The year is almost finished. That makes it time to look forward. We had some discussions in our management team, in our network, and with external media partners to talk about what themes will be or should be on the agenda in 2012.
Below the result
Themes for Professionals
- Intrapreneurship: Most professionals – capable talented people who are on the payroll of companies – we speak to are looking for opportunities to develop themselves and their careers, and believe the most important steps they have to take involve development from professional to entrepreneur (or intrapreneur). Wikipedia about intrapreneurship: In 1992, The American Heritage Dictionary acknowledged the popular use of a new word, intrapreneur, to mean “A person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation”. Intrapreneurship is now known as the practice of a corporate management style that integrates risk-taking and innovation approaches, as well as the reward and motivational techniques, that are more traditionally thought of as being the province of entrepreneurship.
Independent Professionals: Once a professional has taken the step to become independent, and thus in a sense an entrepreneur, the themes highest on the agenda are
- Growth: on the one hand there is growth as in; Personal Development, on the other hand the growth of their business through more professional services, such as acquisition or sales, personal marketing and risk mitigating services on the fiscal, legal, and pensions side.
- The Shift: another theme we picked up is the interest of especially independent professionals, to make the move from ambition to Purpose & Mastery.
Entrepreneurs: among entrepreneurs the prevailing themes (next to “what the impact of the economic crisis, the credit crisis and the euro crisis really is”) are
- Network: how to operate as network companies in a networked society
- Content Marketing: how to use permission marketing (thinking as a publisher) versus bug and beg marketing,
- Effectuation: The theories of Saras Sarasvathy of Carnegy Mellon University on how her research of successful entrepreneurs uncovered five basic principles these people shared. Her 2001 publication “Causation and Effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency” was the start of a whole series of publications on the subject.
- Business Execution: IT is now beyond the first two phases (more efficiency through IT in the backoffice, and more efficiency in IT), and can now become in integral part of a business strategy. Technology and Information deployed to create value. IT needs to build better cases for business value, it needs to play a role in driving customer centricity (and track customer sentiment, usage, and profitability through analytics), and it needs to leverage business analytics to foster innovation.
- Business Technology Integration: Making money with technology. CIO’s need to be much greater strategic partners for the businesses they support Business Model Transformation. CIO looses and business takes control.
And then there are the technology driven themes like:
- Mobility: Bring your own device, Client/Consumer interaction, Mobile payment
- Consumerization: the trend for new information technology to emerge first in the consumer market and then spread into business organizations, resulting in the convergence of the IT and consumer electronics industries, and a shift in IT innovation from large businesses to the home. For example, many people now find that their home based IT equipment and services are both more capable and less expensive than what is provided in their workplace. The term, consumerization, was first popularized by Douglas Neal and John Taylor of CSC‘s Leading Edge Forum in 2001 and is one of the key drivers of the Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 movements
- Social: Social Media, If you don’t have a strategy by now, you’re behind. Globalization and tech savvy millennials are forcing firms to rethink how relevant current and future customers will find their firms. Put together a social media panel or team, Think about how you can effectively manage the data you collect
- Cloud: ‘nough said, but still a theme for years to come.
- Big data: ‘Big Data’ is a term applied to the rapid growth of data that has resulted from more automated collection methods and greater capacity for storage and processing. This exponential rise is driven by the proliferation of sensors for gathering data automatically, including those in mobile phones, and more activity taking place online, which can be more easily recorded. Although the use of large data volumes for business is not new, some things have changed, creating new opportunities for innovation. There are three key changes that have brought the issue of data onto many more agendas. Firstly, data storage, processing power and cloud services continue to make large scale data analysis more and more accessible. You no longer need to build your own data centre to use this technique, expanding the pool of users. Secondly, there are many more opportunities to capture data, from sensors in phones and RFID tags in products, as well as a greater social acceptance of contributing manually entered data to social services. Thirdly, it is now possible to analyse unstructured data, so it is not necessary to run your business with detailed customer forms or electronic point of sale terminals to benefit from this form of analysis. Natural text in emails, photographs and sound can all be analysed and ‘mined’ for insights, rather than only structured, coded information that needed to be captured electronically or manually coded.
