Strategies for 2050: Forward Thinking for the Industry

Referring to the Vision 2050 ReportAbout this post’s title: you might think it’s ludicrous to think about planning for 2050 when the quarter is 2 weeks from closing and you’ve yet to meet all of your targets. In our most recent post, we shared that we’ve successfully convinced some of our clients to co-write 5-, 10-, or even 20-year plans. Here’s why looking even further forward – yes, even 38 years – is so critical.

Marketing 101 classes emphasize the 4 Ps: product, price, place, and promotion (sometimes adding “positioning”). Each of these strategic categories depends on the societal needs and attitudes that drive customers to buy your products and services. And if Vision 2050, a study by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), is correct, population growth and resource constraints will upend customer concerns such that many of the products and services we offer today will be irrelevant.

The WBCSD suggests hope for a true future of sustainable profitability. A CEO-led organization of companies, the WBCSD is dedicated to galvanizing the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. Their agenda includes:

• Incorporating the costs of carbon, ecosystem services and water into the structure of the marketplace;
• Doubling agricultural output without increasing the amount of land or water used;
• Halting deforestation and increasing yields from planted forests;
• Halving carbon emissions worldwide (based on 2005 levels) by 2050 through a shift to low-carbon energy systems;
• Improved demand-side energy efficiency, and providing universal access to low-carbon mobility.

We commend companies in our industry, like electronics distributor Premier Farnell, who’ve been inspired by Vision 2050 (and other sustainable thinking) to support products and services that will bring true sustainable profitability decades from now.

While you may or may not agree with the predictions and recommendations in Vision 2050, if even 25% of them are realized it’s clear that successful careers and businesses will be those aligned with change. If you’ve been in the tech industry or business more than 5 years, you know that change is the one promise we can count on.

Join us in taking a short break from this quarter’s urgencies to check out the Vision 2050 report and consider the impact of global and societal changes on the tech industry and our successful companies. What do you think are the best roads to sustainable profitability? What industry-led organizations do you see working towards this goal?


Strategies for 2050: Forward Thinking for the Industry — 2 Comments

  1. Success in 2050
    What products, and businesses, will succeed?

    Wow. Interesting question. I thought about it for a few minutes, and a surprising word popped into my thoughts: Empathy. I had to explore my mindscape for quite a while to figure out why. For the long version, visit Success in 2050 at The Swallowtail Project. In summary, I believe successful businesses and products will have three fundamental characteristics:

    1) Awareness of the Commons. Resources are increasingly limited. The planet’s ability to replenish itself is limited. Those who jeopardize the commons will be rejected as “too expensive” to support.

    2) Empathy for the Global Village. People will increasingly realize we all share a common destiny. As population increases and technology empowers us all, we’ll have no choice but to cooperate. Products and businesses that are seen as bad actors will be rejected.

    3) Empowering Fulfillment. As we use the same lens on individual lives as we use on businesses, we’ll begin to realize that the only sustainable path for each of us as individuals is to work towards our personal fulfillment – “delivering value” for ourselves, and to our neighbors, so to speak. Primarily, because everything else will be too expensive, and too painful. But fortunately, pursuing our own fulfillment will be the most satisfying, most sustainable thing we can do! Products that empower us along that path will be amazing successes. Products that don’t, won’t.

    Companies that realize “we’re all in this together” will have mastered the skill of Empathy, and Empathy will be key to their success.

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