About the book

Prediction is a dangerous game. Not only is it difficult in foresight and easy in hindsight, but it also carries the possibility that you’ll be completely and utterly wrong. THE SIXTH WAVE makes a very bold prediction indeed. It predicts the next wave of innovation.

The act of predicting the future does have some advantages, whether you’re right or not. Predictions give you something to test your ideas against and can put some of the big and little things you see every day into a broader context. Our prediction will do just this.

THE SIXTH WAVE examines the big things, such as rising energy and food prices and the debate about climate change, and the way these factors are shaping investments in clean technologies, now accounting for the most venture-capital investment of any sector in the United States. And smaller things, such as the race between Google and Microsoft to take millions of photos of some of the largest cities in the world and create 3D images from these photographs.

And then there are the very little things that happen on a big scale. For example, if you have a phone equipped with the technology called Bluetooth, you can use your phone to search for other Bluetooth devices. You will find a large number of other phones, each emitting its identification number. Now, imagine that it wasn’t just telephones you could see, but every product and every item around you.

What do all these things have in common? They are all part of the same trend – a trend that will fundamentally transform human society: The sixth wave of innovation.

The first half of THE SIXTH WAVE explores the five previous waves of innovation, and how they were shaped by market forces, technologies and the very glue that holds societies together.  It then looks at how we can learn from these to identify the sixth great wave – a wave of innovation that will create more opportunity than we can possibly imagine.

For a prediction to be useful, you need to know how to act on it. The second half of THE SIXTH WAVE outlines what we call ‘sixth-wave thinking’, and explains how investors, businesses, communities and governments can create more opportunity, wealth and competitive advantage by embracing this way of thinking. One of the keys to creating value and succeeding in the sixth wave will be to better understand our natural, social and financial resources.

THE SIXTH WAVE is for anyone who is interested in thinking about what a sustainable future holds for humankind, and in understanding how the massive changes currently taking place in the world fit together. In particular, it is for those who wish to understand and take advantage of the shifts that are occurring around us.

In making our bold prediction, we will take you on a journey through the next thirty years of global development, and we will reach into all areas of human endeavour.  The sixth wave is on its way and the world will never be the same again.