With the general global economic downturn predicted to get worse, companies and businesses should remain cautious when it will come to spending and investing in radical new ideas in 2024. However, there are a number of technological and societal trends that are simply too big to ignore or put off.
There are some areas where we can expect to see continued innovation and investment in 2024 and that I wish to highligt for you. Business trends today are largely driven by technology. However, as we develop a better understanding of a technology, artificial intelligence (AI) being the obvious example, we also understand what it is not. In 2024, this will lead to new perspectives on what makes us human.
Generative AI Everywhere
To be an industry leader in five years, you will need a clear and compelling generative AI strategy today. AI and machine learning have been making waves for more than a decade, and are thoroughly integrated into many of the products and services we buy from major companies. Now, generative AI puts the power to create and intelligently automate the customer experience, as well as internal operations, in the hands of nearly every organization.
Soft Skills And The Human Touch
As it becomes increasingly feasible to automate technical aspects of work, the ability to leverage soft skills for tasks that still require a human touch will become critical. For this reason, in 2024, we will see organizations increasing their investment in developing and nurturing skills and attributes such as emotional intelligence, communication, interpersonal problem solving, high-level strategy, and thought leadership.
The Skills Solution
Changes in hiring practices that emphasize selecting candidates with the specific experiences and skills needed for a role, rather than qualities such as educational attainment or age, are a part of the industry's response and will continue to be a strong trend. We will also continue to see increased investment in training and upskilling, particularly around disruptive technologies such as generative AI and skills that will be in demand in an AI-driven economy.
One important business driver is clearly customer demand. In 2024, consumers will increasingly prefer companies and businesses with a solid commitment to reducing their environmental footprint. As the green economy will grow, green solutions will also lead to bottom-line growth. Consumers will also get better at spotting greenwashing and windowdressing, where companies pay lip service to environmentalism in an attempt to divert attention from environmentally unfriendly practices.
Again, one important business driver is clearly customer demand. In 2024,consumers will increasingly prefer companies and businesses that will develop personalized products to match customers' needs and wants. This will lead to companies of all sizes offering customized solutions to build stronger relationships with customers.
The Data Economy
Data is an increasingly valuable commercial and business asset. By 2024, more companies and businesses will streamlined their operations and improved their customer offerings by taking a strategic approach to their data. As a result, they will be ready to take the next step: monetizing data itself to drive new business opportunities. As access to large-scale data collection and AI-driven analytics will become increasingly democratized, we will see this trend adopted by smaller companies in niche and diversified sectors.
The Customer Experience Revolution
In 2024, building a business model around superior quality or value will no longer be the priority number one of any business or company. In 2024 the impetus will be to ensure that every single interaction and experience makes the customer smile. This means personalized marketing that will deliver what they need at the right time, on-time delivery, frictionless setup and installation, and efficient problem resolution. We will see more and more Chief Experience Officer ensuring these principles are fully integrated into all business strategies.
Remote and distributed work
It is no longer about companies surviving the pandemic, it is about offering flexible arrangements, valuing employees' time and harnessing the potential of a global workforce. While we are seeing workers returning to the office, in 2024 employers will also make sure to retain the ability to work with geographically dispersed teams and attract talent from anywhere in the world.
Diversity and Inclusivity
Talent comes in all ages, shapes, sizes and colors. Unconscious racist, sexist or ageist bias can easily seep into systems around hiring, training, performance management or development, resulting in talent being marginalized, mismanaged or overlooked. In 2024 and beyond, we will see more and more businesses and corporations increasingly relying on machines to make unbiased decisions.
The future is never certain, and building resilience to any threats that might emerge will be a key business trend in 2024. Protecting a business or organization from whatever threat could be standing around the corner, etiher cyber attacks, economic downturns, environmental disaters, hostile manifestations, war, global pandemics, or the emergence of a disruptive new competitor and so on, will be a major business and corporate consideration. This will be everything about taking what we have learned from corporations, businesses and organizations that have survived and even thrived in turbulent times and using it to plan and prepare for what might happen tomorrow.
Trust me, I have been there.
J. Michael Dennis