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The Next Future – 40 Key Trends Shaping the Emerging Landscape

By Steve Wells, Rohit Talwar, Alexandra Whittington, April Koury, and Maria Romero

What developments might emerge in the near-term future given all the unruly technologists with their magical new toys, industry upheavals, and complex social, economic, and political forces we can see on the near horizon?

In our book Beyond Genuine Stupidity: Ensuring AI Serves Humanity, we highlighted a range of ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) in particular could have a transformative impact for individuals, society, business, and government in the coming years. There are also a range of other exponentially improving technologies which could have a dramatic impact on society in the decade ahead—including robotics, augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR), blockchain, 3D/4D printing, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology.

However, the future is about far more than technology, and so, in these predictions, we have combined hard data on emerging trends with some creative exploration on our part to explore the developments we might see emerging and playing out over the next five to ten years. We cover both the use of disruptive technologies and the broader societal and economic changes and developments that might play out in the near-future. To help challenge the reader, the predictions also range from the highly plausible to wildcard developments that fall into the “unlikely but dramatic” category.

Society and Lifestyles

1. Hollywood/Bollywood #metoo Slowdown – The success of the #metoo campaign in surfacing female harassment will strike deep into major film studios and a broader range of sectors around the world during 2018. Whether through public exposure or private pressure from actors refusing to work with certain directors and producers, many of the accused will choose to resign or be forced to step down from their productions. This leads to regular production delays on a number of films and a noticeable slowdown in output and hence poor commercial results for many studios. The net result is that studios start to change their production model, with heavy vetting of those involved.

Directors, producers and actors are forced to take out insurance policies indemnifying the studios against harassment lawsuits and the costs of any production delays. By 2023, we also see a big cultural shift in the studio system, with many more women in executive, production, and directorial roles. The rise of ethical and female-led independent film production further challenges the power of the big studios. The continuing rise of more accessible distribution channels and technology to develop film projects means that more independently produced movies are able to capture audiences.

2. The Queen Abdicates – In a move which shocks the media and the part of the nation that pays attention to such things, Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand announces that she is abdicating the throne in 2018 in favor of her son Prince Charles. The Queen indicates that she would like to slow down, spend more time with her husband Prince Philip, and act in an advisory capacity to the new King Charles. Written into the strict terms of the abdication agreement is the condition that Charles himself must in turn abdicate by December 31st, 2023 in favor of his son Prince William.

3. Facts as an Art Form: The Post-Truth Society – Terms like “regulatory alignment,” “alternative facts,” and the “post truth society” have recently entered our vocabularies and will be much over-used in the year ahead. The main concern is that it will require advanced AI to fact check everything before we can accept something is both true and has evidentiary support. At one level, these terms are amusing descriptions of a subculture where some believe that there is a very distant relationship between the “facts” and what is actually said or shared by those in power.

The problem will be highlighted most acutely in the discussions around the UK’s exit from the European Union. The true shape, costs, impacts, and benefits of Brexit will become the dominant talking point for many in politics and the media, and may not be fully clarified even a decade from now. At a deeper level, these issues highlight an erosion of trust in the veracity of what governments, businesses, public agencies, the media, and fellow citizens are saying. As individuals, we crave honesty and naturally favor organizations that we trust inherently. This offers a critical future opportunity for individuals, organizations, and governments to differentiate themselves because of their commitment to radical transparency.

4. Robo-Dating – Want your date to hang on your every word, never interrupt, and always do what you want? The first matchmaking websites will appear for those who want to date physical robots or virtual avatars—with personalities customized to our precise preferences. Around the world, women’s groups will rise up in protest at services that they perceive as objectifying and dehumanizing women and returning them to the role of fawning 1950s housewives. Within five years, the systems will be using AI to determine and create our perfect match and allow us to have real babies with our robo-partners using donors and surrogates.

5. Robo-Pop – 2018 will see the first pop song written by AI enter the top 20 of the pop charts in a major economy such as South Korea or Japan. By 2023, predictive algorithms will be used to determine the music and lyrics for over 50% of number ones, with the majority written by AI software.

6. NFL/Premier League Player Strike – Concerns over the treatment of black people by the police spurs a global movement with sports stars taking the lead. This culminates in a weekend of strikes in October 2018 with black players participating from the US National Football League (NFL), the English Premier, many other football leagues across Europe, and sports like cricket, baseball, and basketball. While progress on the underlying cause is slow, this becomes an annual event, and by 2023 has almost become a date in the sporting calendar.

