From Cord-Cutting to Cuba: The Biggest Trends of 2016 A look at what's hot, what's happening and what's to come.

By Carolyn Horwitz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Brian Higbee
Kelly Slater (left) and John Moore of Outerknown are among an innovative group of entrepreneurs taking their destinies into their own hands.

Are you surprised that technology lies at the heart of the trends we're highlighting for the year ahead? Probably not. But that doesn't mean we've become blasé about the endless stream of innovation transforming our work, homes, recreation and health. Rather, constantly evolving technology has become fully enmeshed in every aspect of our lives, to the point where we expect nothing -- not the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the media we consume -- to be like it was just a handful of years ago. Everywhere we go, we demand to be fully charged, fully hydrated and fully up to speed with what's going on.

So, what's the biggest change right now? We're no longer just letting in new technology and seeing where it takes us; we're shaping it in ways that allow us to take action. We don't go out to eat -- we make meals come to us. We don't passively watch world events unfold -- we experience them for ourselves. When we get hacked, we fight back. Even resistant-to-change farmers are taking control: No longer at the mercy of the natural elements, they're harnessing big data to maximize crop yields and increase productivity.

What does this mean for entrepreneurs? Always ones to take their destinies into their own hands, they must get even more aggressive. Our choice of trends reflects that stance. New markets are ripe for the taking. Consumers are demanding ethical and sustainable behavior -- and entrepreneurs have to give it to them. Leadership roles are morphing as business owners empower others to make decisions so they can focus on big-picture strategy. Financing is available from surprising new sources. Who will grab it?

Passive acceptance is so yesterday. Proactive is the new black. So seize the intriguing resources now available to you, and make 2016 the year you take action.

Trends 2016


How This Pro Surfer Is Making Waves in the Fashion Industry

Kelly Slater joins the ranks of apparel brands diving into sustainable fashion.


Why the VC Game Is Attracting a Whole New Set of Players

Corporations, cities and special groups have jumped into equity financing.


Why More Startups Are Paying Attention to What They Learned in Bio

Be it gimmick or real solution, biohacking is big business.


Look Out, USB Chargers. Your Days Are Numbered.

Just as Wi-Fi killed Ethernet cables, wireless charging is poised to change everything -- from smartphones to real estate.

Food Delivery

Is the U.S. Still Hungry for Meal Delivery Services?

Meal kits have taken off in a big way. But are there too many cooks in the kitchen?


Up, Down and Sideways: How to Be a Better Leader in 2016

Which approach is better: vertical or horizontal leadership?

Global Expansion

The Challenges of Doing Business in Cuba

Relations are thawing, but entrepreneurs should tread carefully.


How Ag-Tech Ripened Into a Growing Market

As the market grows for better farm data, VC firms are seeding new developments.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality Is Proving a Powerful Vehicle for Disaster Relief, Social Causes

Virtual-reality movies are more than just cool -- they can be a catalyst for good.


For Cybersecurity Companies, It's Time to Shine

A growing crop of businesses is set on helping consumers and companies navigate the maze of threats.

Wavy Line

Carolyn Horwitz is executive editor of Entrepreneur magazine.

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