Key Disruptive Global Trends: The View from McKinsey

By Shlomo Maital

     “The trend is your friend.” Thus begins a terse McKinsey Quarterly (April) article on disruptive global trends.   The trend is your friend – provided you spot it accurately. It is your enemy if you miss or misread it. Here is McKinsey’s take on the nine key disruptive global trends.

   The first three: “ ● The globalization of digital products and services is surging, but traditional trade and financial flows have stalled, moving us beyond globalization. ● We’re also seeing new growth dynamics, with the mental model of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries giving way to a regional emphasis on ICASA (India, China, Africa, and Southeast Asia). ● Finally, the world’s natural-resource equation is changing as technology boosts resource productivity, new bottlenecks emerge, and fresh questions arise about “resources (un)limited?”

   What do these trends mean to you, to your job or business or startup? Can you find opportunity in them?

   The next three tensions highlight accelerating industry disruption.    “● Digitization,            ● machine learning, and ● the life sciences are advancing and combining with one another to redefine what companies do and where industry boundaries lie. In the words of Alibaba’s Jack Ma, B2C is becoming “C2B,” as customers enjoy “free” goods and services, personalization, and variety. And the terms of competition are changing: as interconnected networks of partners, platforms, customers, and suppliers become more important, we are experiencing a business ecosystem revolution.”

   The final three forces: “● underscore the need for cooperation to strike a new societal deal in many countries. We must cooperate to safeguard ourselves against ● a “dark side” of malevolent actors, including cybercriminals and terrorists. ● Collaboration between business and government also will be critical to spur middle-class progress and to undertake the economic experiments needed to accelerate growth. This is not just a developed-market issue; many countries must strive for a “next deal” to sustain progress.

   Scary? Risky?   McKinsey strikes an optimistic note: “These tensions seem acute today because of fast-moving political events and social unease. But earlier times of transition provide encouraging precedents: the Industrial Revolution gave rise to social-insurance programs in Western Europe and the Progressive movement in the United States, for example.”   In other words, times of change and disruption always bring opportunities, for those who see clearly and act decisively.

     Are YOU among them?