- Cash: CFOs believe they should play lead roles in managing financial risks, designing the capital structure, optimizing working capital, and managing investor relations. They also think they should more frequently play lead roles in managing capital investments and revising the dividend policy
- Growth: Growth remained the top priority for CFOs globally in the first quarter of 2011. With capital supply and efficiency gains largely accounted for, companies now appear focused on growth in a post-recession environment. New products and services, acquisitions and foreign market expansion are expected to be the key drivers behind this growth. Across EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)2, growth through product and market expansion tops the agenda for the majority of CFOs, with a focus on both raising capital expenditures, as well as making strategic acquisitions.
- Acquisitions: With improved access to capital in most economic regions, and with the risk appetite of CFOs consistently increasing around the world, it is no surprise that strategic acquisitions top the priorities list for many CFOs globally. However, despite expectations of increased M&A activity in 2011, there is concern that activity will be constrained by several key factors. In North America, CFOs are wary of unleashing the more than USD 2 trillion in collective balance-sheet cash that has remained on the sidelines since the recession. This limited spending appears to be the result of concerns about the economy and consumer demand, industry regulation, and a shortage of attractive investment opportunities. In EMEA, CFOs continue to expect M&A activity to increase in 2011, with the improving economic outlook and availability of financing. However, the ability for companies to secure targets with the right strategic fit and at the right price is increasingly becoming the limiting factor for CFOs. A similar story is unfolding in Australia, where the majority of CFOs intend to pursue M&A opportunities in 2011 but cite that the greatest hindrance to undertaking an acquisition has been the inability to identify a suitable target.
- Emerging Markets: Investing in emerging markets
- Performance Management: Move from administrative role (hire to retire), HR directors can play a boardroom role by identifying the decisive factors that play a role in strategy execution.
- Commoditization of HR: HR services will turn into commodities. HR resources will be outsourced together with the payroll activities, or replaced by do-it-yourself tools from the cloud. Before the term “Chief HR Officer” has become widely accepted, he or she will have the same fate as the CIO… early retirement. Recruitment can be done online, the Linkedin network will offer plenty opportunities to interact with candidates. References, assessments, salary benchmarks and training can be obtained online. So unless the CHRO becomes Chief Talent Officer, Chief People Officer or Chief Performance Officer, with a direct relation to the company’s strategy, he will be commoditized, or outsourced.
- Workforce Analytics: Workforce Analytics and – Planning
- Talent: Will there really be a war for Talent?
- Growth: Growth in an uncertain economy
- Customer retention: Customer retention: In a world of eroding customer loyalty, customer retention must be a top-down, high priority, company wide mission
- Reputation: Guarding your reputation
- Technology: Technology and Innovation
- Risk: Risk management and investments, Contingency
- Strategy Execution: Strategy Execution (Strategy consulting is dead…)
- Steering Teams: ExComms as teams: cooperation/interaction between boardmembers
- Value Creation: Strategy is not about power and money, but about Value Creation – and not only shareholder value. Strategy development and execution with value and purpose in mind will be a theme
- Innovation. in order to survive, companies – especially those operating in an increasing dynamic and digitalized environment, with knowledge being the most indispensable and important resource for innovation – need to establish trusted relations to aligned communities, networks and stakeholders. The notion of “embeddedness” is introduced to mark the increasing challenge of substantially integrating firms into their surrounding communities so as to assure the absorption of their exploitable knowledge. Innovation 3.0 (social Innovation) goes beyond Technological innovation, or Open Innovation (defined as “Innovation 2.0”) and clearly beyond Closed Innovation (defined as “Innovation 1.0”).
Non-execs: Consultancy, Contingency and Contacts instead of control and advice.
We expect to read and write articles about these themes – especially those that are on the agenda of different stakeholders – and we will no doubt see them pop up in conferences and seminars. And just maybe there will be some others, like “how to grow after the crisis”, or “the next Big Thing after Social Media”.