Three global megatrends that will affect every business

These predicted shifts in demography dont only spell decline though. There will be a lot of room for new business opportunities in the healthcare and nutrition sectors for example. Infrastructure will need to be redone and rethought, creating a lot of openings for building and technology innovators.

Explosion in technology 

If you think we have seen a stark increase in technology in our lives over the last few years with the omnipresence of smartphones and wearable heath trackers, you havent seen anything yet.

One example of how fast we have been speeding up is that the number of mobile web users is growing eight times faster today than the number of people getting on desktops in the mid-1990s. And this change will only continue to move quicker!

In the coming era, everything will be connected: from buildings to roads to satellites to your refrigerator. The internet of everything is on its way. Advances in 3D printing will change the cost and efficiency of making a lot of products and even body parts or organs!

Someday, I wouldnt be surprised if it were common for people to live to 120 years old due to how personalised medicine will become and how much of an impact neuroscience will have on our lives. Of course, if people live 120 years, this will only add to our socio-demographic challenges.

In addition, with the explosion of technology and the Internet of Things, digital disruption will continue to displace established industry incumbents at an alarming rate. Up to 40 per cent of current businesses are vulnerable to digital disruption according to recent research.

Leadership challenges

You have probably noticed by now that we are living in an increasingly V.U.C.A. (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world. 

There is no end in sight and leaders are struggling to cope. Add to that the fact that all sectors are becoming more transparent, leaders are much more exposed today than they were 10 to 15 years ago. They are under pressure for quick results in a difficult environment with an unprecedented level of scrutiny for their every decision.

We need great leaders more than ever to overcome the challenges we face ahead. But it is getting harder and harder for leaders to navigate obstacles and to obtain the mandate and leeway they need to make their mark.

What can we do

In these tough times some of the biggest, and most common mistakes companies can make are to compete on price or to lower investments in education, research and development or innovation.

The most successful organisations will continue to invest in innovation in a broad sense and relentlessly collect business and customer insights. They will also focus on their customers headaches , not just their needs and wants, and work on making sure they come back. Ensuring that they have a great experience once is not enough anymore.

We all face tough times ahead and no one approach will work for every organisation or in every industry. But if you follow these general principles you will be off to a good start.

The stakes are high; these megatrends are all but certain to come and have the potential to make or break your business

How are you preparing for the megatrends of the future

Dominique Turpin is the president of IMD Business School.

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