GT BRIEFING December 2015/January 2016 10 Trends to Watch for 2016 and Beyond

It’s been an unsettled and unsettling year around the world – with more of the same on the horizon.

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Oil prices remain low, creating economic and social challenges for oil exporters, many of whom are in geopolitically volatile parts of the world. At the same time consumers are benefitting but not always demonstrating the responsible behaviors that they are calling on businesses to implement, with American consumers for example buying record numbers of gas-guzzling SUVs this year. Whether we are on the tipping point of a new energy landscape remains to be seen. Financial markets were thrown into turmoil as the Swiss National Bank pulled its Euro peg – and are playing catch-up with crypto currencies on deploying blockchain technologies which could be massively disruptive to financial services, particularly as the sector continues to face multiple new challengers from P2P lending to technology companies' new payment systems. 

GT Briefing October 2015: Inspirational insights  New business models in a world of change

In a world of rapid change, traditional business models are no longer enough to stay in business and to create value for the consumer. In  this month’s briefing we explore how established business models are being disrupted – by new technologies, entrants and ideas of value – and how firms can strive to stay ahead.   

GT BRIEFING August 2015 Navigating tomorrow’s digital landscape Part 3: Governments


August 2015: In our June and July briefings took the perspectives of businesses and consumers respectively in exploring the opportunities and challenges of navigating tomorrow’s digital landscape. This third and last part in our trilogy focuses on what digitalization and digital transformation means for governments.

Ongoing technology changes are yielding productivity gains and driving innovation in the private sector, enhancing value and choice for the consumer. These consumers are citizens too – and as they become more digitally proficient and aware, it is critical that governments respond to the growing demand for innovative, convenient and cost-effective public services. Heavy, and often costly, government organizations need a new approach to delivering their services in a connected world, services that not only offer time and cost-saving alternatives to citizens but also make the public sector more efficient and agile. Digital technologies are a transformational force which if harnessed effectively can provide “game-changing” opportunities for governments. At the same, digitalization brings with it significant challenges that may make governments more vulnerable and complex to manage, whether guarding against an exponentially rising array of cyber attacks or developing new legislation fit for a connected world where borders are increasingly irrelevant and the ownership of personal digital information is unclear.

GT BRIEFING July 2015 Navigating tomorrow’s digital landscape Part 2: Consumers


July 2015: In our June briefing we focused on the opportunities and challenges of navigating tomorrow’s digital landscape and digital transformation for businesses. This month our perspective shifts to the consumer, while in August we will put the spotlight on governments.

Transformative digital technologies are changing life around the globe at an unprecedented speed. New products, services and platforms are giving people more choices than ever before. With more choices comes more power and freedom to take control of our personal lives, work, political, religious and social affiliations, and consumption patterns. However, it also means figuring out how to use all these choices in an effective and progressive way – the world and each of us as individuals are only at the start of this process.

GT BRIEFING June 2015 Navigating tomorrow’s digital landscape, Part 1: Businesses

June 2015: To go digital or not to go digital? Perhaps the better question, that seems to be on everyone’s mind, is how to go digital? There is such a deluge of opinions, advice, forecasts, predictions and stories available that it would be impossible to do the subject justice in a short monthly briefing. Instead, we are being only slightly less ambitious, offering this first of a three-part briefing on navigating tomorrow’s digital landscape, looking at the challenge from the perspective of businesses. In July and August we will take a look at navigating the digital landscape from a consumer and a government point of view, respectively.

Digitalization (click here to read about the difference between digitalization and digitization) is no longer in its infancy. The adoption of digital technologies, channels and tools is rapidly transforming businesses, industries, communities, governments and consumer lifestyles around the globe. And tech giants, worried that “only” 3.2 billion people are using the internet today (according to latest figures from the ITU), are seeking to bring connectivity to every corner of Earth, via an intriguing mix of balloons, cables and mobile devices. In 2025 we can expect be nearly 5 billion people to be connected to the internet via more than 50 billion connected devices (Source: Microsoft). Digital disruption and transformation is high up the boardroom agenda as it is getting harder to escape technology advancement and the associated data bombardment.

