphasis on listening, engagement, collaboration, making sense, and developing a unifying sense of direction.
  • Look for a revolution in energy generation, distribution, storage, and efficiency. Renewable energy harvesters will become more commonplace.  Electro-chemists and superconducting technologists will help us increase battery capacity and develop a more efficient and dependable smart grid.
  • Scientific instruments, beginning in 2013, detected that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere had reached 400 parts per million, a level not seen on earth for three million years, long before the roughly 8,000 years that humans have occupied the planet.
  • By 2020, agricultural employment is projected to drop to 1.2 percent of the workforce, down from 69 percent in 1840.  Industrial employment is expected to continue its slide from 35 percent 1950 to 11.9 percent in 2020, despite something of an uptick in inshoring vs. outshoring.  Service employment is slated to hit 79.9 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020, up from 17 percent in 1840.  Of course, back then, the “makers” or “do-it-yourself (DIY)” movement was doing well.  Sewing machines were just emerging.  As we entered the second decade of the 21st century, the DIY dream was the 3D printer.

Converging…in the Streets

And then, there is convergence.  Of the dozens of possible examples, here is just one.  Anyone who stays in touch with broad societal trends might have known that people would take to the streets in several parts of the world.  Converging into a kind of perfect storm are forces such as—a generation of young people, largely Millennials, who want to solve problems and deal with injustices; soft economies and a lack of jobs; a questioning of authority; and social media that can energize and bring people together at a moment’s notice.

Systemic Innovation, A Gift That Keeps On Giving

Economic recovery and sustainability will depend, in part, on systemic innovation.  The harnessing of electricity and the fragile, simple-looking light bulb led to power plants, distribution lines, metering, generations of appliances that seem to have no end, and legions of factory workers.

The automobile eventually led to better roads, gas stations, repair shops, and jobs for highway patrol officers.  Now, drivers are topping off their electric vehicles at networks of charging stations.

The silicon chip, a gift that has truly kept on giving, has spawned one invention after another.  Nearly every one of them has increased the pace of change.  Inventors have blossomed along with a seemingly endless supply of apps, gaming technology, a deep well of information, and a vast array of social media that connect us with people and ideas.  Artificial intelligence and augmented reality, in their many forms, help us make it through the day.  Big data and the cloud, along with concerns about identity and privacy, are a reality, along with terabytes, petabytes, and exabytes.  We have computer, biological, medical, communication, instructional, aeronautical, space, military, administrative, financial, assistive, and a host of other technologies.  Flash Gordon lives again, his movies firmly implanted on our flash drives.

All of these systemic innovations are dynamic.  Non-stop research has led to an expectation of quantum leaps.  We’ve faced with new generations of more energy-efficient light bulbs and other forms of lighting.  A move is on to put what some are calling “driverless cars” on the road, using vehicle-to-vehicle communication.  Particle physics, including nanotechnology, is preparing us for the day when the silicon chip hits a wall and is no longer capable of doubling computer speed and capacity every 18 months or so.  Look for the rise of the qubit as quantum computers become even more practical.  In fact, the quest for viable quantum computers, spurred by theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, has led to a virtual tag team race among scientists and nations.

These are just a few examples of multiple forces that are having a profound impact on nearly every aspect of society and hatching new generations of systemic innovation.

It’s happened before.  It’s happening again.  To dig out of any major economic depression or recession, we need to bite a very large caliber bullet, namely the transformation of our physical and social infrastructure.  That means everything from transportation and manufacturing to lifestyles and education.  For a lot of us, hunkering down and defending the status quo might seem easier.  We can even run in the opposite direction, but we can’t hide from that stark, historic reality.  No one gets a free pass.

In 2008, we were being hit by the first waves of the Great Recession.  Economists and pundits stoked our hopes and fears.  On the one hand, they looked to the sky, gestured broadly, and warned that we were on the edge of another Great Depression of the 1930s…maybe something like The Panic of 1893.  On the other, a slightly different breed of cultural warriors, in the calmest of tones, assured us that it was just another adjustment in the economic cycle?

