Fast Company

Fast Forward 2005: 63-66

The future is something to get excited about again. Here's our look at the surprising people, ideas, and trends that will change how we work and live in 2005.

63. Where the Women Are

Want to reach females over 40? Try product placement in computer games for women. Strange-but-true facts: 43% of gamers are women; those over age 40 play more hours of online games than anyone, even teens, late at night. They tend to like games that are collaborative, intelligent, strategic, and mysterious. Companies already hip to these ladies include Coke (Vanilla Coke Mystery Game), Chrysler, and Suave Naturals. Who knew?

64. Tap the Collective Intelligence

In the indie movie The Barbarian Invasions, there's a provocative conversation that advances the idea that all intelligence is collective. This country was created by the combined intellect of all its founding fathers. Now comes the powerful notion that groups of people are "often smarter than the smartest people in them," as James Surowiecki espouses in The Wisdom of Crowds (Doubleday, 2004). For a crowd to be wise, however, requires four basic conditions: diversity of opinion to bring in a variety of info, independence of members from one another to prevent the rise of a dominant leader, decentralization to balance out mistakes, and a good method of aggregating opinions. Hey, we like the idea.

65. Alzheimer's Drugs

As baby boomers age, Alzheimer's disease is expected to worsen. Four and a half million Americans are afflicted today; experts predict the number will triple by 2050. Reacting now, drug companies are developing drugs that will prevent plaque buildup in the brain. Although none will be ready next year, expect to hear about the early efforts of Neurochem, which recently began the first trial of Alzhemed, and about Eli Lilly's work in this field.

66. The Return of the Balanced Diet

Ask around in the food business and the message is clear: Low carb is over. So who's next to build a business off of our get-thin-quick desires? Our bet is on Chris Carmichael. Chris who? He's Lance Armstrong's trainer. He believes in a balanced diet. There are no bad foods, only bad times where particular foods don't give you the energy you need to perform at your best. Not only does it sound like a winning formula, but it's kind of a business philosophy too. Carmichael's already got the company, the clinics, the book, the gear, and the deal with PowerBar consulting on a line of energy beverages. As long as some rival fad doesn't race into vogue, look for Carmichael to wear the yellow jersey of health.

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