Navigating the digital landscape can be a bumpy and intense ride, but it should also be seen as an opportunity to create advantage. Today’s consumers are so digitally connected and informed that choices can sometimes be overwhelming and opaque. However, more choice means greater power and freedom to influence your life and environment than ever before. For often heavy and bureaucratic governments, digital transformation enables them to make radical steps towards more innovative, agile, cost-effective and citizen-centric systems as well as offering new ways to deliver public services. For businesses, navigating the digital landscape is a race, a race to win in new markets and disrupt existing ones.

Disruption points can be hard to identify. However, analysing macro and micro trends, as well as observing changes in other industries can give business leaders a sense of what’s next. Let’s take a look at what is going on in the landscape of digital business.

GT BRIEFING May 2015 Managing the next generations at work


May 2015: Like all of us, the next generations Gen Y (typically defined as 1980 to 1994) and Gen Z (typically defined as 1995 - 2009), are shaped by their times. Generation Y is the first transformational generation. They have grown up in a radically different world from that of their parents, surrounded by modern technologies and a society of consumerism – and it shows in the way they live, work, play, and consume. While some of Generation Y may vaguely remember a world with only limited technology, today’s teenagers, Generation Z, have never experienced a world without it. Technology is in the DNA of these “next” generations, probably the single most important difference versus the generations before them.

For today’s digital generations, flexibility, mobility, and immediacy are king. Their attitudes and behaviors are permeating every facet of life and work, embracing the virtual, living in real time. They are coexisting with, if not thriving on, social networking, the cloud, and cyberspace demands that are often seen as overwhelming by many older people. An increasing move towards flexible and mobile ways of working is one result, as the younger generations challenge conventional and stationary working patterns and management methods – but their impact will be much broader. 

GT BRIEFING April 2015 The Future of Money

April 2015: When conveying the value of things money is a common language that we all understand, from the most educated and developed regions, to the less developed areas of the world. While paper money hasn’t always been around, the concept of money has played a central role in developing our modern international economies and trade networks.

For thousands of years humanity has bartered the goods they had in surplus for those they lacked, a form of trade that is still in full swing in the 21st century. The first known “official” currency was introduced in Turkey in 600BC and, around 1661 AD, coins evolved into bank notes. In 1946 the first credit card was introduced and since the start of this century technology advances have disrupted the world of money more than once. In 1999 European banks started offering mobile banking while in 2008 contactless payment cards were issued in the UK for the first time.

Driven by mobile and internet technologies, we are now in the early stages of fundamentally changing how we handle and think about money, not to mention who is handling our money and transactions. Financial control is no longer only in the hands of the financial industry. Today entrepreneurial minds are connecting us to our (and others) money in new and innovative ways.

Let’s have a look at how the perception of money is redefining economic unions, trade and power – and at how innovative technology advances are disrupting the world of money and transactions.

GT BRIEFING March 2015 Upstarts: Driving the entrepreneurial economy

March 2015: Discouraged by high levels of youth unemployment and sluggish economies globally, and looking for a way to make an impact in a job that has meaning for them, increasing numbers of young people are turning to the employer of choice: Myself. With new technologies and social and financial innovations redistributing production, consumption, and knowledge around the world, the barriers to entry for a new business in many industries has never been lower. Want to teach your expertise? There’s a platform for that. Want to create a new product? The 3D printing factory is just around the corner. Want to run your company virtually? There have never been more technologies available to let you do so.

Governments around the world are encouraging this growth in entrepreneurship, reality media shows such as The Apprentice are showcasing possible future stars of the genre, and the topic is becoming well established in academic institutions. Today, unlike a couple of decades ago, “entrepreneur” is an increasingly aspirational career path. However, there is a caveat: While new businesses can create jobs and fill gaps in the market created by the economic squeeze on big corporations and public services, it’s not just about measuring the numbers of new businesses. Many startups do not succeed, and many do not deliver on innovation, an activity which is ever more closely associated with the term “entrepreneur.” A key test of whether the entrepreneurial economy is really driving innovation, productivity and economic growth over time is whether startups can scale up to spawn the next generations of larger, global companies and even billionaires.

In the future entrepreneurship will not though be restricted to new players – large companies are actively pursuing the capabilities and ways of working that make their smaller brethren faster, more flexible, and more innovative.

In this briefing we look at the changing world of entrepreneurship in terms of business models, funding and access to resources, how we are educating the next generation of entrepreneurs – and how big business is trying to get in on the act.