ISPO Munich/02/03/2020

Trend Researcher: How Megatrends Influence Sport

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What are megatrends? How do counter-trends arise? And what does sport have to do with it? The Viennese trend researcher Oona Horx-Strathern provides the answers and predicted a bad future for the record hunt in sports.

Oona Horx-Strathern spoke about megatrends and sport as a way of life.
Oona Horx-Strathern spoke about megatrends and sport as a way of life.

When ISPO Munich 2020 closed its doors on Monday evening and visitors flocked to the subway, the opposite happened in Hall A2 at the "Sustainability Hub" meeting point. More and more women and some less men lined up at the entrance to register, so many that Oona Horx-Strathern had to start her presentation later.

The Viennese trend researcher spoke in front of more than 160 guests at the Women's Networking Event, including prominent sportswomen such as long-distance runner Sabrina Mockenhaupt  and the German TV presenter Funda Vanroy accompanied the evening.

According to Horx-Strathern, megatrends are long-term developments that shape society. "They are all interconnected like on a trends subway timetable and influence each other." Every megahype would last for around 100 years, the futurologist reported.

There is always a counter-trend developing from this, which leads in the other direction again. Horx-Strathern presented three current megatrends in more detail to their audience at the Women's Networking Event away from the after-work parties:

  • silver society
  • Individualization
  • Digitization
Oona Horx-Strathern predicts a bad future for record hunters in sports.
Oona Horx-Strathern predicts a bad future for record hunters in sports.
Image credit:
Messe München GmbH

Megatrend Silver Society: We are getting older

Every third baby born today will live to see its 100th birthday. Life expectancy has recently risen steadily. Up to 83 years for women and 78 years for men. "The counter-trend to this is down aging," according to Horx-Strathern. "The older we get, the younger we want to be. Today's 40-year-olds are very different from those of the 60s, for example. And retirement is no longer a retirement, it's a riot."

According to the trend researcher, the older we get, the more attentive we are when it comes to sport. "Doctors speak of boomeritis because 50-year-olds today suffer many more injuries during sport than they used to because they are simply much more active.

Megatrend Individualization: Does this make us lonely?

In the culture of choice in which we live today, with lot of individual households, the danger of loneliness is great, Horx-Strathern warned. "The flexible working hours that many of us have today mean that we often have completely different daily routines than our friends. It's sometimes difficult to find time together and this makes you lonely."

The counter-trend is new communities: Co-Working, Co-Living, Co-Gardening. "Because the more individualistic we become, the more we need the support of other people."

Megatrend digitalization: And as a result Digital Detox?

The third megatrend that Horx-Strathern presented in her lecture was digitalization. "It gives us more opportunities to network," says the scientist. "Instead of networking with people, we tend to connect with technology and talk to Alexa first, instead of our partner when we get home." This again creates the opposite trend: the need to be consciously offline more often.

Anchoring sport as an attitude to life in everyday life

And what does all this have to do with sport? According to Horx-Strathern, ideally we use digital technology to improve our offline lives. "In the UK, for example, there's an app that links athletes to old people who need help. The aim is, for example, to jog to them help them in the house or garden and then run back home again."

According to the trend researcher, in future sport will no longer be about breaking records and setting best times, "but about anchoring a new attitude to life in everyday life. This will change the sport massively in the coming years."

The Sustainability Hub was filled to capacity.
The Sustainability Hub was filled to capacity.
Image credit:
Messe München GmbH

About Mindful Sports and women in supposedly male sports

Horx-Strathern continues, the mindfulness trend is the cultural megatrend of our time. "And there's nothing more mindful than sport." So-called mindful sports are therefore in, for example stand-up paddling or surfing. "They especially free people from digital autism and create connectivity."

In addition to these "mindful sports", the trend researcher sees sports that were once considered to be men's sports and are increasingly being conquered by women: "Boxing for example is being discovered by more and more women. I call such sports we-too sports, because of course women can do them too."

Networking among women

The fact that women can network, was demonstrated by the participants of the event following the lecture by Oona Horx-Strathern. They concluded the evening at various theme tables for another two hours. There are further campaigns for women at ISPO Munich in the form of daily "Expert4Women tours", where selected manufacturers present their collections especially for women to interested journalists, bloggers and retailers.

Read more about megatrends and the future of sport in the interview with Tristan Horx, one of Oona Horx-Stratern's two sons.

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