The world has never been more prosperous than it is today. People around the world live longer, healthier lives than ever before. In emerging markets, billions of people have moved out of extreme poverty. In the developed world, we enjoy better medicines, education, information, connectivity and mobility than most of us could have imagined a quarter century ago.
Consumer-facing companies in developed economies have experienced little or no growth since the global recession of 2008 and 2009. As a result, CEOs, business unit leaders, chief marketing officers, and executive teams are looking outward, trying to spur growth by turning to new sources of customer information. These include "implicit" data such as biometrics, "structured" batches of big data such as online behavior, and "unstructured" data such as social media and call center conversations.
Big data has the potential to be both friend and foe. The Boston Consulting Group conservatively estimates that trusted uses of big data and advanced analytics could unlock more than $1tr in value annually. However, recent BCG consumer research has uncovered a previously hidden obstacle to successfully unleashing this enormous opportunity: data misuse.
The stunning consumer response to Tesla's Model 3, the $35,000 sedan that was unveiled on March 31, appears to prove that Elon Musk's bold master plan remains on track. Moreover, it could well mark the day that electric vehicles went from being niche to mainstream products.
As they witness the proliferation of sensors, software, computing power and connectivity embedded in everything from motor vehicles to home appliances, equipment manufacturers of all kinds are asking an existential question: is it time to stop thinking of themselves primarily as hardware and systems companies and instead to view themselves as providers of software solutions and services?
Most business leaders stress the importance of understanding customers to stay relevant in today's fast-changing competitive environment. Why, then, do many companies focus inward and, as a result, overlook or underestimate change signals?
As Cuba has begun to liberalize its economy, U.S. companies have begun to show significant interest - and for good reason. The experiences of China, Russia, Vietnam, and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have shown that such liberalization can lead to rapid economic growth, along with opportunities for multinational companies and foreign investors to stake an early claim in an untapped market.
Strategic planning is one of the least-loved organizational processes. Executives at most companies criticize it as overly bureaucratic, insufficiently insightful, and ill suited for today's rapidly changing markets. Some even argue that strategic planning is a relic that should be relegated to the past and that organizations seeking to prosper in turbulent times should instead invest in market intelligence and agility. Although the diagnosis is largely right, the prescription is wrong.