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From inflation to various political events, this year confirmed that we operate in unstable and uncertain times. Despite the rapid changes and challenges in business, there are certain business trends, which were presented at the B2B conference Future Tense, which futurists believe will be present for a while. To prepare and respond to the challenges ahead, we bring you 4 trends that will shape the future of business.
1. Generation of algorithmic leaders
According to the futurist Mike Walsh, the new type of leader must encompass two opposing skills. On the one hand, they will have to have an excellent understanding of the complexity of human behaviour and emotions to, for example, know how to motivate employees. On the other hand, they will have to develop computer-like thinking skills. Walsh calls it computational thinking. He believes that the real algorithmic leaders will be people born between 2010 and 2025, and he calls them the AI generation. “If you think about it, your kids don’t just listen to music, they listen to Spotify; they don’t watch television, they watch YouTube; they don’t play with their peers, they play Minecraft or any other digital game. All this creates a new generation with completely different expectations about the world of work. As that generation grows up and applies for their first insurance or starts thinking about a career, their expectations about the design of these services and brand loyalty will be drastically different from previous generations,” says Walsh.
2. Living in the world of AI and metaverse
Smartwatches that monitor the user’s health, apps for virtual try-on clothes, robots helping perform surgeries, and other similar technologies are already present in our lives. But artificial intelligence and metaverse technology will continue to evolve and improve. According to a futurist and this year’s speaker at the Future Tense business conference, Mike Bechtel, “the future of interaction will take many forms, but the guiding principle will be (and always has been) simplicity.” Precisely because of this, Bechtel claims that we can expect, “moving beyond the glass” towards a future where digital information is all around us. It can be an alternative reality (like the VR worlds imagined by many authors and films) or it can be a more subtle “enhanced” reality, where, thanks to smart glasses or even smart contacts, we “decorate” our physical world with digital information. An example of this is Apple smart glasses which are anticipated in the next few years. Also, an expert on the future of tourism, Ian Yeoman points out that “as consumer expectations grow, so will technological advancements. From 5G to biohacking, humans will lead increasingly digital lives – ones that are irrevocably intertwined with technology.” All this will lead to more automated work tasks and eventually start to drastically change the way people are working and do business.
3. Distributed work
The global pandemic pushed us to remote work and at the same time accelerated the movement toward distributed work. “What we have today and what will be the future of business is distributed work. The value of work will be assessed based on what and how it is done, not where it is done”, says Mike Walsh. According to him, the new way of working will be characterized by mobility, autonomy, objectivity, speed, and the ability to store all data and decisions. Walsh outlines three strategies that will be needed in the future of distributed work. The first strategy is data transparency, which implies that all employees have insight into data related to business, but also the possibility of making independent decisions. Another strategy that facilitates distributed work is a system for monitoring made decisions for better coordination of employees and work tasks. The third strategy is data literacy, which Walsh considers necessary for making business decisions.
3. More demanding consumers
Consumers are becoming more and more demanding. It is no longer only important what kind of products or services companies offer, but also how they operate. So, Ian Yeoman explains that tourists “want to see companies show their commitment to a holistic sustainability agenda that incorporates both environmental and social issues: from reducing carbon emissions to respecting workers’ rights and supporting communities on the frontlines of climate change.” We can already see indications of a new type of consumer in recent events where consumers called out and boycotted some of the most influential companies for violating human rights.
During the next business planning, remember some of these upcoming trends that are already slowly changing the way we do business and make decisions.