Tracey Keys

Tracey is a Director of Strategy Dynamics Global SA. She has over twenty years of experience as a consultant and executive, focused on complex strategy and organisational issues, and has worked with leading companies globally. Prior to founding Strategy Dynamics Global SA, Tracey worked with senior executives at IMD, and has held senior roles at the BBC, Booz &Co., Deloitte & Touche and Braxton Associates, as well as being an active advisor to a number of start-ups. Tracey is a Fulbright Scholar and holds an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania where she was distinguished as a Palmer Scholar.

GT Briefing January 2012: The Best of 2012 Trends

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January 2012: Typing Trends for 2011 into Google on January 1st 2011 gave us around 46 million results but typing Trends for 2012 on January 1st 2012 gave us around 808 million! Clearly there are a growing number of diverse opinions on what’s in store – particularly in a year where we face increasing uncertainty over everything from the geopolitical world order (with changes due in many leading nations) to the economy (recession or not? global or not?) to consumer behavior (to buy or not to buy?).  The problem is there are so many forecasts and opinions out there that it is tough to sort the noise from the merely interesting to the extremely important. 

So, as last year, we thought we would give you a brief overview of where you can find some of the more interesting and important trend forecasts and ideas for 2012. As always, bear in mind that in a world as uncertain as ours such forecasts are not meant to be accurate. Treat them as directional and informed opinions on potential opportunities and challenges that can offer new perspectives to supplement your own thinking on what might be possible, feasible and desirable. And look at both sides of the arguments – as uncertainty grows, so does the diversity of opinion! Don’t forget to look at top trends outside your own industry or market space – these may well cross over sooner than you think! We will pick up on many of these trends in our next GT briefings along with examples of how they are being – or could be – translated into action.

GT Briefing December 2011: The Fight to Control the Interface

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December 2011: Information and communications technologies are reshaping all aspects of our work and lives.  The implications for providers of commercial goods and services are enormous, from how they manage their increasingly tech-literate workforce to how they interact with consumers and customers.  With the data deluge increasing organizations are competing not only within their industry but across all industries and forms of information to gain – and keep – the attention of their consumers and customers.  It can’t be done alone.  Organizations need to manage a growing array of channels and intermediaries through which their information is filtered, aggregated and relayed to target audiences, including search engines, social networks, news sources, mobile communications providers and purchasing portals such as apps stores.  

The big question is who controls the interfaces between these organizations and their target markets or constituencies – and what does this mean for those organizations that own, use and depend on these interfaces, as well as the consumers that rely upon them.  There is an increasing battle between a diverse range of intermediaries for control of these key interfaces, from the “Gang of Four” (a term from Eric Schmidt of Google), which includes Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon, to others from Twitter to Cisco, Microsoft, Yandex and RenRen. Control of the interface is power – and potentially profit.

As we work on our forthcoming report exploring how the intermediaries controlling the interfaces are creating a revolution for consumers and businesses, in this briefing we highlight the three key drivers of change in the interface landscape: The unavoidable mobile web, the shift in consumer demand to “made by me” and the rise of social business.   Local, social, photo and mobile or LoSoPhMo is driving much of the conversation about online opportunities and behavior. A world of ever increasing choices leaves consumers with more power than ever to get what they want, when they want it. Mass consumption belongs to the past and uniqueness is the new must. In a world of austerity and green awareness, consumption patterns are changing, leaving businesses no choice than to follow this new behavior or, even better, get ahead and shape new behaviors. Traditional business patterns are being disrupted by the digital interface as businesses increasingly feel the pressure to be where their customers are.

How the interface will change will depend on many things, particularly technologies and behaviors whose shape is only emerging.  But don’t wait too long to start thinking about how things may change – the playing fields are being redefined and if you don’t help reshape your world, someone else will!  Look out for our report in the New Year!

GT Briefing November 2011: 10 Key Trends to Watch in 2012!

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November 2011:  As the end of what has been a remarkable year approaches, we looked back in the October GT Briefing at some of the profound changes that took place in 2011, changes with long-term implications for our collective economic, social and geopolitical futures.  Japan is rebuilding after the earthquake and tsunami in March, the Eurozone is wavering on bail-out plans, Libya has celebrated its liberation, Tunisia has just held its first free and democratic elections, floods are impacting many cities and livelihoods in Asia, and the “Occupy” movement against greed and poverty is growing globally. These events reflect trends whose impact will play out over many years to come, with the path and outcomes still far from clear.

