Summoning the past few years of business consulting work, I can say that consulting is becoming more complex at an unprecedented rate. Among many factors, I’d pick the augmenting interconnection of business problems.
With the future development trajectory yet blurry across many industries, businesses increasingly find themselves in an unceasing pursuit of the “right” advancement path.
On the other hand, a set of interconnected trends are shaping the global landscape cutting across economic, technological and social dimensions. The new technological revolution – the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with an unheard-of scale will be manifesting its impressive magnitude in the coming years, making things even more arduous. An array of rapidly accelerating technologies (Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Nanotechnologies and Robotics, Big Data, 3D Printing, etc.) will be truly and globally disruptive in the coming years.
Bringing in a consultancy firm by the business does not make these uncertainties any less, but calls for the consultant’s adept perspective, putting its reputation at stake.
What are the implications?
No more room for maxims but rather aiming for the best possible intelligent guesses.
New cross-cutting organizational challenges will increasingly continue battling old firm architectures. The interconnectedness will be hard to see wholly. It all will be about mastering to see the world through a “systems” lens.
The right diagnostics is gaining in critical importance. Solving separate problems without grasping the bigger picture in a cohesive manner could actually add to the business problems. Problems are interlinked, and so are the solutions for the business. Spillover effects of the solutions will be growing in weight and responsibility.
Interconnected aspects mean multiple stakeholders. Ensuring a consensus aligned around a common goal and holding constructive dialogue becomes a key in our days. Solutions will be getting increasingly networked, engaging partners in the transformation process.
Enterprises will be significantly involved in enhancing systems, processes and networks they rely on. The companies employing their assets and endowments to better fit this will be likely to parade in the winning squad. Embedding strong values within the business, easy to communicate to, will be a further lever.
Rapid technological advancements will expedite market integration, amplifying interdependence in economic, social and technological systems. The interlinked developments will increasingly feed into collaborative and consumer-led economies, elevating the scale of the shared economy.
Integral uncertainties and complex systems cannot be utterly mastered. The right mindset to work through such complex systems would be embracing a zen-like acknowledgment of this stiff reality.
Long-term thinking on how sustainable value is erected should be prevailing. What’s in there for all of us? While salient achievements have been recorded on global economic landscape, there are robust indications that grave socio-economic disparities still endure. Larger interconnectedness will be among the mainstream trajectories to lead to inclusive growth, although on tough terms for those who blunder to embrace the connected nature of things.