LONDON—With the advent of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, 3D printing and big data—to name just a few—there is no field riper for disruption today than the service industry. The good news? We are on the cusp of witnessing some of the biggest breakthroughs humanity has ever seen.

The London-based Quality of Life conference hosted by Sodexo marks the second time our team of editors and writers have engaged so intimately with the subjects of quality of life and well-being. And the timing was auspicious.

As the editor-at-large of the Diplomatic Courier, G7 and G20 Summit magazines, I have spent over a decade covering global policy and trends.  Since 2015, when Sodexo hosted the inaugural Quality of Life conference in New York, I have witnessed two key trends in how these previously “soft” issues were perceived by policy makers. First, there has been a shift in perception. Quality of life topics are now at the top of these policy agendas, often discussed alongside “hard” issues of geostrategic and security concerns. Second, quality of life is no longer under the purview of the private sector or just the service industry, it permeates every sector, every industry, from individuals to entire organizations, and from civil society to foreign and domestic policy agendas.

How did quality of life and well-being become so interdisciplinary?

You may consider the way our worldview has shifted vis-à-vis solution-making. It used to be that global publics expected government leaders and national political figures to come up with and fund the solutions from a top-down approach. Now, the stakeholders come from all walks of life—big and small, private and public, individual and collective. Large companies partner with startups to foster an internal ecosystem of constructive disruption and exponential growth. Governments partner with civil society, philanthropic institutions, and the private sector to achieve goals for society at large.

The future of the quality of life discussion centers on our elevated sense of purpose in life. Going from what is a possible or probable future to what is a preferred future requires not just knowledge of trends and strategic forecasting, it requires disciplined dreaming.  To dream boldly of new possibilities, to dream of a preferred future that is 10 times better or more impactful than what we have today, requires leadership that not only gets it but invests in it. I interacted with many of those leaders at the Quality of Life conference and I am proud to play a small role in articulating their ideas and thoughts via this report. I hope you will engage with us in this continuing discussion until the next Quality of Life conference.

Article by

Ana C. Rold

Ana C. Rold is the Founder and Publisher of Diplomatic Courier. Rold teaches political science courses at Northeastern University and is the Host of The World in 2050–A Forum About Our Future. To engage with her on this article follow her on Twitter @ACRold.