top of page

Business Trends in Practice - Book Review

1 June 2023
Dr. Moria Levy

The book "Business Trends In Practice: The 25+ Trends that are redefining organizations" is a book written by Bernard Marr in 2022. Marr is a first-class business consultant dealing with technology and business who writes regularly in magazines such as Forbes.

In the book, Marr analyzes 10 infrastructural technology trends and 5 additional trends that are not related to technology, according to which he:

  1. Analyzes the impact of these on some of the more significant sectors.

  2. Suggests how organizations should behave, both in their value proposition and in the way of managing the organizations they lead.


Topics discussed in the book:
  1. Infrastructural trends:

    1. Technologies

    2. Others

  2. Changes in the various sectors:

    1. Energy

    2. Health

    3. Learning and education

    4. Agriculture

    5. Manufacturing and construction

    6. Transportation

    7. Finance

  3. The value propositions of organizations:

    1. Digital/hybrid products

    2. Smarter products and services

    3. Personal customization

    4. Sale of SAAS services (subscription to a service instead of purchase)

    5. Brokerage - less brokerage companies, more brokerage platforms

    6. customer experience

    7. Customer demand for companies and products based on social responsibility

  4. Organization management:

    1. organizational meaning; authenticity

    2. Healthy social infrastructure: ecological, authenticity, inclusion

    3. organizational patterns

    4. Human resource management (skills, recruitment, and retention)

    5. Smart human-machine integration

    6. Fundraising

    7. Integrative partnership


The summary of this book shown below shows how important it is for every manager to prepare for the future that is already upon us. For this purpose, it is worthwhile to learn more in depth, both by reading the book itself, and by further learning and practical preparation following it.

After, choose the subjects in which it is even more worthwhile to delve deeper - and look for dedicated books that teach each and every one of these separately.

Infrastructural trends

Technological trends

10 major trends that are part or derivative of the fourth industrial revolution we are in. It should be noted that, unlike in the past, these trends influence and are influenced by each other significantly:

  1. Enhanced computing: More computing power, more quantum computing, capacity to store and process data is getting stronger.


  2. Smart and connected devices/devices: The IoT is growing at a dizzying pace. By 2030, there are expected to be 6 times more smart devices that transmit data and talk than the number of people on Earth

  3. Multiple data: Existence of computerized data on everything that happens around us (agriculture, the human body, and more). Potential for a better understanding of the world. In the future, we expect the democratization of the data, which will allow anyone to use the data, without experts getting in the way.

  4. Artificial intelligence: intelligence realized through machines that allows us to see, understand, smell, speak, hear and listen, touch, identify, create content, and perform many actions that, until recently, we thought were the property of the human brain only. A new trend that is becoming more and more exciting is a shift to total artificial intelligence, which will allow comprehensive independent understanding and learning, and not just the performance of defined tasks as is mostly done today.

  5. Extended reality (XR): a wide range of technologies that enable virtual reality, integrated, mixed reality, and everything in between. A transition from the main use of these technologies from gaming to the business world.

  6. Digital trust: Technologies that enable trust in digital environments. The blockchain technology is currently a significant component in the ability to secure data, remove intermediaries, add transparency, and more.

  7. 3D printing: a technology that has been with us for some time, improving all the time. Enables the development and production of customized products, for a variety of health needs (the human body), industrial and all the way to the overall construction of buildings, in an adapted manner with minimal contamination.

  8. Genetic editing and biological synthesis: the ability to edit our DNA and treat diseases with tools and levels we did not imagine, and without chemical intervention; The ability to use biological synthesis to prepare vaccines, to clone meat, and many other abilities in the fields of agriculture, chemicals, and health.

  9. Nanotechnology and materials science: Manipulation of atoms that allows the creation of materials with new properties.

  10. Renewable energy: Energies of different types between those based on nuclear fusion and green energies based on hydrogen.

Definitely inspiring.

Non-technology-based trends

5 major trends that influence and influence every organization and person on the planet:

  1. