What are the trends that will shape 2021? – A Weekly Taival Podcast

Valeriy Neznakhin

Junior Advisor and Marketing Manager

Tag : reinventing-strategy; strategy

Taival’s Executive Partners Reko and Petri are sharing their perspectives of the trends shaping this year. Rebalancing of the global economy, change from materialism to meaningful consumption, and more…

Share your thoughts about this episode in the comments on LinkedIn.


Reko  0:00  
Welcome to 2021. Everyone. This is the weekly Taival, a podcast where we describe and discuss our observations from the week in business and in consulting.

We started this last year, as we noticed that our observations and and thoughts in the discussions may be interesting to share with the world. And we decided that this was a good thing to continue also for 2021.

And now, as we’re starting a new new season, what would be a better way to start than to look at actually, some of the trends that we believe will shape the coming year, there has already been some quite drastic movements in the political scene. And I think there are very interesting developments globally going on. So it would be very good to have this joint discussion of, of what are going to be the, the great forces that will shape the future of, of the business and, and the world in general. With me today, as always, to discuss these topics is my friend and colleague Petri. Good to have you here.

Petri  1:36  
Hi, Reko. Good to be here and really happy to be entering 2021 looking forward to it.

Reko  1:43  
It’s looking like a crate year already. Sadly, Michael is missing this time we hope to get his reflections in the future episodes, as he will most likely also have some really interesting stuff to talk about. But hey, let’s get into it already. We already had a little bit of homework to do on on just reflecting on on the world and that the main trends that we see. And I guess the key question is betrayed. What do you see as the main things that will shape 2021? At this point,

Petri  2:27  
thank you Reko. And my homework was to keep my mind open, I didn’t do any research, not to let my mind be spoiled by what other people are looking forward in the coming year. And I also thought that I’ll try to deliberately ignore the elephant in the room being COVID. So no direct COVID forecasts or predictions, but of course, COVID is a major impactor. So it’s going to be an underlying current on most of the things that I’ll be discussing.

But Reko would it be okay, if I give you a list of the themes that I’m following, impacting 2021 and then throw the ball back to you, and then we can reflect on whether we are looking at the same things and how they interact together? Would that be okay?

Reko  3:21  
That sounds like a really good plan. Go ahead.

Petri  3:25  
Good. Thank you. So I have four things on my mind. I’ll go from sort of quite generic, quite broad towards more specific and more narrow topics. I’ll start with a very obvious one, many people are following I’m sure. This is the rebalanced global economy, how different economies are developing, at the moment, given many of the things that are impacting the fundamental economic drivers in different parts of the world. If you look at, for example, China, it is the only larger economy growing in 2020, while the others are really holding back. So that’s my first topic, the overall rebalanced global economy.

My second topic, very timely topic, as well. And very close to my heart is the acid test for democracy that we are going through at the moment. And here I’m focusing on the impacts that the accelerated freedom for speech or freedom of speech, and the sort of destruction of the publication monopoly for your opinions is impacting in the world. So that’s my second theme.

The third theme is more business related. This is the overall theme of accelerated business reinvention. And this, again, is stemming a little bit out of the COVID crisis because in 20, many businesses had to change, it was a life threatening thing, and they had to change to survive. And the silver lining of that was that they learned how to change. And they realised that we can also change what we are not just about to survive, but also just drive going forward. So that’s my third theme, sort of agile, and innovative business reinvention that is set alight in 21, I’m sure.

And my fourth one is a consumer behaviour shift that is accelerating in or what I’m following in 21, from materialism, to consuming more meaningful things. So I’m expecting that we will see a diminishing return on the increase of Materia in people’s lives. So additional material make people less happy than before. And they are staking for directing their consumption into areas that are more purposeful and meaningful.

So those are my four following topics. So global economy rebalanced, the acid test for democracy, accelerated business reinvention, and shift from materialism to more meaningful things. How do they resonate to you and I’d be keen to hear your list.

Reko  6:43  
That was a good list. I must say, I I think our great minds think alike. I would like to say, I think we had many of the same topics, I think I’ve just structured my list a little bit differently.

If I if I just shoot out my list, and then we see how they compare, my agenda starts with the political shift, which which happened in the in just a few days ago, or, and, naturally in the in the end of 2020. I think what we’re going to see as a result of that, is that the growth of green agenda, I think there is a big big push for stopping and stopping topics that are harming the environment, you know, US joining some some critical environmental themes again, and kind of hopefully taking at least some somewhat a driver’s seat on that topic wants to COVID crisis has has moved away, you reflected on the rise of the or, or the political environment and shift of kind of changes in the free speech, I wrote down one of the political shift as as right off the right, both in Finland, steel in Europe. And, and and in us, I would hope, there is a little bit of a limit to that to the political change, but I assume that trend will will still continue and harden in some regards, especially due to the fact that we have seen now bands of free speech, which will then make may make people hide their discussions and that will not necessarily be a good thing, either.

