In March, Dubai Future Foundation, DFF, launched the third edition of Future Opportunities Report: The Global 50, which highlights the major opportunities, transformations, and trends shaping the future of governments, economies, sectors, and humanity. For this, with future initiatives already in development or place, it serves as a form of fellow collaboration. While there is no single right or perfect framework for foresight, lacking a guide means abandoning control over the future. It is an interesting read, and it shows how Dubai prepares itself and the world for the future.

The Global 50 initiative pivots Dubai as a global thought leader, advocating using emerging technologies for a happier and healthier world. The report, produced in collaboration with 25 international experts and many DFF partners, provides business, government, and civil society with a starting point and a framework to guide thinking and decision-making. The over 300-page report outlines 50 opportunities categorised into five main categories: health reimagined, nature restored, societies empowered, systems optimised, and transformational innovations. The opportunities were identified based on four assumptions: lives will be longer and healthier, climate change will persist, inequalities will continue, and technology will continue to advance.

“Since opportunities are born from challenges, there is no alternative to continually moving forward and making progress, fueled by optimism and hope for a brighter future. This is what drives us to develop new ideas about how to live together, care for our planet, grow our economy, and enhance our quality of life,” says Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Managing Director of Dubai Future Foundation, commenting on one of Dubai’s latest initiatives. “The next 50 years will see a sea of changes. These changes will affect every human being in the world,” he says, emphasising the need for international thinking and global collaboration to adapt and prepare for the changes.

The 2022 edition of The Global 50 described five key uncertainties, and the 2023 edition outlined their implication for future growth, prosperity, and wellbeing. In this 2024 edition, the Dubai Future Foundation has updated the uncertainties by outlining their two extremes. For each extreme, the report suggests some signals to watch out for to estimate whether you are already well equipped to face the uncertainty on your path towards your future vision or if you might require new capacities or solutions.

The Global 50 report, in its third edition, seeks to explore and capitalise on future opportunities to refine work methodologies and lifestyles, offering insights and best practices to governments, businesses, and civil society worldwide. The report also identifies significant challenges that may disrupt global advancement, preparing us to face them effectively. Additionally, the report outlines the ten megatrends, applicable over a shorter period, shaping current and future transformations and their impact on worldwide development. The megatrends can inspire decision-makers and coming professionals to think further about and picture potential opportunities for future growth, prosperity, and wellbeing in their respective sectors or future strategic objectives.

The first megatrend is the material revolution, followed by boundless multidimensional data, technological vulnerabilities, energy boundaries, saving ecosystems, borderless world-fluid economies, digital realities, life with autonomous robots and automation, and advanced health and nutrition. The report presents a mix of current facts, future forecasts, and three potential areas of opportunity for each megatrend.

Dubai is striving to tick all the boxes in its ongoing efforts to shape the future. Change has to come from somewhere. The impact is about whether the change happened.