Written by Peter-Jan Roose
At BrightWolves, we don’t pretend to be futurists. On the contrary, we are pragmatists and do not pretend to own a crystal ball. Nevertheless, clients regularly ask us to paint a picture of the next decade and what choices they should make today, to have their businesses well-positioned for success in the reality that 2030 will bring.
The directions we take and the choices we make have an enormous impact, but these 5 trends will surely continue to reshape the world in 2030.
5 trends to keep into account when transitioning your business
TRANSPARENCY: a more open but less private world?
The ongoing trend of collecting information on every person, product, and organization will not cease. On the contrary, it will grow exponentially over the next decade, and so will the pressure to share that information with all stakeholders. The tools to utilize this information will become much better as well, making decision-making easier and more efficient in the process. However, these tools will deteriorate privacy in the process.
How will your business handle this transparent world?
GLOBAL POLICY: global or local, which will prevail?
Today, the discussions about a truly global policy on fighting climate change, resource pressures, inequality, and poverty continue to be a moving target. The exact outcome is still unclear, whether it will be a global approach or every region/country for itself.
The Paris Agreement was a great start: COP26 showed that some regions are stepping up … but in the end, it will be businesses that will lead the transition towards a more inclusive and sustainable world. Anticipating politics remains nearly impossible, and there’s no time to wait.
Are you already preparing for future policy in the locations you do business?
RESOURCE PRESSURES: constraints will be everywhere
Demographic growth, advances in technology, and income growth resulting in higher living standards are exerting growing pressure on the world’s natural resources. Confronting these constraints head-on will be important, especially if we want to keep volumes of major commodities in line with economic growth. Rethinking the material economy is necessary: sourcing fewer virgin materials, using recycled or remanufactured products. Embracing circular models is gaining traction today but will hit the mainstream in 2030.
How will your business guarantee the sustainable use of resources?
In addition, the pressure on physical resources, like talent, is increasing. The “war of talent” is the #1 priority of many business leaders and this will only rise towards 2030. And rightfully, high performers are up to 4 times more productive than average ones (“The Best And The Rest”). Moreover, changes in the workforce are accelerating faster than expected, fueled by technology shifts and the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study  from the World Economic Forum forecasts that by 2025, 50% of the world’s employees will need upskilling.
Will you have a sense of urgency to upskill your talents?
TECHNOLOGY SHIFTS: connected 24/7
Technology is everywhere! Every (new) device will be connected, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will rule our daily lives. This shift will create new jobs but also eliminate many others. Today’s niche technologies, such as blockchain, machine learning, natural language processing, and intelligent automation will hit the mainstream by 2030.
Clean technology, such as electric vehicles, is one major technology shift that is currently ongoing. Bloomberg New Energy Finance sees electric cars making up 25% of the global car fleet by 2040, impacting the economy for big and small companies. Moreover, the Flemish government has decided that every NEW car as of 2029 needs to be non-conventional, meaning electrical or on hydrogen. According to calculations, Belgium will need to have 150.000 charging stations to handle this situation.
Do you think electric cars or hydrogen cars will prevail in 2030?
CLIMATE CRISIS: the world will continue to feature regular extreme weather patterns everywhere
The time of disregarding climate change as “fake news” has long passed … it’s certain that climate is already changing dramatically today, that it will continue to do so, and that we are the cause of this change. Continuing to ignore this fact when you take decisions would be foolish, to say the least.
The Glasgow summit, also known as COP26, will be remembered for a breakthrough signal on phasing down fossil fuels, a deal on global carbon trading, a clear priority for methane reduction, and a global agreement by the USA and China to collaborate on climate action.
However, it will also be remembered for its failure to put the world on track for 1.5°C (2.4°C when this article was written), and its unclear pledges on financing the urgent transition.
This crisis will be the biggest threat humanity has ever faced, and the results will be unrelenting. The impact on coastal areas, massive decline of many species populations, the loss of ecosystems, droughts, and floods will all provoke mass migration.
How will you safeguard your business in this unstable decade?
These trends will hit us hard, but to what degree?
One thing is clear: we need to start preparing today. Leaders putting ESG and Innovation at the center of their strategic decisions should consider:
The climate: Businesses have the economic incentive and moral responsibility to reduce the damage as soon as possible, not only from your own company but from all the actors within your value- or supply chain;
The people: all these shifts will have a significant impact on the human aspect of doing business, so consider all your stakeholders in every decision;
To embrace transparency: you will not have a choice, it will be expected;
The next generation: in 2030 the Millennials and Gen Z will make up most of the workforce. Listen and involve them now …
If you have questions or if you want to share your vision 2030, feel free to reach out for open discussion.
In the next few days, we will take you on a journey and show how these trends will impact Corporate Leaders across sectors. We hope you will follow along!
 The Best And The Rest: Revisiting The Norm Of Normality Of Individual Performance – Ernest O'Boyle & Herman Aguinis
 Recession and Automation Changes Our Future of Work, But There are Jobs Coming, Report Says – 20Oct 2020, Amanda Russo, World Economic Forum