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🔭 5 Global Trends That Will Affect Businesses in 2020 🔎📈

Every once in awhile, I try to look at the global business environment and do this exercise where I try to understand what is going on and what one should be looking out for in the predictable future. The purpose of this exercise is to gain some insights into what areas one can focus to be able to plan strategically and to be well prepared to deliver relevance in the metamorphic design of today’s marketplace.

Although none of the information below is a novelty and shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, here’s what seem to be the general trends to look out for this year:

1. Eco-shame

With environmental activism on the rise in the past years as the consequences of climate change have become clear, there’s a new trend to call out companies that pollute the planet. In many countries around the world, there have been many initiatives introduced to start dealing with pollution, however, eco-shaming’s main stage is #social media.

From plastic shaming to flight shaming, it would seem that eco-shaming is a thing and in some cases, it can impact your business (not necessarily in a positive way, unless you are actively working to capitalize on this trend).

2. Isolationism

In the past, the macro trend used to be globalization. And it seemed to be a stable and predictable trend. However, in recent years, many countries have shifted their political landscapes towards an isolationist model. Trade-wars, tariffs and international agreements being modified, altered or exited from have proven to have a consistent impact on companies scaled globally.

Monitoring key indicators for isolation policies, such as the US-China trade war, economic regionalization in Asia, and nationalist movements in Europe, reveals how likely associated risks may occur.

3. Women Empowerment

A global megatrend on a steady rise, empowering women means they will benefit from more and more decisive power over finance and business development gaining more prominence in the boardroom and at the family front. For businesses, this translates into an important trend: many more goods, services, and advertisements will be specifically targeted to women.

4. A Global Brain

Although it would seem like a trend that is in direct conflict with the second one, this one refers to machines rather than humans: IoT. It is estimated that by 2020, over 30 billion devices will be connected. Deep learning inspired by AI, neural networks and evolved augmented reality has become common. This is a potential enabler of opportunities in all areas of life: politics, education, media, health, commerce & leisure which could overcome the challenges generated by the isolationist policies.

5. Flatter Organisations

The business environment as we know it has been rapidly changing. With an ever-growing population and with most of the baby boomers approaching retirement, millennials will be taking over management positions, while Generation Z will be steadily entering the workforce. And with a workforce that has a deeper understanding of the impact of technology, organizations will find themselves in positions where they will be seeking to find faster decision-making processes. And the most common blocker in such a process seems to be the old, vertical managerial structure which has its roots in the Industrial Age.

A consequence of those faster decisions is the need for less management. Organizations need to be flatter to process information faster unless they want to risk nimble competitors seizing business opportunities.

There are a lot more trends worth mentioning, and obviously, these are somewhat subjective based on my worldview. However, I would love to see what you believe to be major trends to follow that can have a great impact on businesses.