I recently had the opportunity to listen to Melanie Seier Larsen, Principal at The Boston Consulting Group, talking about the 5 megatrends to monitor in business. The Boston Consulting Group studies a series of megatrends, major trends with the power to reshape the landscape of economic opportunity and risk, each year. These megatrends are focused on several pressing issues being faced today, which will continue to have an impact on how businesses are operated, developed, and managed.

Although there are several dozen megatrends monitored by The Boston Consulting Group, in this talk Melanie Seier focused on five of the most relevant for the general wellbeing of women and men in society. These are:

1. Aging Population

The average age of the world population is 30 years, but the average age of some countries in Europe is already 45. This trend towards an older population can only continue, not just in certain regions but across the whole world. Companies should start getting ready to accommodate the aging population, firstly by the development of new products, but also by the way they approach their business and how they design their premises. It is important to know that the attitudes of these consumers will be different. They will be inclined to buy products they believe in, and that are also simple to understand. One great example is Kaiser’s, the first ever senior-friendly store, where packages are smaller and price labels are bigger.

2. Health and Wellness

It is not a surprise that this trend also made it to the top of the list. Our concern for health and wellness as consumers is increasing, and so are the number of ventures related to this field. New niche markets are appearing, which include stylish exercise apparel, organic and pesticide-free food, and the introduction of cleaning products with natural ingredients. One such example is successful actress turned entrepreneur, Jessica Alba, with her launch of The Honest Company, which sells non-toxic household products. The company has been recently valued at 1.7 billion dollars.

3. War on Talent

The fight for the best talent pool has been going on for some time now, and it doesn’t look like this trend will cease any time soon. It has been a challenge for companies to find the right talent, let alone keep it. Competition is stiff, and business landscapes are changing in more complex directions, so employees are continuing to actively seek programmes which will keep their knowledge updated and broaden their networks. This is one of the reasons enrolment in executive programs is increasing. Companies must find a way to accommodate the needs of their employees by offering these types of executive educational opportunity.

4. New Media

Women are finding and cultivating communities based on their interests, passions, or hobbies. They have also managed to successfully capitalise on these communities through online platforms such as social media, blogs, and Youtube. The most notable example is that of Italian fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni, who through her blog, The Blonde Salad, together with a loyal fan base, has reached the level of stardom. She has launched her own shoe line, Chiara Ferragni, and participated as a spokesperson and model for brands like Pantene, Guess, Dior and Burberry. These business partnerships will earn her an estimated 8 million dollars this year.

5. Innovation

Innovation has already been established as a serious discipline. With this comes the opportunity to expand our understanding and focus on distinctive niche markets. In her talk, Melanie discussed examples of women specific events, think tanks, and change models for innovation, mainly because women would have to be involved for innovation to be successful in products and services related to women, and for any substantial change to happen. Who better to innovate than those who know first-hand of the struggles and needs within this context?