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Local Government of 2025: What Trends Will Impact You?
Local Government of 2025: What Trends Will Impact You? Via joe@pathfive.ca

It’s no secret that technology is shaping the future of how we do business and how we interact with customers. It seems like every 5 minutes there is a new version of the iPhone on the market, or a start-up claiming to have the next breakthrough product.

To add further complexity, there are other less obvious trends, that when combined with improvements in technology, are shaping the landscape for the future. It can be difficult to keep up with what is relevant, and what is simply noise.

For local government, there are a handful of trends that I believe are worth keeping an eye on, as they will directly impact how departments, such as your Recreation Department, will interact with citizens.


The Great Cash Extinction

Recent surveys by Lloyd’s Bank out of the UK suggest that cash will be extinct by 2025. This is not that big of a jump if you look at the trends and technology available today. 74% of the public carries less than $50 in their wallet, and 93% carry cards. The majority of people prefer to shop online. 96% of people have made an online purchase, 80% within the last month.

The digital wallet is close to a reality, you can already use your smartphone to pay anywhere that accepts tap payments on their pin-pads. What’s to say that paying via wearable tech, or even using your fingerprint, is not the next trend to take hold.

 

Extreme Connectivity 

Referred to in the technology industry as the Internet of Things (IoT), companies such as Cisco and Intel predict that there will be 200 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020. Think of all the devices in your house you can already control with the click of a button on your smartphone (Personally I want one of the new Wifi stoves…).

Facebook is currently in a race with Google to drastically increase internet access across the world. Facebook is betting on high altitude drones, while Google is going with fiber, and weather balloons. Either way, you will be able to access the internet on land, in air, or out to sea.

The combination of new connected technology and expanded internet coverage will open new ways for people to shop. You can already place Amazon orders by voice through their robotic personal assistant tool Alexia. Imagine paying your bills, or registering your kids for swimming lessons this way? It’s likely not far off.

 

Social Demand for Green

Whether or not you agree with the green movement, the demand for green options is increasing, and it would be wise to figure out a way to get on board. Some recent major events that signal that we are approaching a tipping point.

During the first half of 2017 the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors gained 30 billion in Market Cap, and is now valued at $51 billion, surpassing traditional manufacturers such as Ford and GM. This was all prior to the launch of the Model 3, which is Tesla’s first affordable(ish) electric vehicle.

Other car manufacturers are following Tesla’s lead. Volvo has committed to having all their vehicles be either electric or hybrid by 2019. Even Rolls Royce is onboard, recently stating that they will skip hybrids and go straight to electric cars.  

All but 2 of the world’s industrialized countries have agreed to the Paris Climate Agreement. Sure the US has backed out, but 195 other United Nations have signed the agreement, including Canada.

Governments will be forced to find ways to reduce emissions, likely resulting in government mandates and grants for greener initiatives. Offering online payments is a way to start down this path.

 

Health and Wellness Revolution

People are becoming more and more conscious of their health. The wearable technology industry, which includes health and fitness trackers grew 45% in 2016. 23% of people report using a fitness tracker of some sort.

Love it or hate it, Crossfit is another great example of the fitness revolution. In the USA in 2005 there were 13 registered Crossfit Gyms; currently there are over 13,000 in 11 countries. It has brought fitness mainstream, making it cool to lift weights with your friends.

The food industry is also taking note. Organic food, which is seen by some as a healthier alternative, is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The organic food market in Canada alone is valued at $3.7 billion.

For local government, this health kick will translate into a higher demand for recreational programs; and a demand for less traditional programs.


So what does this mean for me?

People are looking to do more purchasing online because it is a more convenient and greener alternative to cash. They are also looking for ways to keep fit and have fun. Offering your citizens the option to pay for things online, such as recreational programs, is a great start towards giving the people what they want.

These trends will take time to play out, so it leaves you time to plan for them. But as Malcom Gladwell states in his book The Tipping Point, “There will be a magic moment where trends cross a threshold and spread like wildfire.” Taking baby steps now will allow you to avoid being forced into a giant leap when that tipping point is reached.


Homework:

If you are interested in these trends, here is some additional reading that I recommend, most being sources I used for the post:

Health and Wellness Revolution

The Great Cash Extinction

Extreme Connectivity 

Social Demand for Green