drivers of change

Drivers of Change investigates the key global issues and trends driving change in our societies and markets. It is one of the most well-known and comprehensive publication series of its kind. The cards are an effective way of raising awareness about our environment – both man-made and natural. They help initiate conversations, act as workshop materials, provide a foundation for further study and serve as an input for strategy and innovation processes.

A compilation of seven of the above card sets was published by Prestel in 2009.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about Drivers of Change or order a set of printed cards. Drivers of Change is also available as a mobile app on iOS and Android.


Drivers of Change Programme

Drivers of Change communicates research, trends, and questions about the future. It was conceived by Arup’s Foresight team in the early 2000s to explore the changing contexts of our world. Since then, Drivers of Change has continued to develop and become the hallmark of our practice, symbolizing holistic thinking and high quality research.Global and local priorities evolve over time. Yet, we all share the singular, common context of planet earth. Our Drivers of Change publication series, consisting of sets of knowledge cards, was designed to facilitate conversation about the trends and issues that are likely to have a significant impact on the built environment and the world at large. Over the years, we have identified different “drivers” or topics that prompt change, with input from a wide variety of stakeholders. These topics have been organized into five categories, or lenses, based on their main area of impact: Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, and Political, collectively referred to as STEEP. The issues chosen for inclusion in each set of cards were the result of a rigorous process based upon feedback aggregated from interviews, knowledge gained from research, and hundreds of workshops with thousands of participants across the globe. The interaction with our global network, as well as consultation with Arup’s broad spectrum of specialists, has led to the continuous channelling of new information into subsequent iterations. Drivers of Change is an engaging tool for cultivating relevant discussion worldwide about our future.

A short movie introducing the drivers of change cards and some of the key issues they raise.

Other Drivers of Change Editions

climate change and ocean health with Tim Jarvis, explorer and environmental scientist

Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity. The earth’s rising temperature is closely interconnected with the health of our oceans. This set of Drivers of Change cards looks at some of the key issues, their consequences and solutions we might consider to avoid catastrophe.

drivers of change 2006


This first set of Drivers of Change cards was published by Editorial Gustavo Gili in 2006. The 50 selected drivers were based on feedback from hundreds of Foresight workshops involving a broad cross section of participants from industry and academia, which were held worldwide in the early 2000s. Many of the drivers introduced by the publication have become significant global issues. They include “Surveillance Society”, “Consumer Debt” “Consumption Localization” and “Migration”.

drivers of change: Turkey


In 2007 Arup collaborated with TUSIAD-Sabanci University Istanbul to create a Turkish translation of Drivers of Change 2006. The publication was launched at a workshop involving 80 delegates from the Turkish media, industry and academia. Participants voted for key issues affecting the future development of Istanbul and the nation as a whole. Topics of concern ranged from noise pollution within the capital to resource depletion at a national level.

drivers of change: Jordan


A programme of Drivers of Change workshops was commissioned by the Royal Family of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan throughout the country in 2010. The initiative, led by HRH Princess Sumaya Bint el Hassan of Jordan, President of Jordan’s Royal Scientific Society, resulted in a local research team producing a new set of Drivers of Charge cards in Arabic exploring issues that could affect the future of their country.

drivers of change: Japan


The design of a sushi bar for Drivers of Change cards (food for thought) was one of the winning entries for Tokyo Designers’ Week 2006. Visitors were asked to respond to the 50 issues from Drivers of Change 2006 by adding their own comments and illustrations to the existing cards. The overriding message was a plea to retain human connections and address environmental concerns in an increasingly high-tech society.

drivers of change: China

DoC in China_2(SH)

Arup’s involvement in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing led to the commissioning of a Chinese translation of Drivers of Change. Based upon the 2006 publication, the Mandarin Chinese edition presented local photography and statistics sourced by teams in Arup’s Beijing and Hong Kong offices in collaboration with Tsinghua University.

drivers of change: Korea


In 2011, Arup participated in the Gwangju Design Biennale. Edit-the-World, an independent publisher affiliated to the United Nations, sponsored the translation into Korean of Prestel’s Drivers of Change publication, Following the exhibition, Teong, one of the UN’s 100 Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) in education for sustainable development, agreed to integrate the Korean Drivers of Change cards into its education programme.