So, as we said last year when we introduced “10 Key Trends to Watch in the Next Year” – trends are just that, trends.  They don’t start and stop according to the calendar and they certainly don’t deliver neat “answers” or outcomes.  Some evolve over long periods, others move faster than anyone can anticipate. 

The critical challenge for each of us is to not just sit back and watch them evolve – action is needed now, even if the ultimate impact of the trends is not yet clear. If you don’t act, you can bet someone else will – and it can be easy to get left behind.  So your role is to ask questions like “what if …”, “how could … impact us in the future,” “how could we anticipate and respond to …” – and then to translate resulting insights into options, choices and actions you and your organization could take to succeed in this uncertain and complicated world.  We offer some suggestions on this in our article Bringing Global Trends Alive in Your Organization Today, Part 1.

Now let’s take a look at ten areas where we expect to see trends making a major impact in 2012!

  1. BRIC & beyond rising: Markets, competitors, mindsets and systems
  2. Financial and economic uncertainty explodes:  New roles for power brokers?
  3. Geopolitical tensions: Politics as a barrier to economic and social stability, versus an enabler
  4. Food, water and energy security: Growing challenges
  5. Cybercontrols & cyberwars: The new frontlines of authority and crime
  6. Technology breakthroughs: Are we serious and will we pay the price?
  7. Beyond the Gang of 4:  The fight for controlling the interface
  8. The democratization of everything: Facing the tensions of globalization and fragmentation
  9. Redefining playing fields:  Fighting to own the new consumer
  10. Generations Y and Z moving to the forefront:  Preparing for the digital natives


Does the current obsession with short-term, quarterly results limit our ability to bring long-term thinking into today’s reality? If so, what does it take to bring Global Trends into our business planning today? Emerging patterns of competition in many industries suggest that with the pace of change in the environment and customer demands, there is no room for a company to focus only on the short-term. The challenge is how to strike the right balance in bringing long-term thinking into a short-term obsessed world. This series of articles is designed to help leaders businesses understand and address this challenge by applying some specific tools that we have found useful in practice.

GT Briefing October 2011: 2011, A Year of Profound Change

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October 2011:  2011 is one of those noteworthy years where events have unfolded which will have far-reaching consequences in the years and decades ahead; events of such a profound nature that any one of these events would have been more than enough for the world to cope with alone, from the devastating tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan to the popular revolutions of the Arab Spring to the deepening Eurozone sovereign debt crisis. Together they have stretched our resources and ability to respond, individually and collectively.

On a brighter note, technology has again ushered in massive changes, as tablet “computers” and smartphones proliferate, along with social media – with even the poorest countries joining the technology revolution.  New technologies in many areas from clean tech to communications to healthcare are providing new tools and ways to address the challenges we face. 

Amidst this year of profound changes, one striking element from our perspective is the change in the human condition. We have more choice, more tools at our disposal, more communities to connect with than ever before.  Societies and businesses alike are recognizing the magnitude of the global opportunities and challenges ahead: Social activism is rising; businesses are actively seeking to be sustainable in both purpose and action. The power and resilience of the human spirit is clear.  Yet we are also seeing associated shifts in values and morals; connections—and tensions—are growing.

Despite the challenges of 2011, let us not forget that we have as many, if not more, opportunities ahead of us. We have many choices.  Perhaps the biggest test we face is in developing the capacity to look beyond short-term pressures to make sense of change – and to take action today.  Looking ahead, it will not be business as usual or society as usual. In this brief we highlight some of the profound changes which have happened over the last year (and more) – which will impact our collective futures.     

Scientific Horizons: A Conversation with Professor Flemming Besenbacher, Chairman-Elect, The Carlsberg Foundation

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The Carlsberg Foundation (Danish: Carlsbergfondet) was founded by J. C. Jacobsen in 1876 and owns 30% of Carlsberg Group. According to the charter the Foundation must ensure that the Basic Capital always exceeds 25% of the share capital of Carlsberg A/S with an entitlement to at least 51% of the votes in Carlsberg A/S. Presently the Foundations controls approximately 74% of the votes.The Foundation’s aim is to manage the Carlsberg Laboratory and to support Danish scientific research within the fields of natural sciences, mathematics, philosophy, the humanities and social sciences. It is run by five Trustees elected by and from the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. Unusually for an organization that owns a publicly traded company, the Carlsberg Foundation aims to share its scientific advances within its industry and more broadly within Denmark and worldwide.

Global Trends recently had the chance to speak with Professor Flemming Besenbacher, who will be Chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation from the start of 2012, about the Foundation’s work and the importance of science in addressing the opportunities and challenges presented by global trends.