Nine business bets for our emerging digital economy

Nine business bets for our emerging digital economy

Marek Kowalkiewicz, QUT’s Professor and PwC Chair in Digital Economy, gives his nine bets on what’s changing in business, technology and society.

Bet #1:  Doing the same thing over and over again will never take you to new places.

More and more organisations are looking for new markets and opportunities. This will require looking for radically different ways of running business. Environmental sensing teams will be formed at many organisations with a goal of becoming aware and understanding the potential impact of new trends on their organisations.

Recommendation: Set up a team to do “environmental sensing”.

Bet #2: The gig economy train is not slowing down.

Newly emerging business models will only get stronger in 2016. The gig economy, where temporary positions are common and organisations use short-term contractors, will go well beyond Airbnb and Uber. We will see at least one new global player, most likely come from Asia; a market that has remained largely untapped.

Recommendation: Consider becoming a platform for the gig economy.

Bet #3: Delight your customers by predicting and meeting their needs ahead of time.

We will see a rise in proactive organisations, that is, organisations that are able to offer products and services the moment the need for them arises, often even before the customer realises there is a need. We will see the first commercial examples of predictive delivery (“your product is at the doorstep, would you like to buy it, or shall we take it back?”). All of it thanks to progress in digital identity.

Recommendation: Redefine your products and services, become a truly proactive organisation.

Bet# 4: Welcome your digital personal assistant.

Digital identity will enable not only new organisational behaviour, but also facilitate evolution of other technologies. Digital personal assistants, like Siri, will continue to evolve. They will not only be able to tell you where the film you want to see is playing on the weekend or remind you about a doctor’s appointment, they will be able to pay your bills, switch electricity providers or truly support you in your work, like a real assistant.

Recommendation: Get more things done by delegating to your digital PA.

Bet# 5: If the world around you moves faster than you do, the end is near.

Incumbents in asset-intensive industries will be challenged by technology advances even more than in previous years. High capacity batteries in garages and self-driving cars will enable individuals to trade electricity outside of the grid. The cord-cutting movement affecting cable TV will spread to other industries.

Recommendation: If you are an incumbent in your industry, focus on environmental sensing to avoid surprises.

Bet #6:  Digital capital is an enabler of social good.

Existing technologies will mature and be used in critical situations. Government agencies, emergency responders and disaster management will access Periscope and Facebook Mentions live streaming to gather intelligence. We will retain control of our digital selves and at the same time be able to “share our digital capital” whenever it may be helpful.

Recommendation: Have a close look at your assets. Can they deliver new value in the digital economy?

Bet#7: Hardware will become the new app.

More and more individuals will find it easy to join the “maker culture”. Platforms will allow more people to rapidly prototype hardware solutions. We will see examples of Internet of Things applications, like Fitbit, that are useful to individuals. Environments like Apple’s HomeKit will only add to the momentum. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter will pave the way to efficient prototype-to-product processes.

Recommendation: Join and support a makerspace.

Bet#8: Build a community and a product (or service) will come.

We will see more businesses starting in an unorthodox way: by first creating a community and only after that realising what product or service they could offer. Digital communities will become the new unfair advantage in every industry.

Recommendation: Identify and invest in your communities.

Bet#9: Digital intelligence is the new black.

Society will continue to learn how to deal with digital economy trends. We will move from digital literacy through digital behaviour to digital elegance. And we will see growing interest in cybersecurity.

Recommendation: Invest in digital literacy and development.

The PwC Chair in Digital Economy is a partnership between QUT’s Business School and Science and Engineering Faculty, PwC, the Queensland Government and Brisbane Marketing.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.