For all C-level executives, connecting major strategic themes with the top technology and innovation trends should be paramount.
In the Transformative Age, every business must learn to adapt and reinvent itself — not as a one-off, but continuously. Change and agility must be embedded into operating models, to create and sustain competitive advantage in a world where platform businesses are causing industries to converge.
Technology is driving all of this, and keeping up with the pace of technological change to realize its potential has become a mandatory capability. Businesses, regardless of their industry and how successful they may be in winning in the market, need to be masters of emerging technology and embrace a "dynamic venturing" approach to foster innovation, both internally and across external ecosystems.
Independent of industry or geography, C-level executives at established, complex organizations are grappling with five strategic themes currently impacting markets and shaping the future of competitive advantage.
- Exponential customer centricity: Exponential customer-centricity is about reorienting the company culture in conjunction with enablement and empowerment through technology platforms.
- Agile ecosystems: Organizations need a new way to foster scale across ecosystems of collaborating partners, including ones they might collaborate with in one market segment but compete with in another.
- Platform business: For successful implementation of new platforms, organizations must move away from traditional business principles that explain the management of linear supply chains and conventional service models.
- Networks of excellence: Organizations must form dedicated networks of excellence (NoE) that are driven by a common purpose and must focus on disruptive and emerging trends or themes — coordinating and leveraging the best and most diverse skills and capabilities across the organization to encourage intrapreneurship at scale.
- Dynamic venturing: Organizations are required to pivot continuously to sustain and build new competitive advantage. Part of getting this right is knowing what’s out there and investing to establish the required capabilities of design to deploy.
To sustain and build new competitive advantage, organizations must know what's out there and must invest to establish the required capabilities.
Across the general imperatives of growing, optimizing and protecting the business, senior business and tech leaders are focused on one or multiple key business issues:
- Inclusive business growth: Driving top-line and bottom-line growth in a sustainable and inclusive way for customers, employees, shareholders and society
- Globally adaptive products and services at speed: Developing and releasing new products and services for global and local customers faster and better than the competition
- Unique experiences: Creating unique and superior experiences for global customers and employees, digitally and physically
- Meaningful insights: Obtaining and deriving information from various internal and external sources and supporting fact-based decision-making
- Agile organization and diverse workforce: Moving from matrix to network-based organizations with technology enablement and empowerment of multiple levels of workforce diversity
- Intelligent automation: Automating intelligently by combining and integrating robotic technologies with multiple components from different emerging technologies
- Regulatory and risk adjusted business: Adjusting the business in the context of regulatory, governmental and ethical norms and standards
- Continuous business protection and trust: Protecting the business from all kinds of internal and external threats and continuously communicating to all company stakeholders in a transparent way
- Evolving industry and ecosystem positioning: Developing mind and market share in a chosen industry or industries and constantly evaluating and managing relevant ecosystems of suppliers, partners, customers, startups and academia to support companies' positioning.
Technological evolution has been the result of the combination and recombination of foundational elements of technology. Innovation in the next 10 years will be driven by combining different technology elements in new ways.
Mature organizations can't innovate in the same way that startups do — they can only compete by sustaining their innovation efforts in the long term.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics: What is AI? We think of it as software that emulates human cognition, but it's really just math at an enormous scale. Leaders must have confidence that their AI systems are functioning reliably and accurately, and they must be able to trust the data being used; having a trusted AI framework addresses this area of concern.