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THE 5 BIGGEST GLOBAL
TRENDS EVERY BUSINESS
MUST BE READY FOR
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
THE 5 BIGGEST GLOBAL TRENDS EVERY BUSINESS
MUST BE READY FOR
Our world is constantly changing, and businesses need to adapt to
these changes in order to thrive. Here we look at the 5 biggest global
trends: Focus on our environment, economic power shifts, growing
divergence and polarization, shifting demographics, and social, cultural
and workplace shifts.
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
No business operates in a vacuum. Today’s organizations are continually
shaped by the world around them, and the same will be true for the
organizations of the future. It makes sense, then, that business leaders must
pay attention to emerging trends in politics, economics and society if they
want to build a robust, sustainable organization.
In this article, I explore the five biggest global trends – and how businesses
must prepare for them.
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
TREND 1: OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR PLANET
You only need to look at the abnormal weather patterns and natural disasters
we’re experiencing to know that our planet is under immense strain. Couple that
with a growing world population, and you have a tinder box of uncertainties
around crop production, food security, and migration, to name just a few. By the
end of this century, as many as 150–200 million people could be forced to migrate
from land that will be underwater. And to keep pace with the growing global
population, estimates suggest we’ll have to increase food production by between
26 percent and 68 percent by 2050. That’s a big increase for an already struggling
planet to accommodate.
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
I consider the emerging climate disaster to be the biggest challenge humanity has
ever faced. And this concern is widespread; according to Ipsos, globally, 73 percent
of people agree we’re on course for a climate disaster.
So what has this got to do with your business? With a global majority agreeing that
the world is facing a huge crisis, we can expect consumers to gravitate towards more
sustainable options. And this means your organization must do everything it can to
maximize its green credentials.
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
TREND 2: SHIFTS IN ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL POWER
Solving the climate crisis requires countries to work together. So the fact that global
economic and political power structures are undergoing huge changes makes this job all
the more difficult.
What do I mean by changing power structures? In a nutshell, by 2050, the list of the most
economically and politically powerful countries in the world will look very different to today.
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
China’s economy, for example, is now predicted to overtake the United States by 2028, five
years earlier than previously thought. And the combined economic power of the E7
economies – China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia, and Turkey – could be double that
of the G7 by 2040.
The takeaway here? As economic power shifts, it will become more expensive for
organizations to outsource services to countries such as India. This is something businesses
will have to plan for. On the plus side, these economies could become strong markets for
products and services.
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
TREND 3: GROWING DIVERGENCE AND POLARIZATION
There have been some notable examples of political fragmentation and
growing divergence in recent years. Brexit. President Trump withdrawing
the US from the Paris Agreement on climate mitigation. Russia
announcing it has the ability to completely unplug from the rest of the
world’s internet and operate its own independent internet… In short, after
decades of countries growing closer together, there are signs that they
are beginning to "consciously uncouple."
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
When information and analytics company IHS Markit set out its prediction of how the
world would look in 2025, it said the “fragmented world” scenario – in which the US,
China, the EU, and other key global players retreat from globalization and turn their
gaze inwards – is the most likely. COVID-19 is likely to exacerbate this further as
countries are forced to focus on domestic problems.
This growing divergence may mean companies find themselves locked out of certain
markets, which means relying on any one overseas market in our increasingly changing
world is a high-risk strategy.
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
TREND 4: SHIFTING DEMOGRAPHICS
The global population in 2050, or even 2030, will look very different from how it looks
today. That’s because the population is growing (globally, that is – some countries are
experiencing population decline). What’s more, populations are getting older, the middle
class is growing, and people are increasingly living in urban areas. As an example, the
number of megacities (classified by the UN as cities with 10 million or more inhabitants) is
also on the rise; by 2030, there will be 43 megacities, up from 33 in 2018.
Clearly, the business opportunities around the growing urban populations and consuming
classes are huge. But participating in these markets successfully will require businesses to
adapt to different cultural and political environments.
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
TREND 5: SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND WORKPLACE SHIFTS
The workplace demographic is also shifting significantly. The number of Gen Z-ers and
millennials in the workplace is on the rise, and baby boomers are retiring. And with this
changing workforce come changing expectations and priorities; as an example, 65
percent of people want to work for an organization “with a powerful social conscience.”
How we work is changing, too. One in five global employees now work remotely at least
some of the time, and the coronavirus pandemic will only accelerate this “work from
anywhere” culture. Organizational structures will become more fluid, and more people
will expect to "float" between teams, roles, and employers. The days of the "job for life"
are well and truly gone, and more people will work in the gig economy, as freelancers,
and as free agents.
© 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
All employers must therefore assess their working practices to see whether they are
offering this changing workforce the working environment they want (and expect) –
one where people have greater flexibility, a better work-life balance, and a
meaningful connection with the brands they work for.
These five global trends represent very real opportunities – and risks – for
businesses. Read more about these and other future trends in my new book,
Business Trends in Practice: The 25+ Trends That are Redefining Organizations.
Packed with real-world examples, it cuts through the hype to present the key trends
that will shape the businesses of the future.
© 2021 Bernard Marr , Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved
Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker,
futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and
companies. He helps organisations improve their business performance, use data
more intelligently, and understand the implications of new technologies such as
artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains, and the Internet of Things.