What I also see as as kind of changes in the political shift is this freedom of, of spending money, that monetary monetary policy shift in some parts remains the same, you know, being this very cheap, money entering the market still, with us, just you know, opening printing machines to print more dollars and Europe and Finland doing the same. I think that kind of fiscal freedom cannot really continue for too long. So there needs to be something, something happening on that front and I expect 2021 to be a time when when something also shifts in that that environment.

I think what has been relevant in 2020, and will we’ll see a rise in depth in 2021 is that the business of data being better understood and and also shifting its position. That’s the second topic that I have, you know, this false information false narrative has, has already been a big theme for the last four years. But I think people are more seeing this now as actually a business of its own. The Twitter bands that we’ve seen will shine a very strong light in some of the companies and shine also a light of, you know, limitations and regulations hitting many of the platforms IE, I believe, in 2021. So there will be a reckoning for Twitter’s and Facebook’s. Which will lead to a topic that I keep very close to my heart with, which is business ethics, and AI ethics and information ethics. So how do we actually create rules around this? And from that, I perceive and I hope that Europe’s role in the world will increase, because Europe has done a good job of in the business of data by creating regulation changes. And speaking about the the regulation, I think the other topic that I mentioned also already in the political shift is the change in the environmental policies. I think they’re the political agenda

in Finland and your East driving towards strong, very strong regulatory shifts, taxation changes, there will be already things coming from Europe, hitting, Finland, in the US will change. And I think companies are really committing now to pushing these environmental agenda true. And creating new ways of working so that it’s more environmentally savvy, and also telling stories to their consumers and customers about holiday holiday changing that fact. So I hope 2021 will be a watershed in that regard. And then, as a final topic, I think the new kind of role structure of business, I hope that will change in the 2021, you know, this ecosystem, thinking how companies actually operate, how they serve, that, as you mentioned, the new ways of consuming these new ways of consuming services. That will accelerate and that has accelerated during 2021, to 2020. And that will continue in 2021. The new way that companies work and operate, I hope this way of working from home is going to be the way forward. But I think in 2021, we’re going to see maybe a backlash back to the more normal and the previous way of working. But I think there will be reflections off of that in 2021, there was a lot of stuff there. Any observations Petri? I think they were quite similar in many things.

Petri  13:17  
Absolutely. I think really interesting trends that you you outlined there. I just wanted to explore and maybe glue together some of the trends we were discussing both. And I think I’ll start with the acid test for democracy and freedom of speech. And then combine that with your business ethics topic. I think, of course, democracy has been built on the topic of freedom of speech for ages. However, with the introduction of social media and these types of platforms, we’ve now really seen the result of a total freedom of speech, because previously, there still was a publication monopoly. So you could say anything an individual person, but it would be extremely difficult to get it heard, get it out through the grape winds, if you like, because you would still be controlled by the media, the sort of curated media, that would be the publication monopoly. Now, of course, we’ve seen the repercussions of that monopoly being broken. And now we are seeing a new emerging wave of how do we then curate that publication and the Twitter ban? bans and stuff like that you mentioned is an interesting shift, because now, what happens is the editors and the professional journalists who were controlling and curating the publication in the past model is now going towards the businesses of social media. And that’s a curious thing to see happening. And that brings me to the business ethics and the data as well. So I think that’s something thing that is going to be puzzling the Society for a long time. And I’m sure we don’t really yet know how to deal with that.

Reko  15:07  
There we fully agree. I think that’s that’s definitely I think we agree that that’s one of the main things to watch for and and which will impact 2021. One thing that I wanted to add a steal to your good observations is that that I think people have noticed now that freedom also means that you need to take responsibility for the content that you push out. And one of the implications, I think that we hopefully might see in 2021, which has been already moving to that direction, is that there will be much more push to actually hide somewhat faceless content from the internet. And I hope that there will be basically this way of if you create some content in the internet, there would be a way to identify who the publisher of that information was. And in that way, you need to also somewhat carry the responsibility for your words. And I think some of the things that we saw happen in towards the end of 2020, were reflection of this, that the, that the different platforms are kind of making you take responsibility for the for the material and content that you push out.

Petri  16:36  
I think that’s really interesting. Because, again, in the past, there was the ethics, the journalistic ethics rulebook that was adhered to by the professional people who were doing that. And now the question is, okay, do I as an individual sign up for that professional journalists rulebook? Or is it the platform provider? Or who is it? Who’s going to do that? So we’re kind of missing that completely?

