Let’s play the New Year guessing game.
What is 2022 going to bring for us business owners? First, I don’t have a crystal ball and nor does anyone else. We will have to continue to manage our businesses through uncertainty and rapid change, even when it scares us sh*tless.
Back in late 2018, Bloomberg published its core prediction for 2019, and it was: “Predictions will be wrong, random, or worse.” Although that article has a dateline, the premise is timeless; and since then, we’ve seen more surprises than we could have imagined. There’s the obvious (you know which pandemic I mean), and then how about… NFTs? A ship jammed sideways in the Suez Canal? A cryptocurrency called Dogecoin, set up as a joke?
But still, it’s fun to peer into that crystal ball, isn’t it? Here’s a respectable attempt, rounding up 300 different expert sources:
The focus is American. “Inflation slowly eases off” is not how I would describe the picture in our corner of the woods. I think in Australia it’s hardly getting started – but that’s crystal-ball gazing, right? (You can read more on this here).
We may get surer guidance examining megatrends. These are powerful, large-scale forces, some quick some slow, that can transform our society, and the businesses that operate in it. Think votes for women, electricity, motorised personal transport.
Discussion at this point usually collapses onto technology, and information technology at that. Sure, there’s some big changes there, in the recent past and near future. But technology is only the sum of our tools. What we choose, as a society, to do with it is the bigger question.
Here are some megatrends that I suggest should show up on our business horizon-scan for the coming year:
- Continuing liberation and empowerment of women. Effects on consumer and investment choices, political dynamics, employment relations, and Government spending. If your workplace is still not female-friendly, get with the program.
- Irreversible change to cloud-based remote and home working. You go sit in an office block all day if that’s your thing. More and more of us would rather stay somewhere comfortable (which might be a local work hub, a café or a home) and get some work done.
- Continuing shift of the global centre of gravity towards China. Upgrading our Chinese cultural literacy will be a good use of time in the Year of the Tiger.
- Growing pressure to decarbonise the economy. If your business depends on fossil fuel, make a plan.
- Last but not least – the more technology we use, the more important the human-to-human connection becomes. This is one of the biggest competitive advantages SMEs can have over the corporates: we can easily give our business a human face and a human voice.
Here’s to your business success this year!