When it comes to business, the present and especially the future, we are talking about uncertainty, complexity, science, technology, people, the market and many other things, which together can become a great enigma, a great question.
So, for our reflection, the first question follows:
What is the future?
We can passively think of the future as something mysterious, unknown, difficult to predict, risky, amazing and even frightening. On the other hand, we can envision the future from current problems and needs, present signs and technological trends, as well as behavioral and consumption, and thus, proactively create it. That is, the desired future begins to be worked on in the present.
When we look around us, we recognize what is not part of nature, such as a building on the 5th Avenue, which was once just a thought in someone’s mind. Based on his knowledge and experience, this architect imagined and created a first sketch, then exchanging ideas with interested parties, he improved successively until he reached a plan, then a model and finally a project that he delivered to the various engineering and constructor managers to make the building happen. Yes, this is “creating the future”.
When a scientist does research in the literature, in the field or in the laboratory, he usually has a goal in mind and questions to answer. By working hard over time to find answers to these questions and reach a conclusion, he / she is preparing something special that could also significantly change the future of many people. This is also true of artists, designers, advertisers, media people and many other professionals, as creating and “building the future” is part of human nature.
Following this line, comes the second question:
What is a business?
We can say that a business is a type of transaction that facilitates the exchange of value. This probably started with the exchange of a good for another good or a good for a service. Then they invented the coins ($) to facilitate exchanges. In other words, a business allows us to sell things, make or build things (products and / or services) and deliver things. In addition, in a business we pay taxes and fees, we do account and financial controls, etc.
Then, doing business evolved. Selling things has become creating demand, with sales, marketing, advertising, product development and customer services, … involving concepts such as value proposition, distribution channels and customer segments. On the other hand, when creating demand, we will have to meet it by delivering products and / or services to the customer and user. This requires processes (activities), resources such as technology, people and money, in addition to business partnerships with suppliers and other stakeholders.
Lately companies have been exploring new competitive and collaborative strategies, as well as new business models, especially digital ones. One of these models has stood out, as it acts a little differently in the value and business ecosystem, achieving unusual growth. This is the platform business model — which allowed the emergence of so many Unicorns, that is, startup businesses that, in less than 10 years of existence, reached a market value above one billion dollars.
This brings us to the third question:
What will the future of business be like?
In my case, we are living in a moment of transition, from an industrial society of the 20th century to a society of information, knowledge and services of the 21st century. Now we are increasingly working on the network, focusing on the customer, with a view of demand, managed with more flexibility and autonomy.
It is a New Economy, more digital, more creative, more shared, more collaborative, more circular.
This “world 4.0”, of this new economy, is more volatile — with a faster pace; more uncertain — because it is more difficult to predict how to make decisions and act; more complex — with multiple factors / variables that simultaneously influence the environment and decision making; and more ambiguous — there is a lack of clarity about the meaning of events, generating confusion about the cause and effect paradigm, which explains the facts. This has required leaders to be flexible in relation to changes, skills to see through chaos, to better understand variations and possible possibilities, and courage to face challenges and make decisions.
With the Internet and the globalized world, science becomes more collaborative and faster, new technologies are used such as cloud computing, social media, mobility via notebooks, tablets and cell phones, and due to the volume and variety of data, Big Data solutions emerged. In addition, other technologies are emerging such as Artificial Intelligence — with applications that use algorithms and machine learning techniques and deep neural networks; virtual reality — which allows us to visit other places, learn while having fun; augmented reality — which expands our field of vision with relevant information; internet of things — in addition to testers that provide information on a huge amount of industrial and domestic applications, it has the possibility of creating wearable devices that can monitor and execute on our body and health, among other applications; blockchain — which facilitates the development of distributed, encrypted applications, smart contracts and more; etc. All of this affects the business world and put leaders and managers under a lot of pressure, as it can be associated not only with changes that are already happening, but also with trends in consumption and behavior in a society that has also evolved.
The employees of the different companies present in the company continue to demand vision, purpose and direction to follow as leaders to their teams, with greater autonomy and less command and control. They also know that they need to recycle and acquire new skills in order to meet the new demands that are coming there, as well as the automation that is increasingly present and more intelligent.
As the big companies evolved, they understand the importance of a better relationship with their end consumers. They are looking to work on culture, strategy, structure, business models and digital direction processes, wishing to sample more products and services to their customers, anytime, available via any device and anywhere. As they engage more with the value and business ecosystem around them, many are already providing digital platforms and markets to add more value and make them more competitive. Other companies use these platforms as a supplier, or a consumer, or even both ways. End users of products and services on their smartphones, tablets and personal computers now have access and make purchasing decisions with a few taps or clicks.
Anyway, the future of business involves all this and much more as we saw and we will see.
What about you, what about the future of business? Comment!
If you liked it, please share! Regards, @neigrando