Forecast: Stormy skies but golden opportunities

We’ve started a discussion group in Linkedin called the Future of Work. One of the questions I’ve asked is what business leaders believe will be the big challenges over the coming years.

Please click on the link here and join the Future of Work discussions. Ask your own questions and collectively we can benefit from the wisdom of many.

I think there are going to be big shifts over the coming months. As we crawl out of the Great Recession it is turning out to be more than just an economic downturn but also a tipping point between the old way and the new way of work. Here is the list of what I believe will be the big challenges:

1) There will be the shift from shareholder capitalism to to consumer capitalism. As consumers increasingly loose trust in big corporate and transparency in corporate undertakings becomes clearer, leaders are going to be increasingly pressured to deliver value for consumers before taking into account delivering shareholder, value especially in the short-term.

2) Collaboration is going to be key. As we move towards what is being called Teraplay – the interconnectivity of a trillion networked devices by 2015 or earlier companies are going to have to learn how to compete in an increasingly networked ecosystem. New business models will emerge as consumers values and behaviours change. I believe the winners will be those that create platforms around which communities develop and thrive.

3) Because of a rapidly changing and unpredictable world, strategic planning as we know it will be dead. Companies will need to learn how to create strategies that can be adapted or emerge as the impact of market forces on their industry become clearer.

4) Over the past 100 years, the industrial system has serviced 1.5 billion consumers. Proctor & Gamble predict that by 2020 50% of their global revenue will come from “poor consumers” and with increasing wealth in China and India it is predicted that by 2020 there will be 4 billion consumers. This is going to provide huge opportunities but also put massive strains on the current system. New ways of doing business will emerge to meet the needs of these new consumers and we are going to see a number of new winners and losers. Companies will need to find ways of delivering low-cost quality services for example $2000 cars (tata), $100 laptops and $20 cataract eye operations, to meet the needs of this growing group of consumers

5) It is predicted that an ageing population is going to cost the world 10 times more than the current financial crisis. We don’t even know how we are going to pay for the current crisis, let alone one that is already on our doorstep and going to cost a lot more. People are having to have to work much later than they thought in life. Retirement will become an obsolete and pension commitments will bring a number of countries and companies to the brink of bankruptcy.

This next decade promises to be very different from the previous one. Huge opportunities but also massive challenges.

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