Key Dynamic: Will the workforce effectively integrate, or will generational issues result in bifurcation? What skill gaps and needs for knowledge will emerge as each generation seeks to define its future?
Key Dynamic: Will the global economy march to ever more ubiquity, or will it fracture and retreat into nations with new alliances based on 21st Century wealth and scarcity?
3. Income Inequality
Key Dynamic: Will income inequality lead to civil unrest at a global level, or will government and businesses find new ways to distribute wealth?
4. Public Bankruptcies
Key Dynamic: Will cities fight through financial difficulties or shift to courts to help restructure their debt?
5. Cloud Failures
Key Dynamic: Will the cloud become the dependable source of data and transactions, or will major failures in reliability result in retreat and distrust of cloud-based services?
Key Dynamic: Will traditional energy firms remain economically and politically dominant, or will emerging energy options also result in emerging energy suppliers?
7. Middle East
Key Dynamic: Will current Middle Eastern issues remain local, or will they find new ways to spread either disruption or relief globally?
Key Dynamic: will African nations be able to create stability despite continued challenges to investments from cash-strapped U.S. and Europe?
9. Health Care
Key Dynamic: Will the Affordable Care Act be able to heal itself in 2014, or will chronic issues with structure and technology take the young idea before it can mature?
10. U.S. Elections
Key Dynamic: Will the Democratic party win sufficient seats in the House and retain control of the Senate in order to take some of President Obama’s policies out on a powerful note his last two years, or will a consolidated Republican front wrest control of the Senate and retain the House, leading to continued uncertainty about where compromise can be found, and what legislation actually gets passed and enacted over the next two years?
11. The Internet of Things
Key Dynamic: Will the Internet of Things come to fruition, or will technical limitations reveal weak conceptual underpinnings?
12. U.S. and European Economies
Key Dynamic: Will the U.S. and Europe continue their slow recoveries or will some unforeseen investment in education, risk taking, social stability or integration with other economies find its legs in 2014?
Key Dynamics: Will analytics bring deep and useful insight or be used to exert overly quantitative control over businesses, employees and consumers? Will analytics create a more open, transparent view of the world, or one increasingly fueled by the myopia of caring only about those things that produce digital data?
Key Dynamic: Will sovereign currency remain the preeminent form for financial transactions, or will the Internet and the emergence of alternative currencies create viable, alternative financial markets with no sovereign center?
15. The Weed Economy
Key Dynamics: Will the states (Washington and Colorado) get it right, and keep the U.S. Government at bay from interfering with the legalization of marijuana, or will the U.S. Government assert itself if implementations start to go awry and will messing up implementation reshape public opinion? Will the legalization of marijuana lead to other State’s Rights challenges?
16. The Environment
Key Dynamics: Will events in 2014 lead to catalyzing environmental protection movements and action, or will it just be another year of kicking the leaking nuclear containment vessel down the road?
17. Education Models
Key Dynamic: Will the Internet and employer expectations converge to push education into a new era, or will the failure of MOOCs and other technologies keep traditional education looking backward and inward?
Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.
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