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The future of everything: global megatrends aided by a mega platform

Picture provided by Expo 2020

In this special episode of our Think Tank podcast, we talk about the onset of the Expo 2020, a global mega event in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the first one of its scale is touted to bring about a sense of normalcy amidst the raging pandemic over the last 18 months. Our moderator and former BBC World News presenter, Nisha Pillai, talks to Carsten Menke, Head of Next Generation Research at Julius Baer, and a special guest speaker, Hamad Hisham Al Shirawi, Senior Manager within the Expo Business Programme at Expo 2020 , on the acceleration of megatrends and how events such as the Expo act as a platform for nations to innovate and collaborate.




Have you heard the expression “how we invest today is how we live tomorrow”? While we do not know what tomorrow will look like, we can be sure it will be different from today. The world around us is constantly changing and we struggle to comprehend the complexity of the trends that are developing around us. Some of these trends start small and do not seem meaningful at first sight. Eventually, they become so powerful that they are neither stoppable nor reversible once we recognise them. These so-called megatrends are often interconnected, making them even more powerful.

What the future holds for these innovative and inspirational trends that are meant to change the face of mankind as we know it? How mega events such as the Expo 2020 in Dubai play a role in providing a valuable platform for innovation and collaboration? Our Think Tank Podcast explains.

Listen to the podcast
Click on the player below to listen to the conversation:

Podcast snippets

Circular economies: are we ready to reuse, reduce and recycle?
The circular economy is a concept to tackle the world’s waste challenge. It turns a linear waste stream that ends in a landfill into a circular one that enables the reuse of resources. As a closed loop system, it aims to avoid needless waste by retaining/recovering the value of materials, components, or products.

“One of the direct results of the pandemic was the rise of conscious consumption. The disruption of our daily routines and schedules, unexpected to say the least, led to an introspection of how we have been living in the past and whether we want to, we should change in the future. And then arose this need to consume consciously while living more sustainably which in turn can contribute to the growth and development of circular economies”, says Carsten Menke, Head of Next Generation Research at Julius Baer, during this conversation.

How can the Expo help? First and foremost, it is the platform itself which is helpful. It brings people together; it fosters the exchange of know-how and ideas. “It brings together those that have ideas and those that are looking for solutions. Furthermore, the Expo also puts the circular economy into the spotlight, guaranteeing an attention, which it would not have achieved otherwise”, adds Menke.

Sustainability: an overarching theme across mega trends
Sustainability is an important narrative across the Expo 2020. Terra is Expo 2020’s Sustainability Pavilion, which will bring to life the UAE and Expo 2020’s commitment to sustainability, acting as a catalyst for change in the UAE, the region and globally. “Terra is one of the Expo 2020 Dubai’s signature experiences: taking millions of visitors on an immersive journey through the wonders of the natural world and inspire them to create a better, more sustainable future”, says Hamad Hisham Al Shirawi, Senior Manager within the Expo Business Programme at Expo 2020. “The Expo runs for six months, from October 2021 to March 2022, and will not be the end of Terra or the concept of sustainability. Post-Expo, the Pavilion will continue to inspire future generations and serve as an example of sustainable design architecturally, with the building to become a Science Centre in District 2020,the new city that will evolve post Expo”, adds Hamad.

Designed by Grimshaw Architects, Terra is planned to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum green building standards. It is built to be net-zero for both energy and water in legacy, using water-reduction strategies, water recycling and alternative water sources.

About Expo 2020 Dubai

From October 2021 to March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will welcome visitors from every corner of the globe to join the making of a new world, as it brings together the planet in one place to reimagine tomorrow.

With the purpose of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, Expo 2020 will be the world’s most impactful global incubator for new ideas, catalysing an exchange of new perspectives and inspiring action to deliver real-life solutions to real-world challenge.

Expo 2020 will be the biggest cultural gathering in the world, presenting a visually striking and emotionally inspiring 182 days, as more than 200 participants – including 192 nations, multilateral organisations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – create the largest and most diverse World Expo ever.

Expo is committed to building a more equitable and just world for everyone, while keeping visitors safe by following the latest guidance of the world’s leading medical, science and health experts.

For more details, please visit

Picture provided by Expo 2020.