Technology continues to be a primary catalyst for change in the world. Technology advances give businesses, governments, and social-sector institutions more possibilities to lift their productivity, invent and reinvent offerings, and contribute to humanity’s well-being. And while it remains difficult to predict how technology trends will play out, executives can plan ahead better 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 have worked with the external and internal experts on the McKinsey Technology Council to identify and interpret 14 of the most significant technology trends unfolding today. This study builds on the trend research we shared last year, adding fresh data and deeper analysis to provide a more granular assessment of trends in two thematic groups: Silicon Age, which encompasses digital and IT technologies, and Engineering Tomorrow, which encompasses physical technologies in domains such as energy and mobility.
Our analysis examines such tangible factors as investment, research activity, and news coverage to gauge the momentum of each trend. We also conducted dozens of interviews and performed hundreds of hours of research to learn which industries are apt to benefit most as they absorb these technologies. And, recognizing that trends can shift, we examined the uncertainties and questions that surround each of them. (For more, please see the sidebar, “Research methodology.”)
Below, we lay out these considerations for all 14 technology trends, so that you can better understand them and consider how they relate to your organization. At the bottom of this page, you can download detailed profiles of all these trends or download a customized PDF containing profiles of the trends you choose.
Download detailed trend profiles
The research overview offers summaries of all 14 technology trends. You can also create a custom document containing detailed profiles of trends you choose: check the boxes in the list below to select trend profiles, and then click the “Download your custom report” button at the bottom to generate a PDF.