The Biggest Ideas of 2014

In the latter months of 2012, LinkedIn launched a Blogging platform for some of the world’s best known thought leaders. As part of that series, posts were gathered to provide a perspective on the biggest ideas for 2013. LinkedIn has replicated that series for 2014. I have provided the links to each post below, along with some commentary on those that stood out to me.

But first, my Big Idea is that the convergence of a number of forces makes 2014 the year of the transformation agenda. Those companies that have already embarked on a transformation journey will accelerate their efforts. A good percentage of those that have yet to begin their journey will find compelling reasons to start. But sadly, many companies will fall further behind. I expect these transformation efforts to tackle much needed structural change – driven by the disruptive influence of technological, societal, and other factors. Transformation efforts that have merely scratched the surface will find another gear. The one common thread will be the realization that this transformative period is different than those of the past. Many of the Big Ideas described in the LinkedIn series underscore this point. For instance, it’s not your Father’s innovation process anymore, as Collaborative Innovation is Shaping and Changing Our World. No single company can master all the knowledge it needs; rather, innovation relies on a network of connected firms. In short, companies need to collaborate to compete.

Yes, this transformative period will be unlike any other – and some industries have a lot of work to do. This piece titled Insurance Needs To Catch Up With the Times focuses on the drivers of next generation Insurance. Driverless car technology is one example provided, as it appears to be developing faster than most realize. The potential for a reduction in the number of accidents – Google predicts it can eliminate 90% of auto accidents – could lead to a significant drop in claim volume and premiums. Even if Google is only 25% right it has major ramifications for the industry.

The Insurance industry is not alone. By the end of last year, according to Flurry Research, consumers in the U.S. were spending 17 percent more time with their mobile phones than they were watching TV, as Entertainment is Shrinking to Fit Our Hands. The Media and Entertainment Industry continues to feel the effects of multiple disruptive influences. Next year the role of the television continues to change as it is increasingly liberated from a big electronic device. Driven by more apps that enable live streaming from anywhere, The Distinction Between Media and Tech Crumbles. Even in Industries that have historically been technology savvy – the times are changing. While change is nothing new to banking, it is likely to come faster and with more fury than ever in the coming months and years. Here’s one impressive piece of evidence: mobile banking transactions grew 50% in the past year alone. All this tumult will cost full-service banks in the neighborhood of 35% of their market over the next seven years as Banking Goes Virtual.

Perhaps the biggest reason that historians will see this next 20 years as more disruptive than the Industrial revolution, lies in the power of ideas. In The Year of the Entrepreneur the author describes how entrepreneurs can build companies at a fraction of the cost than in the past. New businesses now have the same capabilities as large enterprises at a cost they can afford. This will drive More Small Businesses to Launch Than Ever Before. People are starting businesses with nothing more than a laptop, an Internet connection, and an idea. One telling quote: “The startups of today are more likely to resemble Facebook’s founding story than Hewlett-Packard’s”. That’s another compelling reason for traditional companies to instill the Digital DNA so necessary for future success. Let’s not forget the changes to the funding landscape. Funding is being Crowd-sourced. This Chart on Crowd-funding sites is a must see. Here are other Big Ideas regarding entrepreneurship and the impact of ideation:

On the technology and Innovation side, the convergence of the primary innovations of our day (Mobile, Social, Analytics, Big Data Cloud, and IoT) will increase the disruptive pressure on companies. According to this Big Idea, Social Business Grows Up as it is still one of the fastest-growing areas of investment and focus, and for many organizations, social business has elevated to a CXO and board-level imperative due to its potential for disruption, transformation, insights, and engagement by customers and employees alike. 

There is a growing drum beat around the tipping point for the Internet of Things. Several Big Ideas in the series focused here. Multiple factors like: cheap sensors, microchips and software, the growth of cloud computing, ubiquitous wireless and broadband internet access, cutting-edge advanced analytics, and the rise of mobility via smartphones – are driving A Tipping Point for the Internet of Things. Another Big Idea describes how microchips inside the body will monitor your health and wellbeing. Connecting yourself to the Internet is a good way to describe just how crazy the world is getting. In The Micro-Chipped Self, a fascinating quote highlights this: “Want to lose some weight? In a few years it might actually be possible to go to your smartphone to dial down your appetite, or even turn it off altogether.” 2014 could be The Year When ‘Things’ Get Smart, Connections Get Faster and Technology Gets Personal. We will see the Internet-of-Things begin its move from concept to consumables, with everything from handbags to home-wares getting their own technological identity, and getting connected.

Another IoT Big Idea describes the Jetsons TV series, which premiered in 1962 and best captured the idea of hi-tech appliances bringing unprecedented convenience to the home. Technological advancements that are transforming other industries are now finally being seen in the home, with a dazzling array of new gadgets, creating a Home Tech ‘The Jetsons’ Would Appreciate. The world continues to move from a world of connected phones, computers and tablets to a world where many things will connect to the Internet, to other things and even to us. The Internet of Things (IoT) may be a ways off still, but it is growing quickly and will be a big idea that defines many IT companies and consumer choices in 2014 as Your Toaster Gets Chatty. As Mobile phones quickly become the remote controls to our daily lives, brands will begin utilizing location-based data to more effectively reach consumers and successfully convert customers across the web and mobile, as Geo-Targeting Is Everywhere.

Data – big or small – will have massive impact in 2014. The winds of innovation have brought us unthinkable volumes of new data. Regardless of your business function or industry, data will play an increasingly larger role in everything you do in 2014. You better be careful, or You’ll be Replaced By A Moneyball Executive. But data for data sake is meaningless without insight. In 2014, the “content” buzzword will be laid to rest, as Context Is the New Content. Contextually-aware services will transform every industry — from government to enterprise. The apps we use will become predictive and personal — feeling more human than the one-size-fits-all search box on the web. 2014 could be seen as The Year of Context – the tipping point to The Warm Embrace of Context. Here are a couple other data-related Big Ideas:

Although technology gets all the hype, let’s not forget the significant societal changes that have major disruptive potential. The new generation is looking for jobs and companies that have a real purpose. In 2014, Millennials will represent 47% of the workforce in the US and will be in leadership positions much earlier in their careers than previous generations. Companies better Re-Engage with Millennials or Prepare to be Irrelevant. To embrace the ambition, tech-savviness, adaptability and monumental potential of this young generation, we need to figure out how to get them into the right jobs, and fast.  To do so, we need to accept that Technology Will Change the Way Gen Y Gets Hired.

Another societal factor is the rise of the city! In this Big Idea Goodbye Silicon Valley, Hello Silicon Cities, the author reflects on the shift from suburban to city living. The author points out that the prototypical family of the suburban era — a married couple with school-age children — now represents only 20 percent of households, down from over 40 percent in 1970. “Quality of life” is increasingly understood as proximity to restaurants, retail, cultural and educational institutions, and other urban amenities. Here are other Big Ideas with societal implications:

On the leadership front, changes to traditional but antiquated management philosophies will accelerate in 2014. The One Crucial Leadership Skill is Agility, and I love this quote from the piece: “This industry is changing so rapidly that we cannot rely on what a candidate knows or even has done in their career as a predictor of future success. We need someone who is a ‘learning animal.’ That is someone who is curious, who doesn’t have all the answers, who knows how to elicit alternative perspectives, who can select the most important nuggets of insights from ‘big data,’ and who can keep learning over time as we march into the future.” Well said. Oh and here is another Big Idea for leaders everywhere: Poor Communicators Need Not Apply.

Well those are some of my thoughts. Here are links to all the other Big Ideas for 2104. Enjoy!

Sales and Marketing





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