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Megatrend methodology to identify development opportunities

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A megatrend methodology was developed in order to determine the development opportunities for each of the states in Mexico. The methodology consists of the identification of an area of knowledge and then the application of each of the seven steps of the methodology (including literature review, experts interviews, tracking of emerging technologies, identification of stakeholders, etc.), which allows to be able to describe a possible scenario. This methodology has already developed 12 technological megatrend reports; these reports have been used for a larger planning exercise using industrial cluster data, as well as geographical, economical, political data to determine development opportunities for each state. This research focuses on the development of the previously described Megatrend methodology.
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Megatrend Methodology to Identify Development Opportunities
David Güemes-Castorena
Monterrey Tech, Center for Quality and Manufacturing, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México
Abstract--A megatrend methodology was developed in order
to determine the development opportunities for each of the
states in Mexico. The methodology consists of the identification
of an area of knowledge and then the application of each of the
seven steps of the methodology (including literature review,
experts interviews, tracking of emerging technologies,
identification of stakeholders, etc.), which allows to be able to
describe a possible scenario. This methodology has already
developed 12 technological megatrend reports; these reports
have been used for a larger planning exercise using industrial
cluster data, as well as geographical, economical, political data
to determine development opportunities for each state.
This research focuses on the development of the previously
described Megatrend methodology.
I. INTRODUCTION
Since the mid-twentieth century it had become clearer the
acceleration at which the changes have occurred at the social,
cultural, economic and technological areas. Such
acceleration of changes has increased the scope of the impact
on the nations, organizations and people. This juxtaposition
of events has led to unprecedented changes in the way of
human relationship, which also impacts the economic
developments in all countries.
The complexity of the environment, the speed and
magnitude of the changes require an analysis of emerging
regional and global conditions, identifying the most relevant
elements, to generate the best strategies. These decisions
may lead to the exploitation of development opportunities in
people and communities to achieve new ways of creating and
efficient and effective use of knowledge.
John Naisbitt in his book Megatrends 2000 [3], Alvin
Toffler's Future Shock [4], and recently in Revolutionary
Wealth [5], and Herman Maynard and Susan Mehrtens in The
fourth wave [2] were the pioneers in analyzing and
identifying major trends that directly affect the world and
manifest themselves in a multidimensional plane. Thereafter,
the seminal work resulted in observatories future trends,
which have been devoted to delineate all the phenomena
which it believes will influence the society and economy in
the near future.
According to these authors and several think tanks
(RAND Corporation, Stanford´s Delta Scan Research and
Deutsche Bank, for example), it is necessary to identify these
global trends and integrate them to any prospective study that
has utility in the medium and long term. The megatrends,
according to Naisbitt and Aburdene [3], are the great forces
in human and technology development that affect the future
in all areas of human activity, in a horizon of ten to fifteen
years. Governments, institutions and companies must take
them into account when designing their long-term planning
and goals.
Recognizing its usefulness, the megatrends provide
information on likely future through their present and,
therefore, become a starting point to see where it moves the
world. Identify the signals that indicate possible future
products and its impact on behavior and organizations is
becoming an essential tool in any planning process. This
research sought to identify the impact of global mega trends
in high value added businesses relevant to regional
development in the states of Mexico. This research
developed a methodology that identifies the most important
components of the mega trends and focuses on a technique
for identifying products and services commercially attractive
in the future by analyzing the most important elements in
strengthening of the megatrends, as well as in assessing the
impact on the market and society.
II. LITERATURE REVIEW
Foresight helps us to determine where we should aim to
improve the strategies and decision making in firms, regions
and countries. Foresight is becoming more important, this is
why there are different methods to look at the future. For
example, Table 1 shows the ten most important methods used
in the continents according to prospective studies carried out
by Georghiu, Harper, Keenan, Miles, & Popper [1]; it shows
that five of the seven continents are using some means of
Mega Trends Analysis; never the less the proposed
methodology includes four of the most widely used methods
(see shaded area): Literature review, expert panels, interviews
and scenarios, which demonstrates that the methodology was
applied more than 40% of the most used techniques.