Technology Transforming Life

7. Artificial Intelligence vs. Genuine Stupidity – Artificial intelligence is no longer the stuff of science fiction. From airline autopilots to smartphones and call center chatbots to automated legal contract generation, the technology is firmly embedded in society. The year ahead will see its scope, functionality, and processing power increasing. Sadly, many will continue to refuse to invest the time to understand how AI could transform their lives.

For those in positions of power in business and government, there will still be reluctance to examining how AI could create new threats and generate new opportunities. Under the guise of pragmatism and risk avoidance, they will actually be putting the future of their business at risk. Others will recognize that carving out a small amount of time to understand the technology, how it is being applied, and what it could mean for their sector will help them deepen their understanding and form a perspective on how and when to approach it.

8. Human Augmentation – The trend towards people enhancing their brains and bodies is only likely to accelerate. The year ahead will see a mix of excitement and outcry at the proliferation of examples of people receiving chemical, genetic, physical, and electronic augmentations of their “version 1.0” human brains and bodies. Over the next five years, it will be increasingly commonplace for people to use nootropic drugs and supplements to enhance their cognitive capacity.

Dramatic progress will also be made in the use of genetic modification techniques to change everything from eye color and hair thickness to skin pigmentation. Similarly, the use of external exoskeletons and internal endoskeletons, 3D printed body parts, and super smart materials would also enable physical augmentations that could make us stronger, faster, and less susceptible to pain. The age of the superhuman is beginning, and governments and businesses alike need to think about the pros of cons of encouraging such practices and addressing their potential impact across organizations and society as a whole.

9. Robo-Store – Around the world, 2018 sees a spate of openings of fully automated robo-stores where customers either wave and pay, or they are identified through facial recognition and their account is debited automatically. Robots serve customers, re-stock shelves, and self-organize to change displays rapidly based on their analysis of recent visitor and buyer behaviors. Home delivery can also be arranged using drones and pavement delivery robots. The automation of retail accelerates over the next few years and, by 2023, entire shopping malls promote themselves as fully automated. Human store staff are basically there to act as personal shoppers and customer advisers—powered by deep insight provided by the in store AI systems.

10. Head/Body Transplants – Following their much-disputed claims of completing a successful human head transplant to a corpse in 2017, controversial surgeon Professor Sergio Canavero and his team repeat the experiment in front of international observers in 2018. The individual survives less than 48 hours, but the observers acknowledge that the experiment was successful. By the end of 2023, the technique has been refined and there are now more than ten people around the world who are still alive six months after their transplant operation.

11. Cryo Queen – Hot on the heels of the announcement of her planned abdication by year end, 2018 sees the Queen also announce that she will have her body cryogenically preserved on death. The hope is that the technology to rejuvenate her body and restore her memory and consciousness will have emerged within 20 to 50 years. The intention is twofold: firstly, to give future generations access to the wisdom and experience the Queen has amassed over more than nine decades; secondly, to give a major boost to the UK cryogenics industry as one of the new sectors that will carry the UK economy forward post-Brexit. Within five years, the entire UK royal family, most senior UK political figures have all committed themselves to cryogenics. They are then followed by several prominent business people, performing artists, sports stars, and media personalities—with many becoming shareholders in the leading cryo service providers.

12. AI Newscaster – During 2018 a robot equipped with AI is used by a major news channel in the Middle East to work alongside a human, reading out the daily news and interviewing guests. As media budgets come under pressure in the increasingly automated world of 2023, the robo-casters have become commonplace in broadcast news services and online channels. We may pay a premium for a personalized newscaster who sounds like Meryl Streep, Stephen Hawking, or Beyoncé. For the majority receiving the public services from the news channels, our AI has been fed thousands of hours of news reporting in order to learn to flawlessly mimic the serious and situationally appropriate tone of the channels’ best human newscasters.

Politics

13. Polibots/Roboticians – The first robot will be fielded as a political candidate somewhere in the world in 2018, probably by a fringe party. By 2023 South Korea, Iceland, and several others will have updated their constitutions to give robots equal rights to humans in parliament. In the next few years, the first robot MP will take their seat in a national parliament, consulting and polling their electorate electronically on every issue in real time via the internet before casting its vote and displaying a 100% attendance record.