LinkedIn has ranked Bernard as one of the world’s top 5 business influencers. He is
a frequent contributor to the World Economic Forum and writes a regular column for
Forbes. Every day Bernard actively engages his 1.5 million social media followers
and shares content that reaches millions of readers.
hello@bernardmarr.com
www.bernardmarr.com

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The 5 Biggest Global Trends Every Business Must Be Ready For

  • 1. THE 5 BIGGEST GLOBAL TRENDS EVERY BUSINESS MUST BE READY FOR
  • 2. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved THE 5 BIGGEST GLOBAL TRENDS EVERY BUSINESS MUST BE READY FOR Our world is constantly changing, and businesses need to adapt to these changes in order to thrive. Here we look at the 5 biggest global trends: Focus on our environment, economic power shifts, growing divergence and polarization, shifting demographics, and social, cultural and workplace shifts.
  • 3. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved No business operates in a vacuum. Today’s organizations are continually shaped by the world around them, and the same will be true for the organizations of the future. It makes sense, then, that business leaders must pay attention to emerging trends in politics, economics and society if they want to build a robust, sustainable organization. In this article, I explore the five biggest global trends – and how businesses must prepare for them.
  • 4. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved TREND 1: OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR PLANET You only need to look at the abnormal weather patterns and natural disasters we’re experiencing to know that our planet is under immense strain. Couple that with a growing world population, and you have a tinder box of uncertainties around crop production, food security, and migration, to name just a few. By the end of this century, as many as 150–200 million people could be forced to migrate from land that will be underwater. And to keep pace with the growing global population, estimates suggest we’ll have to increase food production by between 26 percent and 68 percent by 2050. That’s a big increase for an already struggling planet to accommodate.
  • 5. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved I consider the emerging climate disaster to be the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. And this concern is widespread; according to Ipsos, globally, 73 percent of people agree we’re on course for a climate disaster. So what has this got to do with your business? With a global majority agreeing that the world is facing a huge crisis, we can expect consumers to gravitate towards more sustainable options. And this means your organization must do everything it can to maximize its green credentials.
  • 6. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved TREND 2: SHIFTS IN ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL POWER Solving the climate crisis requires countries to work together. So the fact that global economic and political power structures are undergoing huge changes makes this job all the more difficult. What do I mean by changing power structures? In a nutshell, by 2050, the list of the most economically and politically powerful countries in the world will look very different to today.
  • 7. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved China’s economy, for example, is now predicted to overtake the United States by 2028, five years earlier than previously thought. And the combined economic power of the E7 economies – China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia, and Turkey – could be double that of the G7 by 2040. The takeaway here? As economic power shifts, it will become more expensive for organizations to outsource services to countries such as India. This is something businesses will have to plan for. On the plus side, these economies could become strong markets for products and services.
  • 8. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved TREND 3: GROWING DIVERGENCE AND POLARIZATION There have been some notable examples of political fragmentation and growing divergence in recent years. Brexit. President Trump withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement on climate mitigation. Russia announcing it has the ability to completely unplug from the rest of the world’s internet and operate its own independent internet… In short, after decades of countries growing closer together, there are signs that they are beginning to "consciously uncouple."
  • 9. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved When information and analytics company IHS Markit set out its prediction of how the world would look in 2025, it said the “fragmented world” scenario – in which the US, China, the EU, and other key global players retreat from globalization and turn their gaze inwards – is the most likely. COVID-19 is likely to exacerbate this further as countries are forced to focus on domestic problems. This growing divergence may mean companies find themselves locked out of certain markets, which means relying on any one overseas market in our increasingly changing world is a high-risk strategy.
  • 10. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved TREND 4: SHIFTING DEMOGRAPHICS The global population in 2050, or even 2030, will look very different from how it looks today. That’s because the population is growing (globally, that is – some countries are experiencing population decline). What’s more, populations are getting older, the middle class is growing, and people are increasingly living in urban areas. As an example, the number of megacities (classified by the UN as cities with 10 million or more inhabitants) is also on the rise; by 2030, there will be 43 megacities, up from 33 in 2018. Clearly, the business opportunities around the growing urban populations and consuming classes are huge. But participating in these markets successfully will require businesses to adapt to different cultural and political environments.
  • 11. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved TREND 5: SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND WORKPLACE SHIFTS The workplace demographic is also shifting significantly. The number of Gen Z-ers and millennials in the workplace is on the rise, and baby boomers are retiring. And with this changing workforce come changing expectations and priorities; as an example, 65 percent of people want to work for an organization “with a powerful social conscience.” How we work is changing, too. One in five global employees now work remotely at least some of the time, and the coronavirus pandemic will only accelerate this “work from anywhere” culture. Organizational structures will become more fluid, and more people will expect to "float" between teams, roles, and employers. The days of the "job for life" are well and truly gone, and more people will work in the gig economy, as freelancers, and as free agents.
  • 12. © 2021 Bernard Marr, Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved All employers must therefore assess their working practices to see whether they are offering this changing workforce the working environment they want (and expect) – one where people have greater flexibility, a better work-life balance, and a meaningful connection with the brands they work for. These five global trends represent very real opportunities – and risks – for businesses. Read more about these and other future trends in my new book, Business Trends in Practice: The 25+ Trends That are Redefining Organizations. Packed with real-world examples, it cuts through the hype to present the key trends that will shape the businesses of the future.
  • 13. © 2021 Bernard Marr , Bernard Marr & Co. All rights reserved Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organisations improve their business performance, use data more intelligently, and understand the implications of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains, and the Internet of Things. LinkedIn has ranked Bernard as one of the world’s top 5 business influencers. He is a frequent contributor to the World Economic Forum and writes a regular column for Forbes. Every day Bernard actively engages his 1.5 million social media followers and shares content that reaches millions of readers.