An overview of HolonIQ's Global Impact Trends Ontology

Updated over a week ago


HolonIQ’s Trend Tracker, or more formally the Global Impact Trend Ontology, is a set of Trends across the global impact economy evaluated by HolonIQ every quarter. Trends are classified on a number of dimensions and scored on Hype, Likelihood and Impact. Every quarter Trends may be added or removed from the Ontology.

What is a Trend

Topics versus trends.

  • Topics are broad areas of interest or discussion.

  • Trends represent the movement or direction of change within a topic over time.

A topic and a trend can be understood as different aspects of information in a context. A topic refers to the subject or theme of discussion, research, study, or conversation. It is usually broad and can encompass a wide variety of subtopics. For example, "climate change" is a topic that includes many related subtopics such as global warming, greenhouse gases, deforestation, and more. A topic does not inherently suggest any particular movement or change over time.

A trend, on the other hand, is indicative of a general direction in which something is developing or changing over a specific period. This change could be an increase or decrease, a growth or decline, or a shift in behavior, opinion, or style. For instance, the increased usage of renewable energy sources is a trend within the broader topic of energy production.

Trends usually carry a temporal dimension, often analyzed in the past, present, and future context. They reflect an observable pattern that has emerged over a certain timeframe. Conversely, topics are less time-dependent and can remain relevant for a longer duration, irrespective of specific shifts or changes within them.

Trend Scope

The scope of a trend often varies significantly, affecting different layers of society, markets, or even global systems. Understanding these layers—from Mega to Micro—can provide economists, market analysts, and policymakers with valuable perspectives to make well-informed decisions.

Mega: Mega trends are expansive, global forces that shape the future landscape by having far-reaching impact across countries, industries, and societies. They are persistent, long-term trends that influence a wide array of areas, from global economic frameworks to natural ecosystems. Examples could include globalization, climate change, and demographic shifts. These trends are not confined to a single industry but ripple across multiple sectors, affecting billions of people and often lasting for decades.

Macro: Macro trends are large-scale movements that have a more limited time horizon than Mega trends but are still significant enough to have broad societal or economic impacts. They often manifest across multiple industries and countries but are generally more confined in scope and duration. Examples could include the growth of the gig economy, shifts in global trade dynamics, or evolving energy policies. Macro trends often stem from changes in technology, regulations, or consumer preferences, and they typically unfold over years rather than decades.

Industry: Industry trends are specific to a particular sector or field, affecting stakeholders like businesses, consumers, and regulators within that domain. These trends might include technological advancements, regulatory changes, or shifts in consumer behavior that significantly impact the industry. While they may be influenced by Macro or Mega trends, their impact is considerably more focused. An example could be the adoption of telehealth in the healthcare industry or the transition to renewable energy in the power sector.

Micro: Micro trends are the most localized and immediate, typically affecting specific groups, communities, or even individual companies. These could involve local market demands, community-based movements, or organizational shifts within a single company. Micro trends are often short-lived, spanning months or a few years, and their impact is highly specific. Examples might include the popularity of a new local food craze or the implementation of a novel management style within a particular company.

Trend Drivers

HolonIQ has developed a modified version of the traditional PESTLE framework to include Demographics and Ethics, and as such, we refer to it as PEDESTLE.

In the context of trends and scenario analysis, drivers refer to the key factors or forces that shape and influence the direction and outcome of a particular trend or scenario. These drivers are the underlying forces that have the potential to drive change and have a significant impact on the future.

Trends are classified by their primary driver, noting that in many instances, the Trend will be driven by a number of different factors.

Political: Political drivers refer to the role of governmental actions, policies, and geopolitical factors in shaping the trajectory of a trend. This encompasses everything from election outcomes and legislative initiatives to international relations and trade agreements. The influence of political drivers is particularly evident in areas like healthcare and energy, where policy decisions can significantly alter market conditions and public investment.

Economic: Economic drivers involve the impacts of market dynamics, fiscal policies, and macroeconomic indicators like inflation, unemployment, and GDP growth on a given trend. The cyclicality of economic drivers often affects sectors like real estate and consumer goods and is closely monitored through frameworks like the business cycle.

Demographic: Demographic drivers focus on population characteristics such as age distribution, migration patterns, and cultural diversity. These factors can have long-lasting impacts on trends in areas like healthcare, where an aging population could drive increased demand for certain services.

Environmental: Environmental drivers involve natural resources, climate conditions, and ecological factors that influence a trend. For example, the pressing issue of climate change drives renewable energy technologies and sustainable urban planning.