14. Trump and Kim Play Cards – Brinkmanship is dialed down dramatically in the second half of 2018. This comes after a massive build-up of US military presence along both of North Korea’s coastlines and direct threats from President Trump to annihilate North Korea. In a bizarre turn of events, a meeting is brokered between President Trump and President Kim Jong-un in Japan with former basketball star Dennis Rodman acting as the go-between. Kim Jong-un insists that the leaders play poker to “break the ice,” believing Trump to be beatable. While the result is never officially released by the US, North Korean TV claims it as the first of many victories in the meeting. Progress in thawing relations between the two nations remains slow, but in 2023 the US does send food aid via South Korea to help the North deal with a devastating drought.

15. Country Mergers – The perilous state of Zimbabwe’s economy becomes more apparent post-Mugabe. The nation’s leaders turn to South Africa for support in late 2018 and Zimbabwe effectively becomes a protectorate. Almost all arms of government come under South Africa control or supervision by 2023 and, to all effects, Zimbabwe is now its tenth province. A similar pattern is repeated around the world with more than 20 bankrupt or failing countries adopting similar protectorate arrangements under the instruction and supervision of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and United Nations.

The Economy

16. Brokenomics/Economic Warfare: Stuck in the Middle – There is a growing awareness that the economic, financial, and monetary control systems that govern our world have become overly complex and unworkable. The year ahead will see a growing number of governments, global institutions, business leaders, and civil society organizations publicly acknowledging this and emphasizing the need for change. Many of these systems were designed for a previous pre-internet era and have been extended long beyond their useful life. They now represent a source of significant risk for the global economy. Emerging risks include an estimated US$1 quadrillion plus in derivative contracts against a global GDP that is valued at about US$75 trillion. Alongside this are seemingly non-viable pension systems, and personal, corporate, and government debt obligations collectively running at many times global GDP.

In the face of these potential economic time bombs, our financial and monetary governance mechanisms no longer seem fit for purpose. At the same time, more nationalistic political agendas are arising around the world and could drive intense economic warfare. Experimentation with new models will take place over the next few years, albeit at a very slow pace. A major new financial meltdown could accelerate that process.

Firms are already finding themselves stuck in the middle between shareholders and regulators and will increasingly come under government pressure to invest locally rather than internationally. Robust scenario planning and a rapid execution capability are both vital in these circumstances. The former can help explore the possibilities and map out the options; the latter can help reduce the time to value and avoid projects being lost in limbo.

17. Pound – Dollar Parity – The continued strength of the US economy, a favorable US stock market response to President Trump’s tax plans, and chaotic uncertainty around Brexit all serve to drive down the value of the pound to parity with the US dollar during 2018. Following erratic gyrations which take the pound below US$1 during the Brexit wilderness years of 2019-2021, the UK economy eventually reaches a level of calm by 2022 as the shape of the new semi-Brexit clarifies. The pound settles at an exchange rate of around US$1.10 by 2023.

18. Zero Growth Nation – UK growth will plummet to zero and below in 2018. Brexit concerns will see more companies leave the UK, while those that stay will reign in spending and engage in deep discounting. Households will cut their spending amid concerns over personal debt and job prospects as public-sector redundancies rise; more jobs are lost to automation; and firms cut headcounts to reduce costs. Other major nations also see growth stalling, but few hit the buffers like the UK. After a chaotic few years of Brexit mayhem, growth starts to stabilize by 2022 and crawls above 1% in 2023.

19. Bitcoin at US$50,000 – Speculation will drive the price of Bitcoin to at least US$50,000 during 2018. This will further drive down the levels of Bitcoin’s commercial use for transaction purposes, as coin holders will hang on to them as an appreciating asset. Within the next two years, China will announce its own government backed digital currency. This will see rapid adoption by several countries that will also outlaw Bitcoin and its rivals.

By 2023, the price of Bitcoin, like many other competitors, will decline sharply as it returns to its role as just another digital currency, predominantly used for trading purposes. Massive losses are incurred by individuals, investment funds, and even countries who invested heavily in Bitcoin on the way up, but didn’t sell out their positions quickly enough before the crash.

20. The Artificial Economist – Around the world, AI programs will outperform economists, analysts, and stock pickers in predicting what will happen to major stock markets, exchange rates, GDP figures, and bank base rates across the major economies by the end of 2018. Over the next few years, the number of new AI-powered FinTech funds at first proliferates and then plateaus and declines, with a number outperforming the market and some delivering unprecedented returns to investors. A wave of consolidations, mergers, and closures follows.

