Earlier in the week, we took a look at Accenture’s Business Futures 2021 report, which outlines six “signals” that are set to reshape the world of business as we know it. Originally a list of 400 crowdsourced trends, Accenture whittled this down to just 25 after extensive consultations with external advisors, academics and researchers. While all 25 signals were forecast to have a major impact on organisations in the next three years, six key signals – the signals that appear in the final report – were found to present opportunities and incentives for leaders that are essential to the future success of organisations.
Earlier in the week, we unpacked the first three signals – learning from the future, decentralising decision-making and moving from purpose-focused to purpose-run. You can read that post, here.
Below, we explore the other three signals highlighted in the Accenture Business Futures report
#4 Supply unbounded
During the global pandemic, we saw supply chains stretched like never. To meet expectations for fast, flexible, cost-effective and sustainable order fulfilment, organisations have increasingly moved their production to the point of demand.
In fact, the report found that around 92% of organisations have increased or plan to increase the use of micro-fulfilment centres and a similar number (96%) have or plan to create regional supply chains. Breaking the physical limitations of their supply chains demands that organisations review each node within their fulfilment network and think about how they can add additional flexibility to their supply infrastructure. Once they’ve done so, they should consider working with local couriers and on-demand delivery firms to improve their overall supply-chain performance. Finally, it’s also important to relook at the products they send through their networks and, in some cases, even make these more amenable to unbounded supply chains.
#5 Real virtualities
The physical and virtual worlds are blurring, writes Accenture. And this change redefining our sense of place; creating new ways for people to live, work, consume and socialise. The report highlights businesses are doubling down on virtual, with 88% of organisations investing in technologies to create virtual environments and, among those, 91% are planning to invest further. Over time these virtual reality solutions, which currently only engage sight and sound, will tap into all senses, and create a greater connection to the physical world. This blended reality creates opportunities for brands to offer their customers and employees a more robust experience. In addition to this, it also opens new markets by enabling access to products across a wider range of customers.
#6 The new scientific method
Scientific innovation is now at the top of the business agenda. During the past decade, every company became a digital company and in the coming decade, every company will need to become a scientific one. This demands that they apply and leverage science to tackle the world’s fundamental challenges. According to the Accenture report, 83% of organisations believe adopting a scientific approach to innovation will position them for future success and high-performing organisations in every region are already combining advances from across the sciences to drive systemic change. This shift will bring about major changes to our world, collapsing traditional industry boundaries and welcoming an entirely new approach to creating products.
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