2016 will always be remembered as the year of upheavals and surprises. Brexit happening even when nobody knows quite what it is. Trump being elected as the 45th President of the US by a minority and finally, at the longest odds imaginable, Leicester winning the Premiership. (There is also the small matter of New State Solutions finally pulling together a website)! Will the shocks ever end.
The point is, that with such an unpredictable recent few months that has made a mockery of various professions from economists to pollsters to Ministers alike, it now gives licence to make forecasts that no one can confidently argue against.
This is perfect fodder for an amateur blogger, in a brave new post truth world, where we can all make hunch based conjectures backed up with poor facts and research, without fear of being laughed at.
Here are a few thoughts:
Out with Austerity and in with Infrastructure Spending.
Widely predicted already, which will be funded by governments closing up tax loopholes. In the meantime, Take That, Jimmy Carr and friends will start to invest into infrastructure funds and investments after their accountants find a bunch of ‘legal’ loopholes in the existing international tax framework.
The Dollar will strengthen further against Sterling hitting parity for a short while.
Again, not entirely contentious to predict although we think the pound will be much weaker than most believe. What might also surprise is the number of underperforming companies that are caught covering their tracks as the tide goes out. There will be more financial malpractice exposed than ever before, with several other Tesco style finance reporting frauds hitting the headlines.
Richard Branson for Prime Minister?
Trump is only the beginning of the trend, so maybe the appearance of Richard Branson in the UK, Xavier Niel in France (Media & Tech billionaire) or Niklas Zennstrom in Germany (founder of Skype), getting directly involved in mainstream politics is not so improbable. Many countries are one good knock away from being severely downgraded by the ratings agencies and billionaire entrepreneurs will possess more wealth than the countries they pay tax to. One may conclude, that these individuals will have the future political power to get us out of the mess.
Go Richard, with your battle air-balloon and battle spacecraft. Battle Buses will be so yesterday, besides which you can fit much bigger, scarier headlines on an air-balloon! (Though I can never read the ads on spacecraft quick enough).
Banks will actually move more people to the UK.
Once Europe is seen as being no more stable than the UK, London will be viewed as a relatively safe bet, with some operations being moved straight back to the UK and the widely predicted exodus never happening. Banks will grow their presence in London to take advantage of businesses refinancing as the IPO and M&A market goes into overdrive. If you are a recruiter with a significant reliance on the Banks, fear not!
Mark Carney predicts inflation will hit 2.7% next year.
The Central Bank has now conveniently changed the headline measure of inflation to include house prices. Handy given prices in London are now falling and will likely exercise a significant deflationary pressure on figures. This won’t stop save you from the sack Mr Carney. Inflation will hit at least 6-8% regardless. Some things you just can’t keep a lid on!
If the above thoughts are ‘too safe’ for your tastes, then how about these rather more outlandish predictions:
Leicester City to become the first team to get relegated and win the Champions League in the same season. Far more likely to happen than winning the 2016 Premiership last year, according to all leading Bookmakers.
Donald Trump to get impeached/assassinated/resigns (delete in accordance to your desire) By the way, bookmakers don’t offer odds on assassinations, in case you just had a ‘good idea’.
Brexit doesn’t happen triggering a general election which Jeremy Corbyn and Labour win by a majority. (I want my mummy!)
Joking aside, the point I’m really leading to, is that despite the entertainment of predicting the future and following the eventual outcomes, it is of course far more productive in the long run to stick to those things we can unequivocally hang a hat on.
Focusing on some of these following very real trends, might help us all to get planning on safer ground, for a successful 2017.
- A sizeable chunk of the B2C market will begin changing their business structures to get closer to their customers, with less functional-silo’s and more innovative and collaborative ways of working introduced. Anything that gets product teams and divisions, closer to the customer. Customers continue to be digitally driven by innovation, so business cannot afford to go too slow or do too little.
- As part of these restructures, there will be a higher turnover at the senior end of the market as CEO’s look for new capabilities, with Digital Business Leaders being in high demand. Virtual reality, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing, you name it, it will all take off further, as new technologies are embraced to re-imagine customer experience.
- Businesses will increasingly align their strategy with Operational Excellence (OpEx) with it becoming a mandatory requirement not a “nice to have” This will go hand in hand with the restructuring of organisations, driven by a flatter, empowered culture, with the customer being the heartbeat of everything businesses do. Ok, so this is a bit Utopian in its vision, but with better products and services for a technologically-savvy and demanding customer, companies will have to cut out the corporate fat even more deeply to make their strategies pay. Expect skilled process designers to be in high demand.
- Cyber-attacks will rise as Companies will continue to keep their heads in the sand, with the investment seen as an added expense. How businesses deal with security, will lag far behind the fast-paced change of digital customer driven change, leaving customer and employee data open to hackers. Companies will face severe penalties if data isn’t robustly secured, leaving an unsettling sense in the air, that any big business at any point in time could suffer a serious event. Cyber Risk Services Consulting should enjoy strong demand.
- Finally, we think HR will start to measure the recruitment candidate experience as a form of business performance. The current lack of business engagement throughout arduous processes leaves many candidates unimpressed and worse still disrespected. Social media is too powerful with a few negative postings having deep ramifications for employers who get it wrong. We believe “recruiters” will come under real scrutiny and will need to become fully integrated talent acquisition partners to flourish. Protecting the clients brand, maintaining the legitimacy of the process and improving the experience of all candidates cannot be left to recruiters on a “trust” basis by HR. It must be measured and used to drive business performance. We can also say with confidence that HR professionals will need new skills, including marketing, people analytics, and must learn how to use new technologies involving artificial intelligence.
If you have any comments or better predictions of your own for 2017 then please do send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org . We will revisit everyone’s prediction’s during the course of 2017 to examine whether there is a difference between a “hunch” and an “expert opinion” and look forward to reading all contributions.