Social: Social drivers consider the influence of cultural norms, public opinion, and societal values. These can act as catalysts or barriers in accepting and adopting a trend, as seen in the societal debates surrounding data privacy and income inequality.

Technological: Technological drivers pertain to advancements in science and technology that create new opportunities or disrupt existing frameworks. In the realm of education, for instance, the advent of online learning platforms has drastically altered how educational content is delivered.

Legal: Legal drivers include regulatory frameworks, laws, and court decisions that either facilitate or constrain the emergence of a trend. Legal considerations are often pivotal in sectors like healthcare and infrastructure, where compliance with regulatory standards is essential.

Ethical: Ethical drivers focus on the moral principles and ethical considerations that can either propel or hinder a trend. Ethical drivers have been gaining prominence in debates surrounding artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and corporate social responsibility.

By integrating the PEDESTLE model into their analyses, economists, market analysts, and policymakers can better understand the complex interplay between various forces that govern the evolution of trends across sectors.

Trend Evolution

Trend evolution is HolonIQ’s representation of the life cycle stages that a technology or trend typically undergoes, providing valuable insights for economists, market analysts, and decision-makers.

Emerging: In the Emerging stage, a technology or trend is in its nascent phase, often backed by theoretical frameworks or initial prototypes but lacking practical applications or widespread recognition. This is the point where academic research and early-stage venture capital investment are most influential. The focus is largely on the realm of possibility rather than proven use cases, and the public may be largely unaware of its existence.

Accelerating: The Accelerating stage marks a period of rapid growth in public awareness, investor interest, and developmental research. Here, the hype starts to build, often outpacing the actual development or implementation of the technology. The trend begins to gain media attention, contributing to inflated expectations and sometimes leading to speculative bubbles.

Peak: At the Peak stage, hype reaches its zenith, characterized by heightened media coverage, exuberant investor interest, and often, inflated valuations. This stage is commonly fraught with unrealistic expectations, and a gap emerges between the public perception of the technology and its actual capabilities. It is a critical point where scrutiny intensifies, and not all technologies pass this litmus test of viability.

Decline: Following the Peak comes the Decline or "Trough of Disillusionment" stage. This phase is marked by a sharp decline in public interest, media coverage, and investment as the limitations of the technology become apparent. Here, many initiatives fail or get abandoned, but some survive and enter into a refinement process, focusing on solving real-world problems rather than living up to the hype.

Productive: In the Productive or "Slope of Enlightenment" stage, the trend or technology starts to find its footing with practical and beneficial applications. Companies begin to understand how to implement it effectively, leading to more realistic expectations and sustainable growth. The focus shifts from speculation to generating real value.

Maturing: The Maturing or "Plateau of Productivity" stage signifies that the technology has reached a level of stability and is widely accepted in the market. The trend is now well-understood, and its benefits and limitations are clear. It becomes incorporated into new businesses as a standard practice, and the market starts to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality providers.

Tapering: Finally, the Tapering stage marks a decline in growth rates, often because the market is saturated or a newer innovation has supplanted the technology. However, the technology itself remains productive and is commonly used, often becoming a foundational element in its respective sector.

By comprehending these stages, professionals can better anticipate the likely trajectory of a trend or technology, making informed investment, development, and policy-making decisions.

Trend Measures

HolonIQ Trends are scored every quarter on three dimensions. Customers can set up their own scoring rubrics to assess trends on their own dimensions as well.

Hype: Hype is the level of media attention, public discourse, and speculative enthusiasm surrounding a particular trend, technology, or policy initiative. It is the buzz that generates conversations in boardrooms, captures headlines in media, and stimulates social media dialogues. While hype may elevate the profile of a subject matter, it is not necessarily an indicator of substantive progress or success. It can both amplify the perceived value of a trend or, conversely, contribute to inflated expectations that result in a 'hype cycle,' describing the maturity and adoption of specific technologies.

Likelihood: Likelihood assesses the probability that a given trend, policy, or technological innovation will come to fruition or reach widespread adoption within a defined timeframe. This metric is often backed by quantitative analyses, incorporating variables like market demand, regulatory frameworks, and technological feasibility.

Impact: Impact refers to the long-term positive and negative effects that a trend or policy will have on economic metrics, societal structures, and environmental sustainability. The metric considers ripple effects, externalities, and systemic changes beyond immediate, tangible benefits or drawbacks. Impact analyses often employ methodologies like cost-benefit analysis, life-cycle assessment, and social return on investment to provide a multi-dimensional view.

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