Some of the barriers found while doing the literature
review was that there was not a clear methodology to develop
a mega trend analysis, and it was more like an art than like a
science. There were some document we used as examples of
the expected outcome, such as the ones published by the
Dutch Bank and Siemens´ “pictures of the future” magazines
which broadly described the process, but there was no detail
at all. Therefore, it was decided to construct a methodology
for the specific needs: to construct a megatrend definition to
help to determine the specific development opportunities for
each of the states in Mexico.
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TABLE 1. TOP 10 FORESIGHT METHODS BY CONTINENT [1]
TOP UE 27+ Trans-Europa Norte América Latino América Asia África Oceanía
1
Literature Review Literature Review Expert´s Panel Other methods Expert´s Panel Scenarios Backcasting
2
Expert´s Panel Scenarios Future workshops Expert´s Panel Scenarios
Megatrend
Analysis
Interviews
3
Scenarios Expert´s Panel Literature Review Literature Review Literature Review Literature Review Citizens´panels
4
Other methods Future workshops
Technological
Roadmapping
Environment
scanning
Interviews Future workshops Questionnaires
5
Future workshops Brainstorming Key technologies Brainstorming
Questionnaires Expert´s Panel
Mega Trend
Extrapolation
6
Brainstorming
Megatrend
Analysis
Scenarios Questionnaires Brainstorming
Simulation &
Modeling
Megatrend
Analysis
7
Mega Trend
Extrapolation
Mega Trend
Extrapolation
M
egatrend Analysis Interviews Delphi Essays Delphi
8
Delphi Other methods
Interviews SWOT Analysis
Mega Trend
Extrapolation
Cuestionario
/ examines
Scenarios
9
SWOT Analysis
Simulation &
Modeling
Essays
Scenarios
M
egatrend Analysis
Mega Trend
Extrapolation
Brainstorming
10
Interviews Questionnaires
Mega Trend
Extrapolation
Structural analysis
Simulation &
Modeling
Expert´s Panel
III. METHODOLOGY
The methodology was developed in seven steps, each one
with stages, and each stage with a set of activities to be
performed in order to obtain the desired output.
The logic of the methodology consists on dealing with just
a couple of the elements of the megatrend at a time; after
finishing the seven steps, the megatrend has been holistically
developed. The diagram which integrates all the seven steps
is depicted in Figure 1.
Figure 1. The megatrend methodology.
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Figure 1 describes the relationship among the seven steps.
The methodology was created with a set of templates, and
database resources which helped the experts to develop the
megatrends. The steps include a group of sub-steps, which
are described next. This paper describes each of the sub-
steps in general due to the extension of the methodology.
The methodology was developed with software, and a manual
which guides the group of experts along the megatrend
construction process.
Step 1. Building of the initial definition of the mega-trend.
The first step starts with a brief description of the
methodology, which helps to set the starting point for the
researcher. The activities of step one are described in Table 1.
These activities include the identification of changing areas
of technology, how these technologies impulse the
megatrend, and the construction of a taxonomy, which will
help later to determine the areas that will be changing faster.
TABLE 1 STEP 1. BUILD THE INITIAL DEFINITION OF THE MEGA-TREND.
Step Sub-Step Activity
1. BUILD THE INITIAL
DEFINITION OF THE
MEGA-TREND
1.1 Analyze the megatrend, based
on the proposed name and identify
its main components.
1.1.1 Check the name of Megatrends and briefly describe the changes in
science and technology and identify the originating source for the changes.
1.1.2 Identify areas where changes generate specific applications and
describe these applications.
1.1.3 Describe the technologies related to the megatrend.
1.1.4 Develop a taxonomy for each of the related technologies.
1.1.5 Identify the keywords within this megatrend.
1.2 Develop an initial definition of
the megatrend.
1.2.1 Write an initial definition of the megatrend.
Step 2. Review important and relevant information about
the mega-trend.
