Winning the upturn (the way forward)
Whether you believe we are on the slow road to recovery or destined for a 'double dip' return to recession, one thing we must be clear to us all is that we are in for turbulent times.
Economic activity has moved toward the East with India, China and Russia, to the north, towering over the established economies in the growth of their national economies. In 2o years time Indian and China's combined populations will exceed 3 billion people and they will be some of the fastest populations becoming economic consumers between now and then. Muslim populations are fast approaching 2bn and are again increasing in spending power and demanding halal, Sharia compliant and Takaful products and services to avoid Haram - you can't be half halal - you're either in this market or not and it's a market that's likely to go from $2.7 trillion today to over $30 trillion over the next 40 years.
The debt burden across Europe and North America will hold back these economies, as will their aging populations.
Technology will increasingly allow us to be better informed, more connected, and access better 'deals' around the world and the local corner store will be competing with the mass production factory in Xiang, China. Technology will also allow us to live longer and hopefully healthier lives, whilst at the same time the World Health Organisation tell us that 10% of the people on our planet will be obese in the next few decades. Technology will also create new jobs for high labour cost economies.
Finally, our concern for the planet and the conservation of its resources and recycling of what we use will dramatically change what we do, how we do it, and where we undertake it. Energy demand is set to rise 55% in just 20 years. As was once said by an eminent economist - What cannot continue must end.
There really are only three strategies for taking your business forward in these circumstances:
1. Rely on Inertia. (INERTIA)
2. Become infinitely agile and go-with-the-flow. (AGILITY)
3. Investigate the future and build your own future. (FORESIGHT)
"Unilever has plans to step up innovations and product launches in that market to win market share."
Paul Polman, Unilever, Chief Executive, 2010
What can we do about these and many other changes?
1. Become aware of the big changes and particularly the ones that are likely to impact you.
2. Orient your business better towards your future so that you can reduce the risk of being wrong-footed by change and take advantage of opportunities as early as possible.
3. Find out who your internal entrepreneurs are.
4. Enable them to act.