Thinking about where we will go . . . take 2.

Hey Joe,

Good thoughts and thanks for getting us rolling on our Business 2020 discussion. I’ve been thinking and collecting notes on this topic since you first posed it. Predicting the future is a more daunting task than I originally anticipated.

Two issues you raised were on my list as well.

  • Rate of Change. Speed is becoming critical. Not only the speed at which you change, but the speed at which you can adapt to the change around you.
  • Technology. The disruption of technology has only just begun. Increasingly, more jobs will be replaced by technology leaving people searching to find different ways to create value.

Here are a few other thoughts I have about what the future might look like.

  1. Individualization and customization of products will not longer be a differentiator but an expectation. Customers increasingly expect their products to be unique to their needs. As an example, the NFL has begum promoting that you can now order jerseys and shirts from your favorite NFL Teams from their website where you choose the design, color and what it says on the back. We expect to be able to customize everything and that will continue.
  2. Trust is officially dead. Skepticism has long been a label of Gen X, but every generation is growing increasingly skeptical. People get lied to or spun everywhere they turn and it seems that there’s no one to trust. So, transparency and full disclosure will no longer be a choice but a requirement on the part of organizations. Companies who can build loyalty and trust over time through their actions will have an advantage.
  3. Design will be king. The ability to anticipate customer (and employee) needs and desires and design products and services to brilliantly meet those will differentiate the successful from the rest. This isn’t just artistic design, but product design, brand design, communication design, organization design, etc. (Think Zappos, iPhone apps, and the Obama presidential campaign–all examples or brilliant design in one way or another).

It seems that we are collectively becoming more impatient and demanding as people. We want things our way, right now. I don’t see that this trend will turn and certainly this trend will impact not only how we do business, but how we design our organizations as well.

On to the topic of the organizations of the future.



  1. Great post Jason. Do you believe that the points you raise above are uniquely American or global in nature? How does culture play into the relative importance of "dead trust", for example? Would love your thoughts.

  2. Thanks for the question Mark. I thought a lot about the local-global perspective as I was writing the post. I would say that my post was written through a specifically American lens. My knowledge of global trends is limited, so I'm not certain how broad some of these trends might be. I think that the pace of change and technology shifts are clearly global trends. However, the resuting impacts might look very different depending on the culture of a particular country or region. What do you think?

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