Graeme Cordington: The TIDES of Change – The Five Disrupting Trends

Dr Graeme Codrington shares his insights on “The TIDES of Change” – the five trends disrupting business in the next decade.

The recession has been more than an economic downturn. At least five key disruptive forces are significantly reshaping the world of work. We are not ever going to “get back to normal” – a new normal is emerging for everyone, everywhere. The five forces are:Graeme_01.jpg

1. Technology – The power, speed and reach of computers is continuing unabated. We can expect remarkable leaps forward in medicine, genetics, robotics, energy and even space tourism in the next decade. But we especially need to take heed of four growing trends in communication technology: user generated content (the desire that people have to engage and contribute), social media (the desire to interact and connect), augmented reality (the desire to make sense of the world by tapping into the data and information available) and mobility in a cloud (the desire to do all of these things anywhere on any devices using any platform at any time).

2. Institutional Change – There is no industry currently untouched by dramatic and powerful changes that go right down to the foundations – to the very rules of success and failure in that industry. This includes changes to the nature of relationships, the means of producing profit, how companies are structured internally, their risk profiles, where and how capital can be accessed, the basis for success – and failure, and the structure of the industry itself.

3. Demography – The world’s population dynamics will continue to change radically in the \next decade. Trends to watch include an ageing population (and changes in retirement), rising life expectancy, plummeting fertility rates, the potential for generational conflict, migration and diversity. Managing different worldviews will be a key management role.

4. Environment and sustainability – It’s not just global warming and climate change – and government responses – to these issues. We also need to be aware of the business risks associated with issues such as food and water security, pollution, pandemics and the like. Sustainability is not merely a nice to have “feel good” issue – it is very much a strategic business issue.

5. Shifting Social values – People’s expectations have shifted remarkably over the past few decades. What we define as “normal” is no longer certain – in everything from how we define a “normal” career to a “normal” family. The roles people fulfill have also changed –especially for women, teenagers and senior citizens. The shifting social values are the most difficult to grasp, but the most powerful in their effects of all these trends.Right now, our biggest competitors are ourselves. If we wait for everyone else to work out which way to go, we will end up being last. Now is the time for innovation and bold leadership – and to build strategic responsiveness at every level of your organisation. We have a chance to write history rather than just become history. I, for one, am looking forward to the ride. Armed with an understanding of the forces shaping the world of work, I hope you are too.

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