If you want to stay ahead of the curve, then you need to understand the trends that are shaping our future. The most important trends center around how technological innovation is transforming the way we live, work and communicate.

People tend to form their plans for the future based on the recent past. The problem with this strategy today is that the next 20 years are going to be nothing like the last 20 years. The rate of change is accelerating fast and traditional models of energy management, economic growth and environment stewardship are on the verge of collapse. They will have to be reinvented to reboot the global economy with a stronger focus on sustainability, empathy and treating the root causes of problems rather than the symptoms.

From crisis comes opportunity and there has never been a time of more opportunity for people who are willing to study problems and find creative solutions to solve them. Here are some exceptional resources for expanding your understanding of the technology trends that will determine our future.

 Top Digital Technology Trends For 2013

1. 5 Trends That Will Drive The Future Of Technology

2. Accenture Technology Vision 2013: The Latest IT Trends and Innovations

3. 11 Big Tech Trends You’ll See in 2013

4. Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013

5. The Next 10 Tech Markets That Will Be Worth $1 Billion Or More

Technology Trends For Digital Education and Online Learning

Education is the next industry to be seriously disrupted by new technological innovations that are bringing down the cost of distributing knowledge and information.

1. 21 Things That Will Be Obsolete by 2020

Say goodbye to standardized tests, centralized schooling, bad cafeteria food and our obsession with paper.

2. Top ten global trends that force us to rethink education

The global, knowledge-based society is making creative skills and digital literacy necessary for most high-paying jobs.

3. The Learning Revolution: 16 Major Trends That Will Shape Tomorrow’s World

The main thrust of this guide is that new methods of learning are urgently needed if most people are to benefit. And not just for a new generation, but for those who are already adults.

4. Envisioning the Future of Education Technology

A fantastic visualization of where education technology is heading.

Technology Trends for the Internet and the Mobile Revolution

Understanding the importance of smartphones, tablets and mobile connectivity is very important to understand how life and work is being revolutionized by them.

1. The Future of Mobile Ads

An excellent slide deck from Business Insider detailing the mobile trends in advertising and the skyrocketing adoption of mobile devices around the world.

2. Mary Meeker’s Latest Stunning Presentation About The State Of The Web

Each year, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker provides the definitive presentation on the state of the web, mobile and information technology adoption. This year’s presentation is packed full information, data and charts showing how technology is revolutionizing our lives. The section on the Re-Imagination of Nearly Everything is particularly thought-provoking.

3. Future Trends for the Internet and the Mobile Industry

A look at the future trends towards convergence of the Internet and mobile in the near future.

4. Video Infographic Of The Day: 15 Facts About The Internet In 2015

Interesting data: “The proportion of people who access the Internet only through mobile devices will grow from 14 million in 2010 to 788 million by 2015. Meanwhile, the number of smartphones will rise from about 500 million today to 2.5 billion.”

5. 25 ways IT will morph in the next 25 years

“Predictions from leading research labs point to a future of talking machines, 3-D telepresence and real-world robotics.”

6. 6. The “Unhyped” New Areas in Internet and Mobile

Investor Vinod Khosla details some of the transformative trends taking shape in 2012 and beyond.

Trends for the Future of the Workplace

1. The Future of companies & the modern workforce

John Hagel, the author of the great book The Power of Pull, explains in some interesting videos about how technology will impact the future of work, life and how we relate to each other.

2. Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2011

First the workplace is being transformed, then our schools start to catch up to the speed of business and innovation. Telecommuting, digital portfolios and social business design are hot trends.

3.  The slow death of the traditional office

“In the future, companies will focus their strategy on a more flexible working model, where employees find their own office space… Work is no longer a place you go, it is something you do.”

4. Future Work Skills 2020

A fascinating report on the business skills of the future.

Technological Innovation

Innovations in technology are driving workplace, business and economic trends that are creating new opportunities each and every day.

1. Internet matters: The net’s sweeping impact on growth, jobs and prosperity

A free report by global consulting firm McKinsey & Company on how the Internet is transforming society.

2. 5 Technologies That Will Transform Your Business

An examination by digital agency Razorfish of how the exponential growth of computing power is transforming business. It examines new trends like Near Field Communication, User Experience Design, open API platforms, Data-driven Marketing and the Enterprise Cloud.

3. JWT: 100 Things To Watch In 2012

Trend Hunters covers hot global trends you may not have heard like discrete consumerism, toddler touchscreens and charitable deviance.

4. The Future-Proof Entrepreneur: 25 New Tech Trends You Need To Know About

Video teleconferencing, wireless-enabled appliance and mobile telecommuting without an office. The future is now.

5. Top 10 Trends of 2012 from Trends Research (PDF)

The Trends Research Institute tracks important political, social and economic trends. They predicting massive upheaval in the next couple years.

6. 8 Current Technologies That Will Shape Our Future

A look at how current technologies will evolve to make us smarter and lead to greater personalization of the information we receive.

Track Internet Trends in Real-Time

The Internet is the collective consciousness of our connected global village. Digital tools are now letting us measure social trends as they happen.

1. 7 Ways to Track Hot Trends on the Internet

Use tools like Mag.ma, Google Trends and Trendistic to track social trends on the web.

2. Future Predictions: Source of Likely and Preferable Futures

An interesting blog that explores future predictions and important trends. Updated regularly.

3. Google Insights for Search

My favorite tool for monitoring trends in search, rising search terms and regional variation for search queries.

Transformative Emerging Technologies

1. 10 technologies that will change the world in the next 10 years

3D printers, sensor networks, the Internet of things, human-like robots, the semantic web and other technologies under development now will drastically change our world in the next decade.

2. In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits

Laying the groundwork of the next economic revolution that will transform our economy and the way we live.

3. List of Emerging Technologies

This resource on Wikipedia is a great compilation of fascinating new technologies like biotechnology, nuclear fusion, artifical intelligence, 4G, the semantic web, 3D printing and nanotechnology.

4. 20 predictions for the next 25 years

From the web to wildlife, the economy to nanotechnology, politics to sport, the Observer’s team of experts prophesy how the world will change – for good or bad – in the next quarter of a century.

5. 12 Events That Will Change Everything

A fun, interactive way to explore important events like machine self-awareness, the creation of life, fusion energy, extra dimensions and more.

6. The Future Timeline

A speculative timeline of future history. An on-going collaborative project for discussing ideas from scientists, futurists, inventors, writers and anyone else interested in the future of our world.

7. 23 incredible new technologies you’ll see by 2021

Some exciting technological advanced to look forward to  in the next decade.

ESSENTIAL READING

1. Kevin Kelly’s Blog – One of the original founders of Wired magazine, Kevin Kelly’s recent book What Technology Wants may be the most important book ever written about technology. His blog is an incredible resource for learning. If you’re curious, watch this presentation by Kevin Kelly.