The pace of change in our world is staggering, particularly in technological advancements, and keeping up with these changes is always challenging. As part of my work as a futurist and an adviser to companies and government organisations, my role is to provide business leaders with an overview of the key trends that are changing the way we do business.
To ride the wave of transformation and build resilient businesses that are more successful, leaders must be aware of emerging trends and potentially rethink their products and services, and how they deliver them.
Here are three of the biggest trends redefining organisations today:
The number one job of any business is to make our world a better place, and with the current threats of the climate change crisis and the decline of our natural resources, companies must do everything possible to build a balanced, sustainable relationship with our planet.
More people are becoming conscious consumers and trying to make buying choices that are more sustainable and responsible. Consumers are considering a company’s eco-credentials alongside traditional factors such as value and price. Specifically, consumers want to know:
- Where a product is made
- What it’s made from
- How it’s made
With the help of online technology, consumers can easily research the answers to these questions before they decide to make a purchase. Because of the rise of conscious consumerism, businesses must work to ensure their products are ethically produced and made from sustainable materials. They must also invest in more sustainable business operations and processes to minimise environmental impact.
Organisations also need to ensure that they aren’t just focused on serving up profits – they should serve a meaningful purpose that people can genuinely connect to. A strong purpose defines why an organisation exists, and how it is striving to create a positive impact in the world.
Businesses also have the obligation to help make our world more equal. According to the United Nations, inequality affects more than 70 per cent of the global population, and the gap between the very rich and the poor continues to grow. Businesses must help rethink our economic and democratic systems to tackle issues of inequality to make the world a fairer and more equitable place for everyone.
We have never lived in a time with so many transformative technologies. Technology trends like machine learning, robotics, blockchain and the metaverse are creating groundbreaking shifts in every business in every industry.
What does that mean for businesses? It means:
- Data is a key asset for every company. Advanced computing power and the Internet of Things are generating enormous volumes of data every day – and everything we do generates a digital trace. Businesses can harness all this data to create better products and services, enhance decision-making, create new revenue streams and improve business processes.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) will transform the way companies do business. AI will help to improve decision-making, help companies create smarter and more intelligent products and services, and automate additional processes to make better use of resources.
- The metaverse will enable breakthroughs in customer experiences. Companies will use metaverse technologies to create more immersive customer experiences using augmented reality and virtual reality.
- Blockchain and distributed ledger technology will enable businesses to authenticate information, transactions, identities and more. The security of blockchain technology can help businesses lock down data, increase transparency, remove intermediaries and support frictionless, real-time transactions.
That said, companies must use all these new advances strategically, to help them deliver maximum returns, rather than adopting technology for technology’s sake.
Having the right people on board is still the biggest differentiator for any company. In the workplace of the future, it’s critical that organisations find the right balance between what people do and what machines do.
It is more important than ever to attract and retain talent, and in a post-pandemic world, companies have opened up their hiring to a global pool of potential workers. To find and keep great talent, companies are:
- Focusing on building a diverse and inclusive culture where people consistently feel valued and respected.
- Creating an environment of continuous learning and authenticity to give people the skills they need to succeed in the future and allow them to bring their true selves to work.
- Building flatter, agile organisational structures that encourage more collaboration, autonomy and independent decision-making.
- Harnessing the gig economy and accessing talent in more flexible ways.
Get Ready for These Critical Business Trends
Of course, the three major business trends we’ve talked about – sustainability and equality, tech breakthroughs, and talent recruitment changes – are all interlinked.
For example, companies that want to provide a growth-oriented environment for their workers so they can attract top talent might take advantage of opportunities to incorporate virtual reality training technology as part of their onboarding process.
Forward-thinking organisations are staying on top of every emerging trend and looking for opportunities that exist at the intersection of these patterns.
About the Author
Bernard Marr is an internationally recognised speaker and business strategist, a bestselling author, and adviser to global companies and governments around the globe. He is a renowned futurist, writing regularly for Forbes on topics including AI, big data and blockchain. His latest book, Business Trends In Practice: The 25+ Trends That Are Redefining Organizations, was recently announced as the Business Book of the Year at the 2022 Business Book Awards. For more information visit bernardmarr.com.