The most transformative decade in human history is on us as consumer rises and corporates search to redefine their ethos.
It took six years to connect the thinking hearts and minds of the first 1.5 billion consumers by smart phone. Globally this will pass 3 billion in 2016 and 4 billion before 2020 .
These irresistible forces ignite disruptive momentum, innovation and re-education as every enterprise adapts to tools which transcend nationalism and language barriers across continents. Consumers are the powerhouse of democratic economics. E-commerce entrepreneurs increasingly rate their chances of usurping entrenched big business rivals. How these power blocs are led and collectivize is the space to watch.
Corporate business mindsets swing between denial, siege and breakout. The momentum is set but they’ll spend shareholder funds to the limit in defensive actions. To comprehend the scale and speed of change, combine TVs reinvention of marketing to consumers in the 1960s with the 1800s Industrial Revolution. Add books arrival to educate the masses in Renaissance Europe of the 1500s.
Now concentrate those century’s transformations into one decade as perhaps a comparable marker. Digital technology-driven behavior change will shift economic power bases in the blink of the next five years at a pace we will only comprehend with historical hindsight.
Millions of entrepreneurs world-wide – business starts-up growing, multiplying and joining forces – now rate their chances against big, established competitors as the rules of engagement are reinvented by disruptive innovation and pent-up consumer sentiment against the big business attitudes they’ve battled as consumers.
Live market innovation first changes buying habits then ripples through each strata of global and regional supply chains transforming the world of commerce beyond recognition in consumer and B2B markets.
By the end of 2015 the real Digital Revolution will be declared underway. Public companies do not fare well on sentiment under the spotlight of obvious retreat especially retail stocks unlikely to grow or recover over time.
Many investors would rather place confidence in the hope offered by a smaller, fresher usurper.
Social and political revolutions throughout history mostly shake-up the establishment who maintain an element of control though banking systems, mortgages and insurance – the cornerstones of the property investment and most tangible sign of new wealth outside of business for entrepreneurs.
But the scale of creative reinvention and new growth this time means the force of momentum wave is too great for ingrained structures in many corporates to defend against over time outside of utility stocks, new science, technology and high capital intensive sectors.
Agility and an in-built culture of adaptability plus the brand essence of do-good revolutionaries prove past market dominance or cash reserves are not tickets to invincibility with the exceptions of mega brands such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and other e-commerce up-and-comers. Note, no social media companies listed as certainties.
New knowledge economies
Every market differs but information transparency will see explosive growth in new knowledge economies such as science, medicine and technology such as 3-D printing which will transform the manufacturing sector from the bottom up as cottage and new craft industries boom.
This exponential expansion in knowledge – how and where it’s shared and acted upon – is years from plateauing. If it ever does. This is one potential economic bubble to help pay the social costs of an aging Baby Boom bulge 10 years hence Western politicians of all hues have largely ignored.
Whether a ruling class are prepared to lose power or how much the costs of economic disruption balance a boom in economic creation only time will tell.
The collective individualism of the two ascending power blocs – connected consumers and private enterprise collectivism – have more in common with each other than they do with big business and Government power bases scrapping over the center ground. More big-business funding of political parties is one resulting trend.
Traditional mass media suited big business budgets buying exposure smaller enterprises simply couldn’t match. The rise of more intimate social media has promoted authentic conversations between the consumer and a hungry underdog. They can feed naturally off each others aspirations.
The smart phone enables the strengthening of connections beyond national borders via links with other venture collectives or industry hives in other countries. A leader who can earn the trust and respect to represent consumer emotions – can wield influence up there with elected national Prime Ministers and Presidents.
Digital mob justice, alone can bankrupt a global business over time. A brand’s image and people’s reputations can be sullied overnight.
A few million angry fingers stabbing at the screens of their digital devices in unison as the CEO tries live damage control. His spur-of-the-moment sincerity will be key. If he fakes that well his company has a chance.
If like-minded consumers can mobilize co-ordinated global support on the emotive issues – such as global warming or the concentration of wealth in a few oligarch’s hands – they will be hard to ignore.
Another melt-down of the world monetary system will not stop the above scenarios, more likely hasten them. Until now specific digitally vulnerable industries such as records, books, advertising and the media have become digitally focused in core trading not just the marketing departments.
Between 2015 and 2020 whole swathes of economic trade will go the same way taking other swathes with them as markets get reordered. The momentum of effect to date has been slowed by a lag in wi-fi connectivity and new user proficiency as they catch up with phone capability.
