As we are approaching the third decade of the 21st Century, business is accelerating at an overwhelming pace. Rapid technology advancements have made digital transformation a necessity in the market. According to Bill Gates in 2015, all businesses will soon be IT businesses or will have to be IT enabled in order to sustain themselves. Consumer behavior has also undergone a drastic change in the past decade. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious and hyper-aware of their purchasing power and how it affects others and the environment.
Profitability has also grown more complex as people demand products and services that are personally meaningful and socially and environmentally beneficial. Economics and Politics, Technology & Society have been intertwined for a very long time. However, the consequences of this inter-connectivity have reached public consciousness and this is due to the very technologies that enabled this inter-connectivity.
Realignment of Business Fundamentals
Multiple aspects of growth
For the past two decades, companies have been laser-focused on financial growth. The faster it happens the better it is. But at present, people are challenging organizations to define their success in more ways than financial growth! Companies must pursue a broader set of business goals that are balanced with profitability and continuous innovation to create and sustain value. Companies must now begin embracing a much more comprehensive range of success metrics and accordingly work differently, responsibly and imaginatively. Investors, customers and employers are putting pressure on organizations to adapt and respond to changing societal values, concerns about climate change and exhaustible natural resources, and economic and political instability. Naturally, business success metrics and economic models will evolve. Shareholders will increasingly demand environmental, social and corporate governance, and organizations will need to up-skill staff at all levels. This is a positive call to redefine growth in new ways.
Money, money, money is now really funny in this man’s world
Massive leap forward in technology is morphing the very notion and shape of money. It is rapidly evolving, along with our perceptions of it. The world is quickly turning cashless. Digital money is faster and more efficient. People can now pay using their fingerprints and via facial and retinal recognition. In due course, our personal information and data will become embedded in money, enabling more seamless transactions. This opens the doorway for more opportunities in personalized payments. In India, total transaction value in the Digital Payments segment amounts to US$64,787mn in 2019. Total transaction value is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2019-2023) of 20.1% resulting in the total amount of US$134,588mn by 2023 in India alone. Our relationship with money is evolving. As it further develops, we’ll see the evolution of new ecosystems set in motion by non-traditional financial companies.
The breakeven point in Artificial Intelligence
You must have read or witnessed numerous research and articles written on AI, Automation of Jobs and the need for upskilling of both existing staff and potential job seekers. But in this decade, we could witness a breakeven point in Artificial intelligence research and development. We could be left to make a choice as to what the purpose of building these artificially created machines with self-learning capabilities will be. There are numerous debates within the startup ecosystem that proves the dangers of AI if it is not regulated. Governments will have to build legislative frameworks and regulatory policies to monitor and control the research and development of AI and what it’s used for. Moreover, AI is expanding and proving to be a helpful, collaborative technology. With more organizations seeking to use it beyond automation of daily tedious tasks, they’ll need access to more versatile and dynamic tools, and to carefully plan for AI’s social and economic impacts. To succeed, business leaders need to commit to designing for human intelligence and optimize the relationship between people and machines for the better.
Evolution of academic disciplines and employment into a digital space
Technology is revolutionizing the academic and education sector. Technology is no longer limited to the software and engineering disciplines. Being tech-savvy is becoming a necessity across a plethora of academic disciplines and also giving rise to new disciplines and areas of research. Harvard and Stanford in their press release revealed that their prospective students enrolling for their MBA programs must be data-savvy and preferably know coding too. Digital Humanities are also on the rise. Social sciences like Political Science, Economics and History are going to rely on digital databases and use predictive analytics for hypothesis testing and decision making. Historians and Museum curators will need to update themselves on latest documentation and data preservation tools. Disciplines like Cultural studies, ethics and philosophy will also evolve as technology advances and is already discussing issues such as mass surveillance, data privacy and many more.
In 2020, we will know more and care more about our world and our impact on it than ever before. What is important to us will be increasingly reflected in all areas of business, technology and design. This opens the doors to unprecedented opportunities for innovative and responsive organizations. This will enable us to better serve people and truly thrive in business in ways never before possible. Success will come to brands that increasingly create new and meaningful value for individuals in our constantly evolving world, effectively blending purpose with profit. It could truly prove to be a game changing decade.