In The Global Trends Report 2013, one accelerating challenge is the Fight for Control & Access to Resources. As the world scrambles to deal with increasing natural resource scarcity andContinue
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.
The profound events of 2011 continued to play out in 2012, in some cases amplifying evolving trends. Last year, the people of the Middle East and North Africa raised their voices to drive regime change – in 2012, they were joined by many others, protesting over rising inequalities, austerity and lack of jobs, as well as history. It reflects a fundamental redistribution of power away from traditional institutions that have failed to deliver progress, towards communities and individuals; a shift that includes businesses increasingly stepping up to address societal challenges, often in partnership with public and no-profit entities.
Distributed networks and collaboration are becoming more important than ever, not only to address global issues, but also to create and capture value in a world where consumers and customers demand solutions and experiences, and increasingly have the tools or smart machines to create value themselves, potentially redefining whole markets. The business of the future will not be at the center of the playing field – the consumer will, as cross-industry competition and distributed production becomes the norm. Social technologies will be key linkages. Already permeating every aspect of work and life, they are becoming tools of creativity and productivity within and beyond the firm, as they empower employees and open networks to contribute – fast, because the speed of change is increasing.Continue
The business of bartering is exploding — take a look at our HBR blog here! It’s just one more demonstration of how companies and consumers are redefining value. Read moreContinue
Searching the Web for definitions of “social business” you will find hundreds of different interpretations. Social business was a concept originally described by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus as a cause-driven business where the investors/owners can gradually recoup the money invested, but cannot take any dividend beyond that point (Source: Yunus Centre). However, the original concept of social business has been watered down, if not completely reinvented. It is no longer only about “doing social good” but also about the world of opportunities that are being created by disruptive and transformational social media technologies, shifting consumer behaviors and changing business models. A new era of social business is beginning to take shape based on the social technologies that increasingly underpin the digital economy.
For most organizations social business is still in its early days but organizations failing to engage in social business will most likely be stuck with traditional, low-tech approaches inside and outside their organizations in the future. Are you ready? In this briefing we take a look at the social technologies aspect of social business – we will cover the definition provided by Professor Yunus in other briefings and reports. So what are the social technologies that underpin social business – and who controls them? And how are companies using them – or being forced to use them by tech savvy consumers – to create value in their marketplaces externally? And to drive new ways of working and productivity internally?
July/August 2012: In 2000, leading management thinker Peter Drucker opined that “For the first time – literally – substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices...” In the last decade his words have been demonstrated as incredibly prescient. People have choices, and they are making them, often with friends, or communities, or networks, but choices are happening. The impact is being felt from the political leadership of Middle Eastern countries to the stores on the high street to the way we seek ideas and knowledge. Everything can be influenced – and even done – by an individual or collection of individuals with a purpose and objective, plus perhaps some new technologies. Everything is being democratized.
Are you ready? Already the impact is being felt in many industries – how about yours? For this brief we take a brief look at how democratization is working in practice in healthcare, education and retail. And by the way, we don’t really think of them as “industries” any more – to see how your playing field is really changing, start by defining markets around consumer or customer needs. Even if we don’t cover your markets, take a few minutes to think about how consumer and community power could play out in future for your market – what are the opportunities and challenges your organization will face?Continue
We recently caught up with Andrew Coulsen, who has been on a journey since 2006 to drive growth for Dimension Data: Europe, to discuss the lessons learned during the journey as well as the key trends that will impact the future of the company.
Global Trends: What were the challenges that you faced at the start of your journey?
As CEO of Dimension Data: Europe, together with my team, we are responsible for approximately 2,200 employees, in 35 locations, across 10 countries within the region generating over US$1.3 billion in turnover. In 2005/6 we consolidated the reporting for UK and Continental Europe into one European region, nearly achieving breakeven profit. This enabled us to take control of a fragmented business which historically had very unstable profits as well as high staff churn and create a consistent business model in an economically challenging market facing strong competition and technical innovation.
June 2012: It has been an eventful start to the century from a geopolitical perspective. 2001 saw the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America. The attack was not only an assault on American families and the American economy. It also sent a shock wave though the world showing the vulnerability of industries including finance, transportation and tourism. In 2003 a new era of geopolitical relationships began with the “war on terror” in Iraq and then Afghanistan. In 2007 the financial bubble burst leading to a global financial crisis that many economists consider to be the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Today the world leaders are still struggling to stabilize the global economy. The financial crisis led to many people worldwide losing retirement savings and homes, while facing skyrocketing food prices and growing unemployment. Desperate situations call for desperate acts: In December 2010, a young fruit and vegetable seller in Tunisia, who supported eight people on less than US$150 a month got fed up with injustice, poverty, dictatorship and corruption and set himself on fire triggering a year of tremendous political and social unrest, widely called the Arab Spring. Today, the world and the countries involved are still struggling with the way forward.
Despite the Arab Spring many populations worldwide do still not enjoy the freedom of democracy and for some countries the term “election” it is more a matter of “transition of power” than a free election. No matter the wording, elections and transitions often lead to shifting political alliances among countries and critical new geopolitical relationships can emerge when power balances changes within countries. In this year of geopolitical change worldwide, many questions of how relationships will shift remain unclear while others are more easily answered.
From a business perspective the terrorist attacks and geopolitical shifts of the last decade have shaken up the corporate world. It has dawned on many more business leaders that the geopolitical environment needs to be reflected in the company’s strategy because not doing it equals risky business. Understanding and mitigating geopolitical trends and risk as well as political and social changes is new to many corporations. But as Jeffrey E. Garten, the former undersecretary of commerce for international trade and the current dean of the Yale School of Management, argues, “CEOs ought to think more broadly about what true business leadership means today.… They ought to realize that they should take more responsibility for shaping the environment in which they and everyone else can prosper. They should be corporate chief executives, but also business statesmen.” (Source: Strategy+Business)
With this in mind let’s take at look of some of the more important geopolitical shifts happening in the world. What are the implications for your organization – and for society more broadly?Continue
May 2012: Innovation. Everyone’s talking about it – just take a look at the contents of any leading business journal in the last few months. Everyone wants to be at the forefront of it. But it’s tough. It’s not just about having a good idea; it’s about translating creativity into action in the market or environment in which you are operating. As Thomas Edison put it: "Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."
So why all this interest in innovation? Because the world is changing faster than ever before; uncertainty and volatility are the norm. Global trends are driving new markets, new customer and consumer needs, new technologies, new business models for value creation and new ways of working, living and behaving. In this environment, even world-leading companies, with dominant and proven business models, ultimately discover limits to growth. They are always in search of the next high-growth market, the next source of value – and if they don’t innovate to realize these opportunities someone else will, often someone that may not even have been considered as a potential player. Think about which company now dominates the music market – a “computer” company, Apple. Think about how leading food companies are reinventing themselves in the health and wellness market space.
In these shifts there is an emerging pattern: Innovation is becoming more and more distributed. Industry-level innovation is no longer the province of the traditional players – the notions of value and industry are being shaken up more often than not by players from outside the industry or small start-ups with radical ideas and/or technologies, who even more radically focus on needs and customers/consumers than industry boundaries. How value is created is becoming even more distributed as new models for sourcing and executing on ideas expand, from crowdsourcing to crowdfunding to word of mouth and peer recommendations. Everyone is – or can be – an innovator, thanks to rapid advances in communications and information technology that is shifting knowledge around the world faster than ever across multiple, self-configuring networks.Continue