The technology continues to be the main catalyst for change in the world. Technological advances offer companies, governments and social sector institutions more opportunities to increase their productivity, invent and reinvent offers and contribute to the well-being of humanity. And while it remains difficult to predict how technology trends will evolve, executives can better plan by tracking the development of new technologies, anticipating how companies might use them, and understanding the factors that affect innovation and adoption.
To that end, we worked with external and internal experts from the McKinsey Technology Council to identify and interpret 14 of the most important technology trends unfolding today. This study builds on the trend research we shared last year, adding new data and deeper analysis to provide a more detailed assessment of trends in two thematic groups: Silicon Age, which encompasses technologies digital and IT, and Engineering Tomorrow, which encompasses physical technologies in areas such as energy and mobility.
Our analysis looks at tangible factors such as investment, research activity and media coverage to gauge the momentum of each trend. We also conducted dozens of interviews and conducted hundreds of hours of research to find out which industries are likely to benefit the most when they absorb these technologies. And, recognizing that trends can change, we have considered the uncertainties and questions surrounding each one. (For more, see the sidebar, “Research Methodology”.)
Below, we outline these considerations for the 14 technology trends, so you can better understand them and consider how they relate to your organization.
Download detailed trend profiles
The Research overview offers summaries of 14 technology trends. You can also create a custom document containing the detailed profiles of the trends you choose: check the boxes in the list below to select the trend profiles, then click the “Download your custom report” button at the bottom to generate a PDF .