3

 

As 2017 approaches, it has become apparent that the collaborative economy is not a blip or fad, or something that is related to just Uber or Airbnb, but rather a vital engine powering the future of global business and entrepreneurialism.

Following are some key issues and trends to take note of as our world of We-Commerce, and palpable shift from the “me” to the “we”, continues to evolve:

  1. We will go from quantity to quality, and won’t be consumed by speed, but by art. Commerce for commerce sake is no longer acceptable. Anything put into the world for a profit, must find a way to give back to society in kind, and to beautify, enhance and interpret its community and environment.
  2. Collaborative commerce will reduce costs through shared infrastructures and collapse business cycle times. Through the creation of shared infrastructures and ecosystems the principles of We-Commerce will apply as much to how things are imagined, created and produced as to how they are experienced and enjoyed. In the future everything from office space to servers will be shared with an eye on driving efficiencies and creativity of scale that only comes from meaningful collaboration.
  3. Brands and consumers will continue to come together to form a more cohesive and fluid business ecosystem. When you combine crowd-funding platforms, collaborative consumption portals, community hubs, the whole framework for conducting commerce starts to shift. Rather than being driven by competition in a top-down fashion, commerce is being initiated by the community from the bottom up based on real needs. The new era of business is about creating enterprises that work together in tandem to drive commerce that matters. Instead of buying a cheap product from Asia, people can start to buy great products from the people they know the best and re-establish trust in the business environment. Technology has enabled the connections to occur; now it’s time for the next generation to capitalize.
  4. The regulatory environment will catch up to the business environment. The sharing economy will truly take hold. As new models of business take shape predicated more on access than ownership, the rules of engagement will need to change on both a state and federal level to reflect this new environment. In the new world, entrepreneurialism flourishes and as a result new industries will continue to appear daily. Consequently, laws that viewed certain behaviors like renting and leasing as prohibitive, will need to be examined with more pertinent regulations appearing in their place.
  5. Customer service will emerge as a critical function from inception. Tomorrow’s winning brands will not only have a plan A, based on the product they are offering, but also a plan B, designed to offer a heightened “rescue” component or experience as part of the package. This means including back up chargers on cell-phones, or video valets to guide an online shopping experiences in case anything goes awry. Immediacy is also part of the rescue package with customer-centric companies like Amazon offering things like a Mayday! Button to hit if anything emerges to sour your experience. The common thread of each of these add on features and plans is that we are seeing brands respond in ways that are designed to elicit emotion, in this case love, trust and reliance.

                         Sign up to stay in touch with the African Leadership magazine!

  1. How companies are owned will change, shifting to a cooperative ownership model. With profits in the hands of the many, rather than the few, companies will be created with an eye on inspiring community experiences that elicit joy while also bringing art into commerce’s’ full view. More people will own their own small companies, or invest in them through movements like Slow Money, and work together toward a common good.
  2. It will become more and more acceptable to choose passion and play over work. The trend will be to become a CEO, Chief Engagement Officer of either a large company, or your own life. The only thing that matters in today’s environment is finding a way to forge connections that lead to deeper and more meaningful paths to profitability, whatever those may be.
  3. Consumers rally together to bring justice to Main Street and businesses work to succeed for Wall Street by taking on the responsibility of profiting only with purpose. As a result brands become much more than purveyors of goods but purveyors of goo
  4. Brands continue to emerge as publishers, in essence, becoming purveyors of content, taking on similar roles of old school journalism in profiting by purpose.  So what you might turn to tomorrow’s brands for might be everything from news to insurance to healthcare to community Products are of course created but embedded with “new life inside” ideas that solve sustainability issues.
  5. We will be less tethered to technology and more empowered by the freedom it provides-making us less isolated and communicative. As a result, the worlds of the physical and digital will begin to increasingly coalesce. Additionally, technology that succeeds will likely emerge as wearable, capable of offering mobile technological discovery.
  6. Women will take their moment on the global stage. After an uncomfortable alliance between the sexes – with women mimicking traditional masculine power relations to get ahead in a ‘man’s world’ – we are now witnessing the emergence of the new woman. Many women are now better educated than their male counterparts. Already, there are more female than male entrepreneurs and these female icons inspire others around the globe and have influence across culture and class. This phenomenon is best showcased in the newly anointed trend of betapreneurialism, which is interestingly being powered forward largely by women.

Betapreneurs are truly 21st-century professionals who operate through a process of trial and error to make disruptive innovation happen. Resilient, self-reliant, and extremely potent, they are crafting the future – working solo, in small teams, or within large companies. Currently, only 30% of European entrepreneurs are women, but by 2020 in advanced economies, 2 in 3 graduates will be female, so their contribution will change the landscape of entrepreneurship. This new movement will make the idea of leaning in obsolete as power women realize it is in leaning out where the pathway to success is found.