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EsadeGeo’s series on transformational dynamics

Transformational dynamics

The world of business has become a very fluid place as old boundaries between sectors and markets fade or even become obsolete and the speed of adjustments to new conditions increases.

Recent crises (whether financial, political or pandemic) have underscored how dangerous it is to think narrowly about the context for business. While this means that there is a lot of uncertainty, but it does not mean just more risk—it means greater challenges and opportunities. In this context much value can be derived from having a more sensitive and wide-ranging strategic ‘radar’. The information flowing into such a radar needs to draw from major drivers of change already at work and from potential new – or newly impactful – movements and impulses.

Megatrends is a very popular term used to describe patterns or drivers of change that need to be given consideration considered because they have the potential to shake up your industry or market. The mega asset manager company BlackRock, for instance, describes them as “powerful, transformative forces that could change the global economy, business and society”. There are many lists of megatrends available – from consulting firms and individual experts or authors – that offer valuable relevant insights. But most of them incorporate the seemingly unavoidable bias of experts and consultants towards projecting more certainty than is warranted.

Our series of notes spotlighting transformational dynamics will be looking for impulses and changes of special relevance for the context in which business enterprises operate

A major source of the heightened uncertainty that surrounds us has to do with the interconnectivity – both across geographies and domains or markets – that characterises the world today. This means that none of these trends or change drivers exist in isolation; they collide and overlap magnifying the transformative impact of any one of them … and multiplying the uncertainty they generate.

Our series of notes spotlighting transformational dynamics (TDs) will be looking for impulses and changes of special relevance for the context in which business enterprises operate. This does not mean looking just at shifts affecting specific sectors but exploring forces that could reshape what motivates consumers choices, supply options and even industry or market boundaries. The main lens that we will apply to select and analyse individual TDs is the potential they have for shaking up the strategic options and success factors for businesses. We will look at TDs with a good pinch of skepticism to avoid undue reliance on trend extrapolations and ensure that gratuitous predictability does not creep in.

Each TD note will consider: the background provided by recent and trajectories; and the prospects (what we know and what are the major sources of uncertainty). We will also offer cursory thought starters on how challenges and opportunities related to each TD might impact different kinds of businesses and markets.

We aim to produce notes on individual TDs regularly (several per month) and we are starting from a preliminary list of the TDs to explore – ranging from mature to very incipient one – that can be sorted out roughly into half a dozen buckets. Each bucket contains a range of more specific dynamics. Some examples are noted below, and the full list will remain work-in-progress as we proceed and learn from the process and the comments it generates.

  • People: from demographic patterns and challenges to socio-economic segments and to genomics
  • Society: from health care to education to inequality, to urbanisation, to values and to privacy
  • Geo-economics: from the landscape of economic growth to trade, cross-border investment, and philanthropy
  • Finance: from asset management concentration to fintech, to venture capital and to cryptocurrencies
  • Technology: from digital platforms to IoT, to AI, to robotics, to connectivity and to space exploration
  • Resources: from input scarcities to renewable energy, to neo-materials and to climate change

Finally, we envisage that each note to be of interest to various audiences, but we expect the greatest value will come from using the full collection of TD notes (eventually amounting to possibly 40-50) that can provide a basis for a wide-ranging exploration of vulnerabilities and opportunities that businesses and other organisations will want to keep track of as part of their strategic ‘radar’.

EsadeGeo’s series on transformational dynamics





Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics