Top Australian scientist discusses “megatrends” with Australia Awards alumni



Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, a principal scientist at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) gave a talk about strategic planning for the future in his meeting with 40 Australia Awards alumni at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, on August 18, 2016.


Ms Nadia Krivetz, Counsellor, Australian Embassy Vietnam, introduces Dr Hajkowicz at the event

Ms Nadia Krivetz, Counsellor, Australian Embassy Vietnam, introduces Dr Hajkowicz at the event


This event was aimed at connecting Australia Awards alumni directly with Dr Hajkowicz, a top scientist and one of Australia’s most heavily sought speakers in the field of strategy and foresight.


In April 2016, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs launched the first Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy 2016–2020. Under the global strategy, one of the Australian Government’s strategic actions is to connect alumni to each other and to Australians.


Dr Hajkowicz lists 7 megatrends in his talk

Dr Hajkowicz lists 7 megatrends in his talk.


In Dr Hajkowicz’s talk, he listed seven megatrends over the next 5 to 20 years. They are “More from Less,” “Planetary Pushback,” “The Silk Highway,” “Forever Young”, “Digital Immersion,” “Porous Boundaries,” and “Great Expectations.”


Dr Hajkowicz spoke of the “More from Less” megatrend as innovation in meeting human needs by more efficient use of mineral, water, energy and food resources in light of escalating demand and constrained supply. “Planetary Pushback” referred to the earth system changes which are creating challenges for humanity, including climate change and antibiotic resistance. “The Silk Highway” was the rapid growth of emerging economies, urbanisation, geopolitical change and the transition from industrialisation into technologically advanced service sectors. The “Forever Young” megatrend was the rise of the ageing population, retirement savings gap, longer lifespans, increasing healthcare expenditure, lifestyle-related illness and diet and mental health awareness.


“Digital immersion” was the exponential growth in computing power, device connectivity, data volumes, internet users, artificial intelligence and technological capabilities. “Porous Boundaries” were changes in organisational models, governance systems and employer-employee relations in a more agile, networked and flexible economy which breaks through traditional boundaries. And finally, “Great Expectations” implied the rise of the all-important experience factor as society and consumers have rising expectations for personalised and positive experiences involving social interaction, morals and ethics, and the physical world.


Australia Awards alumni listen to Dr Hajkowicz’s talk.

Australia Awards alumni listen to Dr Hajkowicz’s talk.


An animated discussion followed Dr Hajkowicz’s talk with many thought-provoking questions from Australia Awards alumni, such as: “What are the trigger points for the megatrends?”, “What are the ramifications of the megatrends on the culture/religion?” and “Can you comment on the counter-megatrends versus megatrends?”.


Earlier on the same day, Dr Hajkowicz also spoke at the Ministry of Planning and Investment and Hanoi University. The event at the Ministry of Planning and Investment was attended by Vice Minister Dang Huy Dong and former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Phan, among others.


As a principal scientist in strategic foresight at CSIRO, based in Brisbane, Dr Hajkowicz spends his time exploring future trends, risks and scenarios to help people plan for change and make wiser choices. His research background is in geography, economics and decision theory.


He is widely published in the international research literature. He has 85 publications listed on “Google Scholar” with over 1,500 citations. In addition to his role at CSIRO, Dr Hajkowicz holds an associate position with the University of Melbourne Business School – Mt Eliza Executive Education. He also teaches an advanced strategy unit in the Queensland University of Technology MBA Program.


In May 2015, his new book “Global Megatrends” was released and featured in the best business reads of the Qantas Inflight Magazine.