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Change the name of the game, AMES conference told

15 April 20140 comments

mcCrindle picAustralia is undergoing radical and unprecedented change in almost every facet of life and including cultural diversity, according to futurist and social research Mark McCrindle.

Addressing the 2014 AMES Conference last week, Mr McCrindle said: “The speed of change is what characterises our time”.

“We are all on a non-stop quest for relevance and we are constantly re-inventing and adapting to change,” he said.

“We used to say that every product is just one generation away from irrelevance – but now it’s not a generation, it’s just a few years away.

“We are living in a wireless world of connectivity where communications (for example with Twitter) has been reduced to 140 characters,” Mr McCrindle said.

Demographically, Mr McCrindle said, Australia was changing rapidly in four ways: we are growing, we are becoming more ethnically diverse, we are ageing and we are moving.

“At 23 million people, we are growing faster than other comparable countries and this presents challenges and opportunities,” he said.

He said a large baby boom and the effect of living longer was contributing about 40 per cent of this growth while immigration was contributing about 60 per cent.

Mr McCrindle said Australia’s ethnic make-up was also changing.

“One in four of us were not born in this country and 46 per cent of us have at least one parent born overseas,” he said.

Source countries for migrants were traditionally New Zealand and Europe but now China and India are where most migrants come from.

Mr McCrindle said one the most potentially problematic areas of change was in ageing.

“We are an ageing nation. In 1984 the average age was 30, in 2014 it is 37 and in 2044 the average age of Australians will be 40,” he said.

“There are also substantially fewer and fewer people in the workforce for every retired couple and we have a mass retirement approaching as the baby-boomer generation ages,” Mr McCrindle said.

The fourth area of change is that we are moving more often, he said.

“About a third of people have mortgages, about a third own their homes and another rents. But more and more people are renting and we are moving geographically more than we ever have,” Mr McCrindle said.

“The average tenure in a home is now just three years and four months. The more we rent and the more we move, the less we are connected to our local communities,” he said.

“But digital technology such as social media and memes mean that we are becoming more globally connected,” Mr McCrindle said.