The second step aims at reviewing important and relevant
information associated to the studied megatrend, as well as to
reviewing what some experts might think on the future. This
step is very important since most of researchers working on a
specific area; do not know much about foresight studies. This
literature review will help them to identify future behaviors,
also relevant to the development of the mega trend. The
review also aims at knowing the leading experts of the
technologies that are changing, classifies them and the
researcher will invite them at a validation round along with
other experts. The activities of step two are described in
Table 1 & Table 2.
TABLE 2. STEP 2. REVIEW IMPORTANT & RELEVANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE MEGA-TREND.
Step Sub-Step Activity
2. REVIEW
IMPORTANT &
RELEVANT
INFORMATION
ABOUT THE
MEGA-TREND.
2.1 Documentation of the
megatrend.
2.1.1 Identify previous studies and relevant information to this Megatrend.
2.1.2 Find other key references on this megatrend.
2.2. Describe the scientific,
technological and social
developments leading to
the mega trends and
individuals and institutions
involved.
2.2.1 Identify the scientific, technological and social developments that
significantly drive the megatrend.
2.2.2 Make a short description of the scientific, technological and social
developments previously identified.
2.2.3 For each change, describe the transformation that will experience.
2.2.4 Identify the previously identified related technologies with the scientific /
technological developments and their transformations, as well as new products
and processes related to these technologies.
2.2.5 Identify the people and institutions involved and enrich the map of related
technologies (2.2.4).
2.3 Identify experts related
to this megatrend.
2.3.1 Identify the experts for this megatrend.
2.3.2 Identify scientific / technology leaders.
2.3.3 Identify the experts to be invited to a meeting to validate the Megatrend.
Step 3. Development of the revised definition and internal
validation.
The third step seeks at including the information found in
step 2 into a brief report. Since a megatrend relates countless
types and sources of information, after a couple of steps, it is
necessary for the researcher to write down the findings and to
include relevant information as it is being found. The
activities of step three are described in Table 3. These
activities include at identifying the voluntary / involuntary
recipients of the megatrend, the work being performed at the
most recognized universities, growing areas of research,
types of project being funded by venture capital, identifying
the relevant emerging technologies, and the inclusion of these
findings into the report.
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TABLE 3. STEP 3. DEVELOPMENT OF THE REVISED DEFINITION AND INTERNAL VALIDATION.
Step Sub-Step Activity
3. DEVELOPMENT
OF THE REVISED
DEFINITION AND
INTERNAL
VALIDATION.
3.1 Identify who are the recipients.
3.1.1 Identify the most important voluntary and involuntary recipients
of the megatrends and describe the way they are impacted.
3.2 Identify the research lines
currently carried out by the
universities / research centers,
which influence the megatrends.
3.2.1 Identify the relevant research lines carried out by the top 50
universities.
3.2.2 Identify areas in growth (within the body of knowledge) of the
megatrend.
3.2.3 Describe how the research areas and the growing areas influence
on the megatrend.
3.3 Identify the type of projects /
areas in which venture capital is
being invested and is currently
influencing the Megatrends.
3.3.1 Identify types of projects / areas relevant to the megatrend.
3.3.2 Describe how these projects / areas influence the megatrend.
3.4 Identify additional elements that
are not covered by the initial
description.
3.4.1 Identify additional elements that are not covered by the initial
description and indicate its nature.
3.4.2 Justify the inclusion of these elements and describe how they
enrich or transform the original design of the megatrend.
3.5 Identify new emerging
technologies.
3.5.1 Identify new emerging technologies found in the literature review.
3.5.2 Evaluate the social and economic impact of each emerging
technology, and display the results graphically.
3.5.3 Evaluate the information obtained in 3.5.2 and explain how the
emerging technologies impact the megatrend.
3.6 Develop a revised definition 1.
3.6.1 Integrate all information developed in previous activities in a
prose description of the megatrends.
Step 4. Finding the opportunities.
The fourth step continues with the purpose of the
methodology, to be able to find development opportunities.
First, the technologies are grouped using an affinity diagram.