Stepping into the firestorm, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt declared, “The economic crisis doesn’t represent a cycle.  It’s an emotional, social, and economic reset.”

Social observer and author Richard Florida looked closely enough at history to find a pattern.  He observed what had happened following each significant economic downturn.  One of his conclusions:  Among other things, our technologies and preferred lifestyles had outgrown existing infrastructure.  It’s happened again, in our own lifetimes.  Push has come to shove.  Call it a dilemma—like trying to squeeze a size 12 foot into a size 8 shoe.

Our Infrastructure:  It’s Physical and Social

Sure enough.  When the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issued its 2009 “Report Card on American Infrastructure,” the average grade turned out to be a solid D.  ASCE was looking at physical infrastructure, such as aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, public parks and recreation, schools, roads, transit, rail, solid waste, and wastewater, all symbols of our built environment.  We are still trying to develop a renewed economy and civil society on an often outdated, sometimes crumbling and dangerous foundation.

Hope springs eternal.  However, if we truly do hope to build a more promising future, we had better expand the list to include our social infrastructure.  Consider the need to develop:  education that is broad, deep, personal, and purposeful; an ability to tap human imagination, creativity, and ingenuity, while we encourage innovation and entrepreneurship; and preparation that helps us become both employable and good members of a civil society.  Think about our need for…a sustainable environment; an even more reliable and affordable telecommunication system; and computer speed and capacity that will support and propel possibilities for the future.  That includes faster download speeds.

Whether we are able to transform our physical and social infrastructure depends largely on whether we are willing.  Are we willing to move beyond acute roadblocking polarization and toward putting an even higher value on ethical behavior?

Are we committed to helping our fellow human beings overcome poverty, wherever it exists in the world, and to ensuring equal opportunity…a more level playing field for all?  Are we willing to demand a sense of urgency about the need for emotional and physical well-being for ourselves and everyone else?

Can we get past our quarterly report mentality and deal with issues that demand a multi-generational commitment?  Just a few of those multi-generational issues include adequate clean energy, the environment, food and water, health, and education.

Let’s face it.  Our Industrial Age mentalities, habits, biases, misunderstandings, and sometimes just plain denial have run squarely into Global Knowledge/Information Age realities.

“We can’t do that because…”  Fill in the blank with anything you’d like, from a lack of funds to a shortage of know-how.  However, foresight is the new fundamental, and we need to persist.  Let’s not slam on the brakes whenever we run into short-sighted excuses and single-minded, sometimes self-serving rants from the trenches.  We need to learn from what we hear, engage even more thoughtful people in the process, and search for solutions.  However, our sights should always be set on an even brighter and more just future for people, our planet, and our future.  Wherever we are, we’re all in this together.

Another thought.  When people tell us what is impossible and give us their reasons why, we need to ask, over and over again, “What are we going to do about that?”

Our Twenty-One Trends   

Let’s take a look at trends that have emerged from years of observations and research.  Each one has earned a full chapter in our latest book.

Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century

From the book, Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century:  Out of the Trenches and Into the Future

By Gary Marx, President, Center for Public Outreach, Vienna, Virginia, USA

Published by Education Week Press/Editorial Projects in Education, 2014

  • Generations:  Millennials will insist on solutions to accumulated problems and injustices and will profoundly impact leadership and lifestyles.

GIs, Silents, Boomers, Xers   Millennials, Generation E (Equilibrium)

  • Diversity:  In a series of tipping points, majorities will become minorities, creating ongoing challenges for social cohesion.

Majority/Minority    Minority/Minority   Diversity = Division    Diversity = Enrichment Exclusion « Inclusion          

(Worldwide:  Growing numbers of people and nations will discover that if we manage our diversity well, it will enrich us.  If we don’t manage our diversity well, it will divide us.)

  • Aging:  In developed nations, the old will generally outnumber the young.  In underdeveloped nations, the young will generally outnumber the old.

