Some technological and social cultural trends are beginning to have an impact on how Americans drive. Think about smartphone based services like Uber and Zipcar — which may make car ownership much less necessary. Google’s self-driving car is on the horizon. And people are more and more interested in city living. This Fortune article “The end of driving (as we know it)” (June 12, 2014) highlights these trends.
I like to encourage my students to anticipate trends and think about the future. I will have them read this article and ask a series of questions:
- What industries could see these trends as threats?
- What industries might see these trends as an opportunity?
- What new goods or services might leverage these opportunities?
Encourage your students to move beyond the immediately obvious examples — automobile manufacturers — and encourage them to consider other industries (say hospital emergency rooms that do a lot of business from automobile accidents — which should decline significantly with self-driving cars). These questions are designed to help them recognize and anticipate change. You might use this when you cover the external market environment, demographics, consumer behavior, or marketing strategy planning.