Reko  17:02  
fully agreed. I think the other one that I, we we somewhat already discussed in one of the episodes was this, you know, what is Europe’s role? Especially with you pointing out that China was the only greater power growing in 2020, and others were declining? I was I was thinking of, how do you see this now with the with the political shift in us, where I think the here adherence to Europe will most likely grow, hopefully, with with the Biden administration, whereas then they are pushing for a more stronger role, I guess, at least towards Russia, but maybe also towards China. So just wanted to get your reflection on that, because at the same time, they’re saying that China is that the growth in China might not necessarily be sustainable?

Petri  18:13  
That’s a big question. And I think it’s so closely linked to the political turmoil that we are in and the really radical shifts that we are seeing in that front. And I think the European growth, and the global growth, and the rebalanced growth we see in the global economy has partially been also impacted by the elements of protectionism that have been introduced because of these things that we’ve seen happening in the world. And that is always really bad. Because it’s like in sports, if you say that we are in the same sports in two different countries. But here we measure things quite differently. So we are not developing the competitiveness on a global level. So I think this brings me back to the discussion that we’ve seen that we used to see the globalisation as a theme that we are growing as a global economy, and we are competing as a global economy, and we are innovating in the global economy. So everybody benefits from this competitive competitive marketplace that we are in. And now we’ve seen some pushback on that. And Europe, especially is as a regulatory area is, I guess, hurting from that, even more than most countries or areas because we have such a complicated governance model and so much regulation going on. So I think this is a really difficult situation for Europe to navigate out of this and become a leader in global economy.

Reko  19:44  
Agreed. I think I would be ready to place one bet for the future. And I know that we discussed that in the next episode, we would maybe talk about the plausible futures and what place some bets may be for the industry. 2021 what has what has happened, once we’ve had some time to reflect on the trends that we discussed, but one observation and idea that I got out of this is that, although there is this strong current of nationalism and kind of placing the borders of thought into your own country, I think as a result of this globalisation shift people are or they may be the losing of interest towards direct globalisation is that I would suggest that there will be an reorganisation of businesses into these ecosystem type of pools of capability and pools of interest that will start forming their own norms and or maybe also their own narratives that kind of cross over country borders, and maybe also kind of European and us borders and formed these new types of structures that will generate business value, especially around environmental topics, we see this already forming for example, in in different industries, the industries are forming their own Coalition’s and cooperation networks, also competitors. And those networks will then push growth and push their own agendas. I think that might at least be one of my bets that we will see. accelerating in 2021,

Petri  21:56  
I can take that as a bet I could easily join in, put my money on. Let me give you another bet of what I believe that we will see in 2021. So by the end of 2021, I think I’ll go with my sort of accelerated business reinvention, I think we will see some business innovation that is going to be quite radical, that people just realised that, hey, we can actually create this whole thing completely differently. In, I think, first in the segments of industries that have been quite distressed because of the pandemic and the related things. Maybe just as a directional guide, areas like entertainment, business or event business, I think we might just as well see some radical innovation of how these will be done in the future. But that is going to be first with those that were really distressed. But then I think going beyond 21, we will see that, okay, you can apply this kind of innovation, even in situations where you’re not threatened to your life being is not threatened, but you can actually find sort of positive growth opportunities. So I think radical new business innovations in areas we haven’t seen before, we will be seeing this year.

Reko  23:21  
I I’ll take that bet. But I I will I will change that a little bit. So that so that we have some competition, I will also say that there will be sadly, a lot of deaths of of traditional businesses as a result. And some, some services that we’ve taken for granted are going to disappear by the end of 2021 as a result of COVID ended and down going innovation and change. Let’s see how that lives up.

Petri  23:54  
That’s a sad prediction, but not entirely. Something that you You wouldn’t believe.

Reko  24:04  
I guess that would be pretty much the summary. so far. So I guess our our thoughts and the things that we see are quite aligned, there is a huge political shift in 2021 that we see. There is a way that that, you know, businesses will restructure the the whole environment of work will will restructure and the way that hopefully we find our way out of COVID during 2021. And that will hopefully fuel a new type of growth. But I think said many of the things that we take for granted that will have changed by the end of 2021. Really looking forward to observing then what would be the plausible futures based on these trends with you in the in the next episode.

Petri  25:00  
Absolutely and I personally, I believe strongly that we’ve tipped the balance towards the positive side of things now that we are in 21. Looking forward to how they shape out

Reko  25:11  
fully agreed, definitely looking more positive than negative at this point. Great. Always great to have these discussions with you.

Likewise till next time.

Petri  25:22  
Till next time, take care