By 2023, AI is either running or central to the management of more than half of the major public investment funds, unit trusts, investment trusts, and the like in the largest economies. Around the world, we also see AI being given a seat on investment bank boards, central bank advisory boards, and government monetary policy committees.

Transport

21. Driverless Everywhere – All around the world in 2018, we will see pilot schemes to test fully autonomous electric vehicles on the road, operating under normal driving conditions. China will be the first to actually have driverless cars driving alongside human-operated vehicles on a regular basis. The growing Chinese middle class flocks to purchase their first autonomous vehicle because these cars become a new status symbol. As a result, vehicle pollution in cities like Beijing will start to decline, slowly at first and then demonstrably.

Motivated in part by the targets in the Paris climate agreement, more than 25 countries will have fully functional driverless green energy vehicles available for sale or hire by 2023. By then we could also see the first city authority introduce restrictions on manually driven cars in favor of autonomous vehicles.

22. Flying Taxis – following successful trials of single person passenger drones in 2017, commercial services are launched in China and the UAE during 2018. The technology continues to improve over the next few years, despite some fatal accidents and many near misses. Around the world, by 2023 more than 20 countries have licensed the use of both single and multiple occupant passenger drones.

23. Supersonic Travel – In 2018, we will see the first test flights of a supersonic flight from one of the new entrants such as Boom or Cygnus. When fully operational, these planes will be able to cover a range of up to 7,000 miles at speeds of 1,400 miles per hour, and are planned to be in commercial service by 2023.

24. Hyperloop – During 2018 at least 10 countries will follow the lead of the UAE and India, and sign up to have superfast (600-1,200 kilometers per hour) Hyperloop rail services in their countries within five years. Near full speed prototypes are likely to be demonstrated during the year, and commercial Hyperloop services should be present in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and possibly California by 2023.

Strategic Management of Business

25. Cognitive Dissonance: Long Term vs. Right Here, Right Now – The year ahead will see many leaders continue to be challenged with how to deal with a growing leadership juggling act. On the one hand, they can see quite clearly that radical changes are taking place and a very different future is emerging. However, on the ground, this isn’t always reflected in the immediate requests coming from customers. They also know from experience that change starts off imperceptibly slowly at first, and then the take-off can often happen very fast.

The tension between focusing on the here and now and allocating time and resource to an uncertain future is likely to grow rapidly. Developing the capacity to lead in this new normal will become a differentiator between winners and losers. Hence, a critical priority will be learning how to balance the “urgency of the now” with the “importance of the next.”

26. Future Awareness – Businesses typically fall into three categories when it comes to future readiness: Firstly, some organizations and their leaders can rightly be proud of their level of awareness about the drivers of change that might shape their world in the coming years, and they are prepared for a range of possible scenarios. They typically have strategies that can kick in if the economy nosedives or if growth opportunities develop faster than initially expected.

The second group is often oblivious to change or deliberately ignore it. They seem happy to rest on their laurels, believing they are bulletproof, that their offerings are always going to be in demand, and that their client relationships are cast in stone. This group is often the slowest to respond to change and tend to feel the most negative impacts when it happens, as they are least prepared for it.

The third and final group is honest enough to say they are uncertain about what might happen next, how change might impact them, or how to prepare for future uncertainty.

Knowing where you stand is a critical start point. The next step is to ensure that across the organization, leaders and managers are investing their own time and encouraging their staff to scan the horizon, read about impending changes, and think about possible implications and responses. If they lead by example, their teams will follow.

27. Starting from Zero – In the past, companies might have started their annual planning knowing that at least some proportion of business income was repeatable and that they would see recurring revenues in the year ahead. However, in many cases, contracts are shortening, retainer relationships are being dissolved, and organizations are obliged to start from zero when analyzing next year’s revenues sources.

Budgeting from zero is a mindset and capability that will be developed and adopted increasingly across a range of industries in the coming year. At one extreme, this will drive firms to reduce headcount and adopt a more contingent workforce model; at the other we will see innovative strategies to try and open up new markets and lock-in longer term customer commitments.

28. Exponential Organizations – The coming year will see businesses of all sizes and many governments focus their attention on the idea of driving exponential or bigger improvements at speed. Most commentators focus on the big technology-enabled examples, e.g. Airbnb handling 90 times more bedrooms per employee than the typical hotel group or Local Motors generating new car designs for its 3D printed Strati 1000 times cheaper than the average car manufacturer. However, equally attractive are the simple innovations that can deliver rapid improvements—such as airports introducing parallel loading bays at security checkpoints to double or triple the flow of passengers. Leaders will be expected to encourage the pursuit of exponential gains and lead by example in the search for opportunities.