The opportunities are found after identifying the challenges
faced by the related and emerging technologies – the
problems the technologies are facing such that they have not
been able to permeate the market. With these challenges, the
researcher needs to find the opportunities for each group of
technologies; the opportunities are then translated into
products and/or services that will allow the development of
the group of technologies. The activities of step four are
described in Table 4.
TABLE 4. STEP 4. FINDING THE OPPORTUNITIES.
Step Sub-Step Activity
4. FINDING THE
OPPORTUNITIES.
4.1 Identify applications of
emerging technologies.
4.1.1 Identify possible areas of application of the related and emerging
technologies.
4.1.2 Group the related and emerging technologies and place them in an
affinity diagram.
4.2 Identify opportunities and
challenges for each affinity group
and identify new products
associated with each challenge and
opportunity.
4.2.1 Identify the main challenges for each group of related
technologies.
4.2.2 Develop a list of opportunities from the challenges faced by each
affinity group of technologies.
4.2.3 Identify the products / services that are derived from the
challenges and opportunities identified above.
Step 5. Revised definition of megatrends and their
implications in terms of opportunities and products.
The fifth step continues with the integration of previous
information into the description of the megatrend. This
document will be passed out to a small group of experts who
will revise the document. A presentation will be developed
for the meeting where the results will be discussed. The
comments and the feedback for the obtained results are
included into the report and it is enriched. The activities of
step five are described in Table 5.
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TABLE 5. STEP 5. REVISED DEFINITION OF MEGATRENDS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS IN TERMS OF OPPORTUNITIES AND PRODUCTS.
Step Sub-Step Activity
5. REVISED DEFINITION
OF MEGATRENDS AND
THEIR IMPLICATIONS IN
TERMS OF
OPPORTUNITIES AND
PRODUCTS.
5.1 Incorporate the latest
information on the revised
definition to construct a revised
definition 2 of the Megatrend.
5.1.1 Create a document from the list of application areas, challenges,
opportunities and products, previously obtained.
5.1.2 Integrate the above document to the revised definition.
5.2 Create a presentation. 5.2.1 Create a presentation.
5.3 Validate the definition with a
small group of experts.
5.3.1 Identify a small group of experts
5.3.2 Show to this group the presentation made in 5.2.
5.3.3 Compile comments and feedback from this presentation for the
preparation of a synthesis of this information.
5.3.4 Enrich the revised definition 2 and the presentation of Megatrends.
Step 6. Consultation and validation with panel of experts.
The sixth step consists on a second consultation and
validation to a larger group of experts. Since this
methodology was developed for different topics, and the
experts´ location was unknown, the researchers were given
different options, each with a set of templates that will let
them focus on the content only; the options were a meeting,
questionnaires and interviews. Once the consultation and the
validation were performed, the researcher incorporated
findings into the report. The activities of step six are
described in Table 6.
TABLE 6. STEP 6. CONSULTATION AND VALIDATION WITH PANEL OF EXPERTS.
Step Sub-Step Activity
6. CONSULTATION AND
VALIDATION WITH
PANEL OF EXPERTS.
6.1.1 Evaluate the type of consultation
process used.
6.1.1 Evaluate the type of consultation process to be used –
Interviews, meeting, questionnaires.
6.1.2 Establish the type of process to be used for validation.
6.2 Development of the consultation
process, its implementation and
synthesis of information obtained.
6.2.1 Development of the consultation process, its implementation
and synthesis of information obtained.
6.3 Use of information obtained in the
consultation process with the group of
experts.
6.3.1 Generate a report about the products linked to the megatrends.
Step 7. Determination of commercial and technical
feasibility of products / services.
The seventh step consists on find out if there might be a
market for the identified products and services. If there is a
possible market for such products and services, then an
assessment is performed to determine if the conditions exist
to currently develop the product / service. If such conditions
do not exist yet, the researcher need to identify what needs to
be done to be able to produce the product/service in Mexico.
These findings are included into the final report. The
activities of step seven are described in Table 7.
TABLE 7. STEP 7. DETERMINATION OF COMMERCIAL AND TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY OF PRODUCTS / SERVICES.
