Global Forces and Shifting Power

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With yet another short week which means another long weekend it’s an opportunity to not only catch up on reading but to also do some thinking about what is going on around us. To use the “in vogue” term at the moment we seem to be surrounded by disruption on a number of fronts.

No doubt some recent events that have occurred have disrupted to a point while others certainly have the potential to disrupt in the future. What is happening, without argument on my part, is that we are experiencing an unprecedented amount of change; I’m just not sure I would call it disruption in many instances.

Change has always been with us and will continue to be so. We only have to ask our parents and our grandparents and they will give examples of the change they have experienced in their lives; putting a man on the moon and returning him safely, a computer in every home and the advent of the internet to mention a few. I believe the difference between us and our parents and the change we are experiencing is the rate and speed of change occurring on some many fronts simultaneously.

The rate of change keeps us focused on the short term and we often lose sight of the long term opportunities. A recent McKinsey Quarterly article that I read with the somewhat obscure title The Global Forces Inspiring A New Narrative Of Progress[1] offers some interesting insights on trends that organisations should not ignore. I encourage you to invest the time to read and carefully consider the whole article.

The authors cite the following issues need to be monitored carefully as they offer both long term challenges and potential:

  • Globalisation of digital products and services is surging but traditional trade and financial flows are stalling
  • New growth global models are forming – from BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) to ICASA (India, China, Africa, South East Asia)
  • The world’s natural resource equation is changing as new technology increases productivity
  • Digitisation, machine learning, and life sciences, are slowly beginning to merge
  • The consumer is in the ascendancy, power is shifting from business to the consumer
  • The nature of competition is changing as interconnected networks of partners, platforms, customers, and suppliers, become important in shaping long term sustainability
  • There is definitive need for collaboration:

o   To protect ourselves from cyber criminals, terrorists and rogue nations

o   Between business and government to spur progress, and accelerate growth

The final paragraph in this insightful article suggests “growth shifts, accelerating disruption and a new societal deal are powerful forces that demand thoughtful responses and contain the seeds of extraordinary opportunity. Leaders reaching for these opportunities will need to question their own assumptions and imagine new possibilities. Those who do will compete more effectively; they also will be better able to contribute to broader solutions, and ultimately to a new and more inclusive narrative of progress.” It’s got me thinking.

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