29. Ecosystem Thinking – Faced with the complexity of modern business, rapidly changing markets, short-lived opportunities, and exponential rates of development in technology, firms will have little choice but to work with a network of external partners. The year ahead will see a lot more experimentation with the use of ecosystems to absorb the constant onslaught of change and provide the capacity to respond faster. The next five years will see a mindset shift taking place, moving from “not invented here” to “which provider can do it better, cheaper, and faster.” To make these ecosystem models work, there will be a critical requirement to develop leaders, managers, and staff with a collaborative mentality and a willingness to share, learn, and create solutions in partnership rather than by diktat.

30. Gagging on Green – In the coming few years of greater global uncertainty, firms may find it an increasing challenge to honor their environmental targets in an unpredictable commercial landscape. Failure to do so could ruin their reputation. Over the coming years, many businesses will increasingly be adopting the policy of pushing the responsibility to suppliers—demanding that they meet both cost and environmental requirements in order to win supply contracts. Others may seek low or no-cost ideas from staff that can be implemented quickly with little capital outlay.

Digital Choices

31. Hooked on Transformation and the Race to Obsolescence – In 2018, we could well see a pause for thought amongst large firms who are investing hundreds of millions of dollars on digital transformation projects. Many will realize they are just playing catch-up and trying to win the battles of the past ten years. They will also start to see the risks inherent in following the “cut and paste” prescriptions of advisers who are also promoting similar strategies to their competitors.

Businesses will become more mindful of the inherent risk at the core of their digital strategy—namely that the faster we automate, the easier it is for others to copy what we do. The recognition will also grow of how hard it is to sustain a point of digital differentiation for any length of time. The risk is that many are locked in a race to the bottom, commoditizing their offering and potentially sowing the seeds of their own demise. A vital role here for leaders will be to challenge those involved, and ask them to explain how the outcomes will help us stand out and enable us to be more innovative and responsive than competitors pursuing a similar path.

32. Born Digital and Hollow – An increasing number of new businesses will be adopting a very lean resourcing model, automating wherever possible from the outset in their pursuit of exponential growth and the much coveted billion-dollar “Unicorn” valuation. Indeed, we will see a proliferation of so called distributed autonomous organizations (DAOs), companies that exist only in software and have no employees. By 2023 such entities will be far more widespread across a range of activities, including those that take place in the physical world.

We can anticipate entirely digital versions of fast food chains, domestic service providers, and travel booking services. Whilst humans may do the ultimate physical service delivery, the underlying booking platform will exist entirely in software—imagine an Uber or Airbnb with no staff at head office. Inside larger firms, the next few years will see a critical and continuous conversation on how to monitor these digital entities. A key area for exploration and experimentation will be how to ensure the preservation of human talent, as it is still more capable than technology in spotting and responding innovatively to emerging changes, risks, and opportunities.

33. I Serve the System: No Human to Turn To – One of the most soul withering phrases we hear today is, “I’m sorry, the system won’t let me do that.” As we automate more and place increasing authority in the hands of technology, leaders will become increasingly mindful of what this could do to brand identity and the public discourse about us in social channels.

Firms will be experimenting with different delivery models and making clear choices over the extent to which they will allow humans to exercise discretion in the service of the customer. This will extend to working through what our back-up plan is when the technology fails in a highly-automated business, and evaluating whether there are differentiation opportunities in having a more human face to the business.

34. Surveillance Capitalism – In the pressurized economic environment of the coming years, many individuals will be ever more willing to give away their personal data. In return for “free” services, we may allow firms to make greater use of the content of our social media, emails, and online searches. The firms that provide these “free” services will deepen their focus on extracting valuable data from our activity, which can be resold and used to target us more effectively.

Within five years, if left unchecked, the penetration into our daily lives and personal activities could become all-pervasive. Indeed, some researchers suggest that, by using predictive analytics and machine learning tools to analyze between 64 and 200 of the items we like on Facebook, a detailed profile can be developed of everything from our likely purchasing behavior, through to what we might watch, and our voting intentions.

This notion of “surveillance capitalism” is likely to increase in the coming years. As businesses, we need to decide the extent to which we’ll try to extract commercial value from our customer data, and whether we’ll look to protect ourselves from others’ exploiting the data we have provided.

