Are You Future Ready for the New Normal Beyond 2022?
It's that time of year where everyone starts talking about future trends and how the business will be different next year. But maybe you are an outlier. Maybe you feel resistant toward these conversations about the future and are only somewhat intrigued by what is being discussed. Given the crisis-driven workplace realities, it is no surprise that you may feel skeptical, especially if you are exhausted from the past year. Or if past attempts to become future-ready have not yielded much success. It could be that you are entirely on board with getting future smart. You want to change and create trends rather than catch up to the competition. Whatever situation you find yourself in, no business sets out to become obsolete, and there are many proven benefits to futures thinking.
"The future depends on what you do today." Mohandas Gandhi
Benefits of Being Future Smart
Contemporary business leaders operate in a fast-paced mix of societal, technological, and commercial crises. Leaders are forced to respond and navigate their businesses from one crisis to another. Advances in technology continue to be a significant transformational force like what past companies faced with the prior agricultural and industrial revolutions. Marketplace chaos brings increased stress, new demands and creates new opportunities.
Business leaders benefit from being better prepared, having the right tools and resources at the right time, and improved decision-making. Having strategic foresight leads to enhanced change management and positions a business to move from responding and reacting to change to architecting trends. When companies lead new trends, it fuels revenue growth.
Top Ten Business Trends Beyond 2022
Leaders can't be ready for what they don't understand. Here is a list and description of the top ten trends beyond 2022 that you need to understand to get ahead of the competition.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Advances in technology will make Artificial Intelligence mobile and a part of every business sector. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are already investing in the scalability of AI and advances in technology such as Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) that enable better AI performance. Leaders and businesses that understand the value of data will transform their processes, products, and services with a competitive advantage. AI is projected to account for $15.7 trillion in the economy and boost GDP by 26% by 2030.
This trend is about using technology to transform internal business processes and customer experiences that are entirely self-service-based, always accessible, and without friction. The bricks-and-clicks business model incorporates pop-up stores, virtual stores, interactive kiosks, and online hypermarkets like Amazon. Technology will seamlessly help customers:
make better decisions
provide always-available access to services and products
experience products and services virtually
enable customers to pay for products and services electronically, such as Google Wallet, Apple Pay, or near field communication (NFC).
Increased utilization of technology and the complexity of consumer and corporate security threats will drive businesses and customers' increased cybersecurity investments. The trends in cybersecurity threats include increased counterfeits, increased network malware attacks, and geopolitical interference. Cybersecurity will become a competitive differentiator. It is projected that the cybersecurity market will grow to $433.6 billion by 2030, at a 12.6% CAGR.
The gig economy gives employees and businesses flexibility. Flexibility is a significant competitive advantage in a crisis-driven marketplace. According to some estimates, as much as 50% of the workforce will be made up of freelancers by 2030. Advances in technology and increased hiring challenges will push businesses to outsource functions to address their needs. Using a temporary employee becomes a strategic advantage, especially for small businesses. It is projected the size of the Gig Economy will grow to $455 billion in 2023, a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.4%.
Globally growing economies lack the available skilled employees to meet growing job opportunities. Korn Ferry predicts that by 2030 there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people. Also, there is a growing trend in the US that people are unable or unwilling to work. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, the labor participation rate will decline to 60.4% for people 16 and older in 2030. Baby Boomer retirements will drive lower participation of those over 55. Additionally, people ages 16-24 in the active workforce are projected to continue to decline by more than 4%. The reduced size of the US labor force will push businesses to turn to technology, freelance employees, a global workforce, and talent management strategies to address employee retention and recruitment to meet growing workforce needs.
Work from home is likely not going away. According to McKinsey, communities and businesses will work and learn remotely. Advances in technology such as virtual and augmented reality will make working remotely easier. Real estate is not cheap and physical space for employees can be a high cost for businesses. Also, as work schedules move away from 9 to 5 to support omnipresent products and services, it doesn't make sense for all positions within a physical office space. However, leaders need to be smart about establishing a structure for decision-making and effective communication to reduce confusion and lack of clarity that can occur with remote work.
The utilization of robotics in the engineering and technology sector will grow by 175% by 2030. It is projected that the global service robotics market size will increase to $46 billion by 2026, with Europe and Asia-Pacific leading the way in world investments. Robotics will revolutionize manufacturing and production through reduced costs and improved human and equipment productivity.
Social Media Marketing
According to research, 8 out of 10 Americans are shopping for something at any given moment. Additionally, 32% of shoppers change purchasing decisions based on mobile product information within brick-and-mortar stores. It is important to deliver relevant marketing messages, but they must be delivered through consumer touchpoints. Social media marketing will not stop changing and rapidly disrupting business, so businesses must keep learning to stay relevant. Early adopters already provide spaces for customers to make user reviews, social media posts, and stream while engaging with products and services.
There is an increasing market for innovative, socially responsible, and affordable solutions. Customers are looking for organizations to address society's significant issues, such as social equity and climate change. It is not enough for your business to be green or promote social justice internally. Companies need to be transparent with potential customers about their social purpose and running their business. According to BrandWatch, Gen Z and millennials are deeply concerned about the environment, and almost two in five are purchasing pre-owned products.
VR & AR
The prediction of a world that blurred the lines between digital and physical was first discussed in 1992 as the metaverse. Businesses already have improved processes using smart glass displays for technicians. It is projected that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) markets will continue to expand in the US to $1.5 trillion by 2030. The future will include simulated reality making new business opportunities possible. Every business will need a real-time live 3D presence to tap this growing market.
How to Make Your Business Future Smart
Becoming future smart can be assisted by leveraging practices and frameworks from strategic foresight. Strategic foresight is a way of thinking, engaging, discovering, and acting.
The goal of futures thinking is not to predict the future but enable better decision-making and strategic planning. Strategic foresight is a systemic view of change, considering not just the likely changes but all the possible potential changes.
Here is a short video to learn more about doing business in 2030 and the concept of futures thinking.
Strategic foresight is not traditional strategic planning. Strategic foresight links the organization to the external environment recognizing the company will operate within a larger world rather than be only change in the world.
We want to partner with you to bring futures thinking principles and tools to your organization. We offer interactive strategic foresight webinars that last 90 minutes and involve a maximum of 25 participants. These webinars are ideal for teams looking to become future smart. Participants will learn:
the purpose and benefits of strategic foresight
how to apply the Futures Wheel strategic foresight tool
and the STEEPLE scanning framework.
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Bussa, T. (2020). Cybersecurity 2030: A look ahead. Gartner Inc.
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Gregg, B., & Perrey, J. (2020). The path to the next normal. McKinsey & Company.
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Tennant, A. & Schmelz, C. (2021). Brandwatch: E-commerce in 2022 and beyond. Brandwatch.