Step Sub-Step Activity
7. DETERMINATION OF
COMMERCIAL AND
TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY
OF PRODUCTS / SERVICES
7.1 Identification of markets for the
identified products /services.
7.1.1 Identification of markets for the each of the identified
products/services
7.2 Identification of current and future
production conditions for the
product/service in Mexico
7.2.1 Identify if the conditions currently exist for the production of
the product / service for each product.
7.2.2 For products that cannot be produced today (7.2.1) identify
the conditions which should have in the future for its production in
Mexico.
7.3 Preparation of the final report.
7.3.1 Collect information generated at 7.1 and 7.2 and add it to the
revised definition 2 (6.3.2), and this will be the final Megatrend
description.
IV. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS.
This methodology has already been used to develop 12
technological megatrend reports. These megatrends are
related to the following areas:
High performance computers
Artificial cells, tissues and organs
Micro and nanotechnology
Intelligent materials & surface engineering
Biotechnology - agriculture
Biotechnology - medicine
Energy technologies
Mixed reality
Optical devices
Artificial intelligence
Wireless technologies
MEMs
For example, the megatrend for the wireless technologies
was defined as:
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Wireless technologies span all the communication networks
that transmit and receive information in a wireless way,
encompassing a broad range of applications and needs, from
sensor networks that require low power, short range and low
data rate (Zigbee, Bluetooth), to high-speed networks
delivering multimedia contents in both short range (UWB),
mid range (WLAN), metropolitan (WiMAX) and wide areas
(3G, UMTS, WCDMA, 3G-LTE). All these networks provide
the user with access to a broad range of services, independent
of their location. In the near future, wireless technologies will
evolve to a user-centric scenario where a “generalized access
network” will support full connection anytime and anywhere,
and will be based on a common, flexible and transparent all-
IP infrastructure supporting scalability and mobility.
The examples of future applications are:
Observation and collection of information about physical
variables
o Fire Detection
o Patient Monitoring
o Inventory Management
o Supply Chain Management
o Vehicular monitoring
o Intelligent houses
Multimedia Entertainment
o RT audio/video download (in mobile scenarios)
o Interactive 3D gaming
o Interactive Museum
o Infotainment
o Real-Time(RT) TV (HDTV)
o RT multimedia Tx/Rx (UWB)
Productive Assistance tools
o Teleworking (SOHO)
o Videoconferencing
o E-banking
o E-commerce
o Mobile Office
And some of the identified challenges for this megatrend
are:
Battery life
Protocol interaction (seamless handover)
Flexible and fast algorithm implementation
(reconfigurability, SDR)
VLSI design for ever increasingly algorithm complexity
Power control schemes
Signal compression and efficient channel coding schemes
Routing algorithms and clustering
Position location
Proper management of wireless channels and efficient
characterization
The use of the methodology has been satisfactory in the
way that it was explained in colloquial terms for researchers
who are not familiar with foresight studies, and the final
report was developed in less than three months. The results
of the reports were evaluate and used in other regional
analysis. Currently, the analyses are reported in a larger
research effort called: the Strategic Opportunity Identification
for Development Project, which is reporting the results in the
Strategic and Technological Observatory portal
(http://oet.itesm.mx/).
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This research was partially supported by the ITESM
Foresight Chair.
REFERENCES
[1] Georghiu, L., Harper, J. C., Keenan, M., Miles, I., & Popper, R. (Eds.).
A Handbook on Technology Foresight: Concepts and Practice. Edward
Elgar Publishing, 2008.
[2] Maynard, H. B., and Mehrtens S. E.; The Fourth Wave. Berrett-
Koehler Publishers,1996.
[3] Naisbitt, J., and Aburdene, P.; Megatrends 2000: ten new directions for
the 1990's. New York; Morrow, 1990.
[4] Toffler, A.; Future Shock, 1970.
[5] Toffler, A.; Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it
will change our lives. Doubleday Business, 2007.
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... These practices must motivate students to provide solutions with significant improvements in the design and creation of new products -services, new processes, new marketing methods, or even new organisational methods and business models. Commonly, the proposed solutions adopt new and emerging technologies which can be referred from current technological megatrends [12], [13]. Therefore, in this work, four types of innovation are considered to be fostered in today's students [14]. ...