People and the Workplace

35. Swarm Organizations – Persistent economic uncertainty will see a number of firms and governments cutting back to the barest minimum of human resources. Such organizations are increasingly likely to adopt an accelerated “swarm resourcing” concept to respond to new opportunities and urgent change projects.

This model is based on the approach favored by film producers—pulling together teams for critical projects on demand—drawing on contractors, partners, agencies, staff on zero-hour contracts, and internal resources. The core challenges here are getting the team formed, bonded, up to speed, aligned, and functional in the shortest possible time. This will see a lot of organizations putting the development and recruitment focus on having the right internal capability and management processes to support a swarm approach.

36. Privacy vs. Performance in the Always-On Society – In 2018, we will increasingly hear about firms that are able to monitor literally every employee all the time. This will be enabled by a range of workplace cameras, motion monitoring devices, sensors, and wearable technologies. The outputs from this “web of surveillance” will allow for a regime of total monitoring—especially when coupled with data from employees’ mobile devices, laptops, and desktops.

Firms will increasingly monitor factors such as concentration, reading rates, eyeball movement, mouse clicks, and typing speeds to assess employee productivity and determine when we are in and out of our peak performance states. There are obvious benefits to be gained from constantly tracking the health, wellbeing, and productivity of employees. Managers, employees, and governments will increasingly wrestle with whether this constitutes an infringement of rights or an invasion of privacy. A growing number might determine that the impacts on employee motivation and corporate reputation when adopting such “big brother” surveillance tactics might not be worth the risk.

37. Alpha Male vs. Embracing the Feminine – Across the board, 2018 will see firms responding to uncertainty by automating, becoming more number-focused, and adopting increasingly control-orientated thinking and management structures. There is a concern that these developments could drive out essential feminine traits that can differentiate us in the marketplace—leading to a far more masculine business environment with a few short years.

The broader issue of gender imbalance will undoubtedly persist for some time to come as firms continue to fail to take full advantage of available talent. In addition, a rising concern would be the loss of feminine traits that help define our culture and distinguish our brand in the marketplace. Leaders will need to pay serious attention to the challenge of ensuring that crucial feminine factors such as culture, connection, serendipity, empathy, and compassion don’t get devalued or eliminated as we pursue efficiency and give greater agency to the machine.

38. Always on the Way Out and Something on the Side – Someone entering the workforce at the age of eighteen today could easily live to a hundred and do anywhere from twenty to forty jobs in that time—if they are still working at all in fifty years’ time. The years ahead will also see growing volatility in the recruitment market, particularly for younger workers. Hence, 2018 will highlight how new employees have an eye to the next job and many will be pursuing side-businesses, hopefully in their spare time. While such entrepreneurialism will increasingly be encouraged, firms will also be challenged to find ways of motivating and getting the full commitment of people who are “always on the way out” from the day they arrive.

39. Workplace Stress – The mental health challenges for society will rise to the top of the public discourse agenda in 2018. This will be driven by growing pressures on mental health, coupled with new concerns over the possible impacts of technological unemployment. Each successive wave of workplace research suggests that stress levels are rising and leading to unhealthy, unproductive, and potentially dysfunctional home and workplace behaviors.

The year ahead will see growing emphasis on mindfulness meditation, yoga, sleep advice, dietary improvements, and regular health checks to help mitigate stress. Alongside this we will see a growing exploration of more radical shifts in the way we run our businesses, set personal targets, measure performance, and manage people. Those firms which have the courage to pursue a different approach and offer an alternative, less damaging path to success will find themselves in greater demand as employers.

40. A Very Human Business – As a direct response to many of the forces outlined above, the next five years will see an exponentially growing number of businesses deliberately swimming against the tide and genuinely putting people at the heart of their strategies. While they will still be using technology, it will be seen as a productivity aid. The goal will be to help free up the time of smart people to engage more deeply with customers, develop new strategies, be creative, experiment, and build more sustainable points of difference that are embedded in people not technology.

 

  • What critical challenges might leaders face as they take on the responsibility of shaping a very human future enabled by technology?
  • How could individuals seize the benefits and opportunities from the potential disruptions shaping the decade ahead?
  • What are the likely implications of these potentially radical shifts for the relationship between business leaders and their local communities?

This article is excerpted from The Future Reinvented – Reimagining Life, Society, and Business. You can order the book here.

 

A version of this article was originally published in Bytestart.

Image: https://pixabay.com/images/id-4455347/ by geralt

 

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