Younger    Older           Older    Younger

  • Technology:  Ubiquitous, interactive technologies will shape how we live, how we learn, how we see ourselves, and how we relate to the world.

Macro →  Micro →  Nano →  Subatomic       Atoms  →  Bits

Megabytes → Gigabytes → Terabytes → Petabytes → Exabytes → Zettabytes (ZB)

  • Identity and Privacy:  Identity and privacy issues will lead to an array of new and often urgent concerns and a demand that they be resolved. 

Knowing Who You Are  ↔  Discovering Who Someone Thinks You Are. 

What’s Private?  ↔  What’s Not?

  • Economy:  An economy for a new era will demand restoration and reinvention of physical, social, technological, educational, and policy infrastructure.

Industrial Age Mentality   Global Knowledge/Information Age Reality

Social and Intellectual Capital   21st Century Products and Services

  • Jobs and Careers:  Pressure will grow for society to prepare people for jobs and careers that may not currently exist.Career Preparation«  Employability and Career Adaptability
  • Energy:  The need to develop new sources of affordable and accessible energy will lead to intensified scientific invention and political tension. 

Energy Affordability, Accessibility, Efficiency  ↔  Invention, Investment, and Political Tension.

  • Environmental/Planetary Security:  Common opportunities and threats will intensify a worldwide demand for planetary security.

Personal Security/Self Interest    Planetary Security,

Common Threats    Common Opportunities

  • Sustainability:  Sustainability will depend on adaptability and resilience in a fast-changing, at-risk world. 

Short-Term Advantage  «  Long-Term Survival     Wants of the Present  «  Needs in the Future

  • International/Global:  International learning, including relationships, cultural understanding, languages, and diplomatic skills, will become basic. 

Isolationist Independence  ↔  Interdependence

(Sub-trend:  To earn respect in an interdependent world, nations will be expected to demonstrate their reliability and tolerance.)

  • Personalization:  In a world of diverse talents and aspirations, we will increasingly discover and accept that one size does not fit all. 

Standardization   Personalization

  • Ingenuity:  Releasing ingenuity and stimulating creativity will become primary responsibilities of education and society.

Information Acquisition   Knowledge Creation and Breakthrough Thinking

  • Depth, Breadth, and Purposes of Education:  The breadth, depth, and purposes of education will constantly be clarified to meet the needs of a fast-changing world. 

Narrowness    Breadth and Depth

  • Polarization:  Polarization and narrowness will, of necessity, bend toward reasoned discussion, evidence, and consideration of varying points of view.

Narrowness  ↔  Open Mindedness     Self Interest     Common Good

  • Authority:  A spotlight will fall on how people gain authority and use it.  

Absolute Authority    Collaboration    Vertical     Horizontal  

Power to Impose    Power to Engage

  • Ethics:  Scientific discoveries and societal realities will force widespread ethical choices.

Pragmatic/Expedient    Ethical

  • Continuous Improvement:  The status quo will yield to continuous improvement and reasoned progress.  Quick Fixes/Status Quo    Continuous Improvement
  • Poverty:  Understanding will grow that sustained poverty is expensive, debilitating, and unsettling.

Sustained Poverty    Opportunity and Hope

  • Scarcity vs. Abundance:  Scarcity will help us rethink our view of abundance. 

Less    More     What’s Missing?    What’s Possible?

  • Personal Meaning and Work-Life Balance:  More of us will seek personal meaning in our lives in response to an intense, high tech, always on, fast-moving society.

Personal Accomplishment    Personal Meaning

Sources:  U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Environmental Protection Agency; The Futurist/World Future Society;, Nov. 8, 2008; The Great Reset by Richard Florida, Harper, 2011; “Report Card on American Infrastructure,” American Society of Civil Engineers.

About the Author

Gary Marx, CAE, APR, is an author, futurist, education and leadership counsel, social observer, and international speaker. He is president of the Center for Public Outreach, with headquarters in Vienna, VA.  Marx has written a series of trends books and has done presentations on six continents.  His book, Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century:  Out of the Trenches and Into the Future, was published in 2014.