Friday, 3 April 2009

Five growth sectors in the 21st century economy

If you think that, after this recession, the world will look pretty much as it is today, you are wrong. The idea that all things go back to average applies only at the end of the road, where we will all be, on average, dead. In the meantime, many sectors of the economy are bound to shrink into oblivion. Others will emerge as growth powerhouses. From the latter, these five belong my favourites:

1.- PREVENTIVE MEDICINE. Sooner or later, health insurance premiums will start reflecting the actual level of individual risk. If you smoke, you'll pay more. If you drink a lot, you also incur greater health hazards. If you practice high-risk sports, you might have difficulties to find an insurer willing to take you on. Should this scenario become true, preventive medicine, helping people avoid sickness, will become a fantastic business.

2.- TURN-KEY HABITATION. If you are hundred years old, you'll be able to confirm that, despite internet and mobile phones, the way we buy or rent a place to live has changed little for generations. Massive migration goes along with a global economy and, sooner or later, we are bound to see striking advances in relocation and habitation services. GPS is becoming a standard fixture in new cars. How long is it going to take until we have world-wide standardized quality ratings for houses? What about turn-key availability with full furnishing and connectivity?

3.- ROAD MANAGEMENT. Traffic jams can eat up a substantial portion of your lifespan. It is time to do away with traffic congestion. Road management will exploit open ways as business assets, allocating lines according to traffic supply and demand and pricing for peaks, like a popular discotheque does on Saturday nights. Digital tracking technology has opened ample possibilities for improvement in how roads are used today. I believe that those advances will come and that they will be incredibly profitable.

4.- ACCELERATED TRAINING. How come that you can find affordable audio-courses to learn French in three months, but not to become a lawyer or a nurse? Global markets will turn the tide in training products, both in quality and price. Does it make sense that the way professionals are trained has hardly evolved for hundreds of years? Higher education is still far from being inexpensive. I am convinced that new digital products will change this field and the lives of many.

5.- TRANSACTION INSURANCE. Internet purchases of complex products or services still remain risky nowadays, but this might change before long. Some credit cards are already offering transaction insurance, but I believe that the market for this kind of protection products is bound to grow at a great speed. Low premiums will come if all-risk transaction insurance becomes a popular product. This seems likely to me due to the increasing number of cross-border purchases made on the internet.

Entrepreneurs bridge the gap between their profitable vision of the future and currently underutilized resources. No rules can help you develop perfect ideas, since flawless business models do not exist. Each vision is individual, as it is the information in a man's mind and his perception of the world. Those above are five of my ideas. Which ones are on the top of your list?


[Image by Cyron under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]