"Trends and why leaders of tomorrow need to understand consumers" - Reflections on Simon Corah's recent presentation
In the workplace of today, many of us are dealing with multiple short term demands and a pressure to fight fires. It is not always easy to find or justify the time to consider trends in the wider market, with questions such as "where is the market going?" and "how do we ensure our strategy focuses forwards, not backwards?" So, how do we discern between trends and fads?
This post argues that to be successful, leaders of tomorrow need to find that elusive time and focus, no matter what your background or function, and balancing short term demands with a deep commitment to understanding consumers.
According to a Simon Corah, CEO of the Sydney based Growth Mantra consultancy, trends are integral to strategy, and if we ignore trends or misinterpret them as passing fads, we are at risk of being left behind, with such high profile examples include Kodak and Nokia.
Simon argues that it is consumers that leaders of tomorrow, should look to because consumers set trends. By focusing on consumers and what consumers are doing, we can gain those valuable insights and a deeper understanding of where to head next.
At a recent Moir Group event, Simon highlighted the following eight super- trends:
Personalisation- Think some of the latest health apps. Google Health sells tailored health insurance based on your unique DNA and is one of the fastest growing health insurance offers globally.
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. - It is predicted that automation will grow exponentially in the next few years. On the one hand many jobs are predicted to become obsolete. One example often sited is routine compliance work. Yet on the other hand, a new breed of jobs are likely to grow in their place, including those of which we haven't yet heard much, such as automation ethicists or automation economists.
Share economy. - This trend is already well underway - consumers are demonstrating less interest in ownership and more interest in paid access or subscription. Air BnB is one example. Another is Spotify.
Open Innovation.- The STAR Alliance in the airline industry illustrates the trend towards collaboration in instances where there is no geographic competition.
Transparency. - Simon's example for this super-trend is Nike. Remember the storm in negative publicity that Nike experienced when the public learned of their abusive labour practices. Manufacture was outsourced overseas with workers being paid as little as 14c per hour. Having hit rock-bottom, Nike used transparency to address the potentially catastrophic scenario, publicly acknowledging their issues and printing a full list of contracted factories. Nike improved overseas workers pay and conditions, and published a detailed report on working conditions -'warts and all', embracing transparency to rebuild trust with consumers.
Simplification. An obsession for us at Moir Group and many leading businesses who continually strive to reduce complexity and get closer to making the customer journey as easy as possible. Amazon is seen as a world class benchmark in simplifying the consumer experience.
Privacy and Security. - Another trend with which we are already grappling with. Large companies such as Facebook and Google hold vast amounts of personal data. What level of privacy are we as consumers prepared to accept? Concurrently, as businesses we are all gaining more and more information about current and potential customers. How do we make use of this rich information responsibly, protecting the safety and interests of our consumers and ourselves?
Convergence. - The traditional distinction between many industries is blurring and as businesses evolve and adapt to the rapidly changing landscape, another super trend relates to convergence. The home furnishing business IKEA is also known for its food. Is Apple Home a technology offer, a home improvement or an electronics service? And importantly, what business are you in?
Bluetooth-enabled bandaging can now monitor and potentially revolutionise wound care. How about a Light N Easy menu based on your unique genome? Can a 3D printer produce a replacement human organ? Metromile's pay per mile insurance is an example of personalised insurance, which is extremely attractive to low mileage drivers. And swim suits can now alert the wearer when they are getting burned. While we don't know what will work, if we don't try we will be the next Kodak? By gaining a deep understanding of consumers, their current behaviour and where they are moving, leaders of tomorrow give themselves the best chance of adapting to our rapidly changing world and the best opportunities for future success.
If you'd like to know more about Moir Group's progress in developing a deeper .understanding of our candidates and clients, I would love to hear from you, please contact me on 02 9262 4836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And to learn more about Simon Corah's exciting work at Growth Mantra, see www.growthmantra.com.au