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Looking Glass

Bringing tech-led business changes into focus


For many businesses around the world, keeping up with technology can be a significant challenge given the rapid pace of change in the industry. That’s why Thoughtworks created the Looking Glass — it’s designed to help businesses navigate industry shifts and identify new opportunities.


As a digital transformation consultancy, staying ahead of technology trends is a fundamental part of the work we do. It allows us to help clients unlock strategic advantages and remain one step ahead of their competition. Thoughtworks’ global network of consultants and clients not only provides us with a broad picture of what’s coming, it also helps us dig into the details of how soon and what the impacts are likely to be. In this report we share our insights to help businesses transform through leading-edge technology.


Lenses: key trends to help you explore technology’s impact


The Looking Glass is built around six “lenses.” Each one reveals a major industry storyline, along with dozens of underlying technology trends which drive changes in business. The lenses help you focus on what specific technologies could mean for your enterprise and how you need to react.


  • Platforms as products: Delivering value through customer focus. To be truly effective and transformative, platforms must be designed and delivered with a relentless commitment to end-user value.

  • Hostile tech: Confronting challenges in security, ethics and privacy. Successful innovation requires a strong commitment to mitigating the potential risks of new technologies.

  • Partnering with AI: Making machine intelligence mainstream. Businesses must consider where and how to embed machine learning capabilities, ensuring a tangible impact.

  • Making the metaverse: Exploring the frontiers of digital interaction. Emerging technologies, such as extended and augmented reality, are enabling new forms of connection inside organizations and across the wider economy.

  • Evaluating Web3: Navigating the internet’s possible futures. The future of the internet is still taking shape; leaders must make smart and informed choices about their participation.

  • Accelerating sustainability: Responding to the climate crisis with technology. Technology is not only an important area for sustainable transformation, it can also help drive it.


In each lens, we present opportunities for implementing technology in your business and signals to gauge how fast something is approaching. We categorize each of the 100+ trends in two dimensions: the prevalence across enterprises — seeing now, beginning to see or on the horizon — and our recommended strategic response — adopt, analyze or anticipate


This report will help you to identify the most important trends impacting your business today and in the future. In times of economic uncertainty, it's critical that you make informed decisions about how to act and what to prioritize. Doing so will position you to emerge stronger on the other side.


Note: This report was updated in March 2023 to include information about ChatGPT, which was released shortly after the initial publication.

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