These irresistible forces break every rule known to political and military power brokers through the ages.They have no leader or flag to rally them nor are they revolutionaries driven by ideology or hunger.
We believe the disruption will be more all-consuming and an innovative education boom that follows more profound than many commentators may yet dare imagine.
Knowledge, creativity, intellectual property and your ability to commercialize and keep it secure from theft is where true economic power lies in the future.
War will be predominantly threatened over information security not territory unless shortages of water or food-producing land for subsistence survival of the human race turns every nation isolationist for it’s own protection.
The percentage of people voting continues to decline in the Western World mostly due to apathy resulting from the low public esteem for politicians and the leaders of big business. This doesn’t give a Government any less power, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the smart phone handed the U.S. government the future-proofed intelligence networks to overcome personal privacy objections and the human frailties of spies and double agents.
This means Governments can save the free-world from terrorists plots while also keeping tabs on political enemies and public unrest at the same time. Security paradoxes as MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) nuclear armament of the Cold War.
But their public-face insurers, like many corporate companies, must be vigilant of their own survival risk. They risk ignoring new business models to cope with the rise of consumer power and connectivity more than most where natural disasters are in living memory and not quickly forgotten.
If an event is not the result of a bloody war or people’s revolt or an Act of God re-insurers face some claim exposure around the tipping points.
Mastery of reinvention
Digital connectivity in reality means a speeding up of the clock.This is a big and far-reaching story. Our passion and thinking lies with the proactive and positive who focus on preemptive mastery of reinvention.
Waiting to see what happens may have a bearing on your order of learning. Imagine if the Industrial Revolution peaked the same year printed books first hit the market- the obvious mass surge of new knowledge, creativity and humanist pursuits that followed that without joining then joining everyone into the same digital grid.
For as much as Malcolm Gladwell described the tipping point where a product spills into the mainstream corporates faced decreasing margins, sluggish sales and reduced advertising power all baring down on overhead structures in short order.
Consumer power will win these dollars as savings while battles for their attention and media reinvention go on. News will focus on tipping points and eulogies for long-established brands in media, retail and distribution – the inevitable result of failure to adapt fast enough or the lack of will to try.
For publicly traded companies a simple matter of share price drops to a point a carcass has more value dissected in unison for an honorable funeral.The mass market wave of connection completing the inevitable started years prior as a pack of usurper underdogs carrying off a piece each of a victim or ignore its demise.
The most obvious public effects pervade consumer technology and communications, media, advertising and retail. Many have looked to so-called social media but do it badly in comparison to a little guy who started his business one digital lead at a time. Media buying power was the rock for corporates for 50 years but traditional media’s power is crumbling. History is littered with this paradox of vision and blindness clearly dependent on the angle from which you peer.
They risk ignoring new business models to cope with the rise of consumer power. The connectivity of experiences shared where natural disasters live in minds that will not forget.
Welcome to Reimagineer we’ve been intimately involved in this story from the start. We were born to be doers not commentators, a free enterprise venture aiming to capitalize via the knowledge, business models and intellectual property we develop on this journey.
If you’re a free enterprise adventurer whose set their heart and mind on being an active world-stage participant and overachiever, in your niche of expertise, you’ll have the skills and gumption to ride this unpredictable wave into the future.
You’ll have thought deeply about how you see the era unfolding and be working on your requisite skills and strategic foresight. If you’re creative and endowed with a humanist heart you’ve the breeding to maintain a head start. If you’ve a sharp mind, curious instincts and adapt well in unpredictable environments you’ll be sought after.
Then trained into key positions in jobs that don’t yet have a title. It takes feats of mental dexterity but if we consider the effects on the first 500 million smart phone users now fully impacting markets of a new digital world.It’s a phenomenon which ignites passion, vision and belief in the hearts and imaginations of a budding Reimagineer or two on every block of hundreds of cities and villages around the planet.
This is but one expression to inspire witnesses and followers to openly express their own vision. Be the story not the storyteller, is our advice. All passion starts from the inside until expressed as it’s own unique vision.Then rippling back out to one heart at a time.
This article is a satellite view of a topic so wide-ranging it’s impossible to precis with academic depth in an essay – that requires a book.
Anecdotal and statistical depth has been restricted to touch on interconnecting issues. But it’s the start of regular insights on this website based on five years focused research and 25 years of active market participation prior to that by the principals of Reimagineer.
Our work is mostly working in the foundations but employing satellite vision.The context where molehills start being built into mounds and onwards into mountains – Jon Mells 2014.