Look to the future: with attention on the business environment and human capital.

Author:Becerra, Jorge
Position:BCG-CORPORATE LEADERS
 
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Business leaders need to balance two apparently conflicting objectives. First, they need to secure the sustainability and prosperity of their own companies. This remains a CEO's prime responsibility, and it has become much harder in an era defined by lower growth, impatient investors, geopolitical uncertainty, and extremely rapid technological change. Second, they need to shape the conditions for continued and more inclusive economic prosperity and, in particular, for global economic integration and technological progress. In an era of tighter results, companies need corporate leaders with farsightedness and ability to motivate their teams. Leaders able to design the future taking into account the environment around them, the prospects for their industry and willing to bet on the development of human capital of excellence.

To achieve those ends, BCG proposes that business leaders embrace a new agenda comprising seven areas of opportunity.

  1. Shape the next wave of globalization. Business leaders can take an active role in shaping the next phase of globalization, looking beyond cost-based offshoring and emphasizing the benefits of trade and technology across a wider geographic and demographic base. Software, sensors, and analytics are shifting value creation from standalone products to products PLUS services.

  2. Support entrepreneurial business ecosystems. The emergence of platform businesses, which facilitate the collaboration of thousands of individuals and enterprises in dynamic ecosystems, could help restore balance and sustainability. Such ecosystems make it possible for individuals and small firms to participate in technological progress, catalyzing both employment and innovation.

    As corporations rethink their global supply chains and business models, creating ecosystems of suppliers and aspiring entrepreneurs could be part of the journey. Banks, probably the incumbent most threatened by new digital attackers, are discovering that a key move, as one distinctive way out of those attacks, is the active development of such ecosystems.

  3. Leverage technology from front to back.

    Technology's effect on humans depends on how we choose to develop and use it. Using technologies to spur innovation and give people more fulfilling lives is an I opportunity in nearly all sectors of the economy. But this inclusive approach may require some uncomfortable choices. Take emerging blockchain technology applications. The benefits could be extracted either...

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