The future has begun

The world around us is changing and the pace of change is faster than ever before. The future has begun and those who do not want to get left behind must ensure their ability to look ahead. That is why ISO has developed a Standardization Foresight Framework; to help us look more systematically at the long-term and to encourage discussion and exchange within the ISO system about future opportunities for International Standardization.

Read more about global trends and how these link to ISO’s work in the ISO Trend Report 2022 by clicking on the sunburst chart below or downloading the publication. What impact could these trends have on International Standardization? What future opportunities do they hold?


This trend report is the output of the first phase of the Standardization Foresight Framework: environmental scanning.


Within the high-level STEEPS categories Society, Technology, Environment, Economy, Politics and Science trends have been grouped into 15 sub-categories. The trends can be browsed in any order, according to interest. Every trend includes an overall description, a list of ISO committees and key standards related to the trend (if any), and links to other ISO resources such as news stories or publications. The trends can be explored by clicking on the sunburst chart.

Browse all trends

Trend linkages

Above all, what emerges clearly from the trend descriptions is the high degree of convergence and interlinkages between trends. Societal trends are inextricably linked to technological advances, which are themselves affected by economic and political trends, and so on. Many future challenges will arise at the intersections of these trends, as domains that were once distinct from one another – such as biology and information technology – become increasingly intertwined. What could this mean for standardization? The chord diagram allows you to visualize linkages between the trends.

Selected trends and STEEPS classification

This trend report does not claim to be all-encompassing – the trends presented here are high-level and have been selected because of their relevance to standardization or to the international landscape within which ISO operates. They are long-term driving forces that are already having a visible impact at the global level. Specific events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the conflict in Ukraine, are generally not mentioned at this level, although an understanding of the trends presented here can help us to better grasp the context of these events and think more broadly about their potential long-term consequences. Taking inspiration from the STEEPS analysis, which is a tool used in strategy to evaluate the external factors impacting an organization (also known as PEST or PESTLE analysis), we have chosen to classify our selected trends using the STEEPS categories of: Society, Technology, Environment, Economy, Politics and Science.

Research and methodology

The contents of this report are the result of an environmental scanning process implemented by the ISO Central Secretariat Research and Innovation Unit.[1] In order to identify the list of trends relevant for standardization, the R&I team selected and reviewed publicly available trend reports from a wide variety of organizations (including governments, international organizations, think tanks, Non-Governmental Organizations, research institutes and consulting firms).[2] To be selected for review, the trend reports had to meet a series of criteria: less than five years old, published by a reputable source (no ideological bias and no profit motive), include references and a clear methodology for identifying and investigating trends, and be regional or global in focus. The trends chosen for inclusion in this report were those that featured most frequently across these publications and/or those that had a strong link to standardization, as revealed by mapping the trends to ISO’s current and planned technical activities.


  1. The methodology was developed as part of the elaboration of the ISO Standardization Foresight Framework, in collaboration with foresight experts from Future Impacts.
  2. These sources are referenced in the trend report. ISO members can access them via ISO Connect.