The fine folks at Now and Next and Future Exploration Network have published their Trend Blend 2007+, which is a visual map of trends in 2007 and beyond.
This map is a comprehensive look at mega-trends arounds us. I find these graphical depictions of trends fascinating. While no map can tell you everything, they are valuable for triggering ideas at a glance.
I will offer one piece of commentary on the map, only because the founder of Future Exploration Network, Ross Dawson, invited people to “run with it” and offer up suggestions. OK, Ross, since you issued the invitation, let me give this bit of input:
I’d like to see a closer relationship depicted among RFID, the death of cheques (checks, for all you in the United States), digital cash and contactless payment on the map. Those topics are in my mind clearly related. Yet the map does not demonstrate the relationships very well or really at all.
RFID, which stands for radio frequency identification, is the underlying technology that makes contactless cards possible. Contactless cards are credit cards such as the MasterCard PayPass that allow you to simply wave the card or tap the reader in order to register payment, instead of taking the time to swipe the card or hand it to a cashier.
Digital cash and the death of cheques are cause and effect. And one could make the case that RFID and contactless payment cards are moving us faster and faster away from using paper bills and coins and checks, toward using 0’s and 1’s to move money (digital cash).
Yet when you look at this map, if it weren’t for the fact that I write about RFID, I wouldn’t have a clue about the relationships. So, my input is that I would like to see the map more clearly indicate such relationships.
View the Trend Blend 2007+ map in full size (PDF file). See what you think. (And, yes, that resemblance to the London subway map is not coincidental.)