Sustainability – Sustainability is one of the defining challenges of our lifetime. It is also the innovation opportunity of a generation. Entities are increasingly embracing the business case for sustainability. Becoming a purpose-driven business may require difficult trade-offs as long-term investments are prioritised over short-term profit making. Businesses that have refocussed their purpose have experienced some important payoffs. Purpose-driven businesses have employees who are more engaged, committed and motivated. Research has shown that businesses that both define and act with purpose outperform their peers by 5-7%. This also provides businesses with an opportunity to differentiate their products, as customers are four times more likely to buy from businesses with a strong purpose.
Trust – In the post-pandemic era, trust will be a licence to operate. At a time that trust in governments and institutions is at an all-time low, the importance of building trust in an increasingly virtual and connected world will be critical to create long-term value. People want to trust the organisations they buy from, work for and invest in.
Technology – The pandemic has given businesses that were well-positioned to work remotely and function independently of a physical space, a competitive advantage. It has also highlighted the fact that we are capable of being far more flexible and able to work remotely much more extensively than what we thought possible. The pandemic has catapulted us into the ‘digital first’ era overnight. But the technology revolution is only just beginning. Many studies show that the desire for technological acceleration is one of the most significant drivers of transformation. If businesses are to successfully harness technology at speed, they need to upskill and reskill their employees. Organisations will also need to create a culture of agility and a transformative mindset to be able to successfully adopt digital transformation.
Trade – Geopolitical tensions and the uncertainty that they create are forcing businesses to re-evaluate their operating models. As trade flows and patterns are changing, businesses will need to adapt their strategies to deal with ever changing and unpredictable complexities. The optimisation of supply chains will be critical, not only to ensure resilience in times of instability, but also from an ethical point of view due to pressures from stakeholders. As economies around the world re-open at different rates, businesses with flexible trade strategies will be best placed to take advantage of the opportunities to grow.
People – Any purpose-led long-term value strategy will only be successful where people are put front and centre of everything. Businesses need the right talent to conceptualise and execute a purpose-led strategy – a scarce resource. The most advanced innovations, or cutting-edge technologies, can fail if they lose sight of human values. Leading businesses are already reimagining how their people work and where they work, establishing a new hybrid approach to working. This will not only manage the transition to the post-pandemic era, but also enable these businesses to allow increasingly flexible working arrangements for their employees in the future.