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The Future Of Everything

The Future of Everything

We live in rapidly changing times—technology is changing, our environment is changing, consumers are changing and business is changing. It’s an amazing time to be engaged in the marketplace. It’s also an important time to be out in the world, listening and learning. I spent some time in New York City participating in the Future of Everything Festival, sponsored by the Wall Street Journal (and as an in-person version of their Future of Everything section).

Trends to Watch:

Leaders and organizations need to be consumer focused but mission driven. It’s not just about being customer obsessed anymore, it’s about making a positive impact on the world. At GoKart Labs we believe that leaders and organizations need to be value driven; creating value for customers, value for employees and value for the organization, all in alignment with a true vision and mission.

Consumers and organizations are defining where the market is going. There’s a new pattern of push and pull between what consumers are asking for and what companies want to or are willing to offer, where consumers are and where they want to go or are willing to go. It’s not the idea of ‘give the customer what they want’ nor is it ‘tell the customer what they’re going to get’, it’s somewhere new—a movement into exploring what might be from both sides, with a mission- and impact-driven future in mind. It’s collaboration with a push forward into the unknown.

All industries are beginning to focus on natural and sustainable products and practices that are kind to the environment. It’s no longer someone else’s problem. From fashion trailblazer Eileen Fisher to Kerry Cooper, President and COO of Rothy’s shoes, to Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker, people are focusing on creating a cleaner, more sustainable supply and value chain for everyone.

A comprehensive ecosystem perspective is replacing siloed thinking. We’ve entered the era of systems thinking and you saw it throughout—just as you see it in all of these key trends. You can’t isolate one thing to one industry, to one user, to tech or non-tech, or to one country vs. another; everything is connected. Individuals and organizations are beginning to see the opportunities inter-connectedness provides and the responsibility that accompanies it.

Technology as an enabler not technology as the solution. We heard from representatives of GM and Hyundai as they explore who they are and what their real value might be (are they a car company? a tech company? a mobility company?), and how might their services change the lives of people that need it, such as individuals in wheelchairs that want to get into a New York City taxi but live in a building with stairs:

Machine modeled after New York Taxi, assisting individuals in wheelchairs.

A movement towards constant movement—the idea of being a bit “off balance” and challenging yourself to move forward. David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group (famous for restaurants around the world, and most recently, The Shed at Hudson Yards in NYC) balanced these two by saying, “It’s good to be timeless, but you should also be timely, which is a good thing to think about.”

Design with the future in mind (not the end). Jason Fried, the founder of Basecamp and the author of “It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work,” gave a refreshing reminder that it really doesn’t have to be crazy at work. And he’s right—don’t be “busy” just to be busy, take time, breathe, think and then do at a real pace and with a zest for the fun of solving really great problems that provide really amazing services and make someone else’s life better. And don’t start a business to get out of business, start a business to stay in business.

To learn more about how these trends are impacting your business and what you can do about it, contact us. And stay tuned for our recaps on The Future of Public Higher Ed coming up in July and Money 20/20 in October. In the meantime check out last years trends on Money 20/20 here.

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