Project Management Institute

Megatrends 2021

Healing Fractures, Building Bridges

To deepen project leaders’ understanding of the major developments reshaping our world, PMI has identified five megatrends, which all share a common thread: they are exacerbating the endemic exclusion, disruption, and discontent that have crept into our society.

Tomorrow Starts Now: A Foreword from the CEO

Sunil Prashara

COVID upended almost every aspect of our lives last year— disrupting the very nature of how we live, work, and play. We now find ourselves at a unique moment in history. And as we look forward, we can see glimmers of how humanity is finding opportunities to not just recover, but transform.

This is not to diminish the economic and social challenges ahead. They are profound. But as we've seen since the pandemic first began, there is a new ecosystem of change-makers who are turning bold new strategies into reality.

Read the foreword from Sunil

  • Megatrends 2021

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COVID-19

COVID-19

The health impact cannot be overstated—but it’s everything else the pandemic laid bare that’s forcing companies to rethink business as usual.

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Climate Crisis

Climate Crisis

Perhaps the biggest existential threat humanity has ever faced, the climate crisis can be mitigated only with ambitious, innovative initiatives—and the project talent to make those plans reality.

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Additional Information

Civil, Civic, and Equality Movements

Civil, Civic, and Equality Movements

There was a time when organizations taking a stand on social issues was considered taboo or bad business. The massive global protests of 2020 underscored that silence is no longer an option—and change is a question of when, not if.

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Shifting Globalization Dynamics

Shifting Globalization Dynamics

Emerging markets may have rocketed onto the global stage, but serious infrastructure and education investments are needed to help them move beyond middle-income status.

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Mainstream Artificial Intelligence

Mainstream Artificial Intelligence

AI is now table stakes for many companies. What’s still desperately needed are hard conversations around the ethical implications of AI.

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What do the megatrends mean for projects?

Each of these megatrends will no doubt have enormous repercussions on its own. But they’re not happening in a bubble. Nor are projects. There are three ways organizations can target all the megatrends, through the types of projects they focus on and their approach to those projects, creating a multiplier effect for good—and a powerful magnitude of change:

Making Social Impact Projects a Priority

Making Social Impact Projects a Priority

The societal impact of each megatrend is large and growing. Ensuring that more projects achieve net-positive social impact—particularly in the areas of sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion—isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s a question of business survival.

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Fostering Open and Innovative Partnerships

Fostering Open and Innovative Partnerships

To successfully pursue social impact projects, organizations can’t go it alone. A much more diverse range of partners and partnership models can help achieve significantly better outcomes. And local/regional partnerships can mitigate the negative impact of some of the megatrends.

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Rethinking Relationships with Stakeholders

Rethinking Relationships with Stakeholders

Whether social impact projects rise or fall also depends on engaging a much wider audience. Organizations that employ a broader definition of customers and stakeholders, and adapt their value proposition accordingly, can better harness the power of many.

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Conclusion: An Ecosystem of Change-makers

Driving systemic change depends on collaboration and inclusion, both within and outside the business: employees, partners, customers, and communities at local, national, and global levels. More specifically, it relies on an ecosystem of change-makers—all those who can turn ideas into reality, whether through transformational change or contribution to value delivery.

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