... Since the mid-twentieth century the velocity at which evolutions have occurred at the cultural, economic, technologic and social level has become more apparent [26]. These changes influence the environment that is the frame of reference on which all design decisions are based. ...
... Since the mid-twentieth century, the velocity at which the evolutions occur at the cultural, economic, technologic and social level has become more apparent (Guemes-Castorena, 2009). These changes influence the environment that is the frame of reference on which all design decisions are based and therefore this context should be explored as a first step in a design process (Hekkert and Van Dijck, 2011). ...
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Design and creativity have been a considerable force for improving life conditions. A lot of effort has been invested in explaining the design process and creativity mainly through the design thinking methodology, but design accountability and responsible actions in the design process are, yet, to be fully explored. The concept of design ethics is now increasingly scrutinized on both the level of business organization and of the individual designer. A 4-day design workshop that involved creativity techniques provided the base to explore responsibility in the fuzzy front end of the design process. The future of education in 2030 was defined as the workshop's theme and fifty-six students from China were asked to create detailed alternative scenarios. A number of imagination exercises, implementation of technological innovations and macro-environment evolutions employed in the workshop are discussed. The aim was to incite moral and responsible actions among students less familiar with creative educational contexts of student-led discovery and collaborative learning. This paper reflects on the use of creativity methods to stimulate anticipation in (non)design students.
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One concern in the field of drugs policy is how to make research more futures-oriented. Tracing trends and events with the potential to alter drug futures are seen as ways of becoming more prepared. This challenge is made complex in fast evolving drug markets which entangle with shifting social and material relations at global scale. In this analysis, we argue that drugs policy research orientates to detection and discovery based on the recent past. This narrows future-oriented analyses to the predictable and probable, imagined as extensions of the immediate and local present. We call for a more speculative approach; one which extends beyond the proximal, and one which orientates to possibilities rather than probabilities. Drawing on ideas on speculation from science and technology and futures studies, we argue that speculative research holds potential for more radical alterations in drugs policy. We encourage research approaches which not only valorise knowing in relation to what might happen but which conduct experiments on what could be. Accordingly, we trace how speculative research makes a difference by altering the present through making deliberative interventions on alternative policy options, including policy scenarios which make a radical break with the present. We look specifically at the ‘Big Event’ and ‘Mega Trend’ as devices of speculative intervention in futures-oriented drugs policy research. We illustrate how the device of Mega Trend helps to trace as well as to speculate on some of the entangling elements affecting drug futures, including in relation to climate, environment, development, population, drug production, digitalisation, biotechnology, policy and discourse. [255]
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In this paper, the author analyses the significant influence of IT on global megatrends. Of the five leading global megatrends, two are in the field of ICT, digital media and new technologies. The main reasons for the impact of IT megatrends are twofold: (1) the digital convergence of the media, ICT and telecommunications industries, (2)the exponential increase in information, computing power and internet transfer data. Digital convergence will significantly contribute to changing business models. In an applicative sense, the author considers the concepts of Industry 4.0 - The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), to be the most significant as it marks the paradigmatic change of information, the conceptual and processual transformation of data and services ecosystems in the domains of robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Services, Automated Intelligence, Collaborative Robots (Cobots), Industrial Robots, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality. In business and strategic terms, digital media business models will transition, under the influence of digital convergence, to a multi-platform, complementary, interoperable and networked media and ICT ecosystem with a specific focus on the production and distribution of media products, services and applications within the user interface, hypermedia, immersion, mass customization, personalized, augmented and ambient media business space and environment.
A Handbook on Technology Foresight: Concepts and Practice
  • L Georghiu
  • J C Harper
  • M Keenan
  • I Miles
Georghiu, L., Harper, J. C., Keenan, M., Miles, I., & Popper, R. (Eds.). A Handbook on Technology Foresight: Concepts and Practice. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2008.
Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change our lives
  • A Toffler
Toffler, A.; Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change our lives. Doubleday Business, 2007.