We have all heard the painful clichés at the business conferences and read them in the self-help books – ‘the glass is half-full’, ‘look for the silver lining’. The sentiment of optimism is not one we are unfamiliar with in our modern world of self-help. Despite this, 1 in 7 Australians will experience depression in their lifetime and 1 in 4 will experience anxiety. 1 in 7 young people experience a mental health condition in a year. The popular sentiment of optimism has not seemed to translate into a happier or more fulfilled society.
‘Access is the new ownership.’
With the recent dramatic growth of companies like Airbnb, Uber and Spotify, it is hard to overlook the common denominator linking multiple major industries. The concept of ownership seems to be aging into a thing of the past, as renting and borrowing become more legitimate solutions to everyday needs.
If you had told the manual workers of the previous centuries that one day the average person’s ‘work’ would primarily be conducted from one little device we call a ‘laptop’, they would not have believed you – and they definitely would not have thought of it as ‘work’. Today, we are in a similar situation. What we have come to understand as ‘work’ is changing rapidly – the employment experience of tomorrow is certain to look drastically different to the one we have come to know.
In the existing world of power and politics, the story of David and Goliath has never really rung true. Aside from the odd revolutionary who led a charge against the world’s reigning forces, power has historically always belonged to organisations – be they religious institutions, government bureaucracies or corporate behemoths. The individual has always lacked power.
In a recent address at the World Economic Forum, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argued persuasively that the “the pace of change may never have been this fast, but it will never again be this slow.”
As another year draws to a close, it’s worth pausing and taking stock of just how much has changed in the space of 12 months - while recognizing that the coming year will see changes of even greater scale and significance.
In this 2019 Tech Trends Review, I explore the good, the bad and the bizarre. In other words, which breakthroughs have been most positive and hopeful, which trends are slightly more concerning (in my humble opinion), and which new technologies have been downright strange.
One thing we know about disruption is that it is definitively unpredictable. Perhaps the most unprecedented disruption businesses have faced in recent years has been that of environmental sustainability. As awareness of climate change and its dangers has grown exponentially in the last few years, with student protests filling cities and legislation being passed in many countries, businesses are having to respond to the overwhelming consumer demand for environmental sustainability in products.
If you ask any high school teacher what the biggest killer of class productivity is in a class of students after lunch they will tell you, in more or less the same words, it is inertia – the tired drag of disinterested students who will not act unless acted upon by an external force, often in the form of a frustrated teacher. The same goes for large and mature organizations. In business, just as it is in nature, size is almost always inversely related to agility, and inertia is the biggest killer of progress and productivity.