With impressive economic growth, increasing middle classes, and immense hunger for energy and raw materials, the BRICS nations - Brazil,Russia, India, China, and South Africa - are on their way to changing the political and economic map of our world. Due to economic stagnation across traditional industrialized nations, there is a growing tendency among investors to focus on this group of states characterized by highly dynamic development and promising markets. Their increased significance already is reflected in arenas of international politics such as the G-20, United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, where they claim ever more influence. What exactly are the key elements for the success stories of these countries? What kind of differences and similarities in their political management may be identified? What are the barriers to their sustainable development? Change Ahead answers those questions through an extensive set of "Sustainable Governance Indicators", which help systematically record and compare the political performance and governance capacities of the BRICS nations. With the participation of an international network of experts, this comprehensive study results in a detailed profile of the strengths and weaknesses of their political systems.