The Economist has turned its yearly The World In… publication, now in its 27th year, into a brand, well beyond the print edition. There is an extensive website (which I wrote about last year), and a blog, Cassandra. On December 6th and 8th, there was The World in 2013 Festival in New York. Earlier this year came the book Megachange: The World in 2050, edited by Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor of The Economist and Editor of The World In

Although there are many predictions for the next 12 months, and what the effects of those events may be, to me the real value comes from well-organized thought and information about that time period by subject experts and high-profile practitioners from business, technology, the arts, politics, health care and other fields; putting into context information about what lies ahead. There is an illuminating 13 page section, The World in Figures, with snapshot-like statistics on 18 industries and 82 countries. The Calendar 2013 reminds us that although the details remain, we already know a lot of what is going to happen next year, simply because it is scheduled to happen, or that it marks a particular anniversary. We thus learn that March 20th will be “the inaugural UN-sponsored International Happiness Day”. And a calendar entry notes the November 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, while a separate article, “They Had a Dream,” discusses Kennedy in relation to the 50th anniversary, in August, of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
There are eleven guest articles from prominent people writing about what they see in the next 12 months in their area of expertise, and in some cases, what their own activities will be. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, known for his “black swan” theory, provides suggestions for dealing with financial risk; Harvard’s Michael Porter and Jan Rivkin outline eight policy areas for boosting America’s competitiveness, and Melinda Gates writes about steps needed to keep reducing the worldwide number of childhood deaths. As Franklin points out in his introduction, “contributors to this volume have lots of ideas for how to make things better.”