What Does The Future Hold?

As one decade ends and another begins what does the future hold for business in a world changing at tremendous speed. The normal enthusiasm for New Year resolutions is a little restrained by uncertainty in politics and the economy.

The world in 2020

The world in 2020 is increasingly connected through the sweeping spread of an internet-driven digital economy. But Brexit related political and economic fallout are causing businesses to be cautious about the year ahead. The predictability of markets is uncertain as politics triggers the need for greater levels of management caution and control. But there will be opportunities once current levels of disruption settle down and return to more normal patterns. The next decade will, however, bring major change in the make-up of the population, as so called baby boomers reach retirement age and the more recent millennial generation takes centre stage. Climate change, automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning will dominate the agenda too, as they increasingly expand to disrupt people’s jobs and lives. But such unrest will also create openings for businesses and entrepreneurs as new trends grow into new industries that generate huge wealth and prosperity.

In the short-term

In the short-term, however, the economy will be volatile as businesses feel less in control and are forced to wait to see what happens in the early part of the year before making key decisions. Politics is one of the big issues affecting the actions of business leaders in 2020. For instance, the outcome of trade talks between the UK and the EU and the US and China will affect local and global businesses in all parts of the world. The looming nature of the talks will change traditional modes of behaviour, as businesses hold greater cash reserves and stall investment spending to buffer against the unknown. Business decisions will be postponed or made at a slower pace, as caution rather than entrepreneurial risk takes priority in the boardroom. Elections always affect the economy but in recent years they have been too intrusive and held too much sway over business decisions. The need for companies to engage in long-term planning will be a feature of 2020 too, as it is one way to manage in times of turmoil. Similarly, businesses will have to consider future trends in technology, the effect of an aging population on health services, increasing levels of automation and artificial intelligence, and the demands of embracing climate change at all levels in society. The need to increase levels of sustainability in every part of the global ecosystem and supply chain will also take priority, as it shoots to the top of every business and political agenda.

So, the next decade will trigger change at a faster pace than ever before, as political and economic uncertainty stalls business investment decisions.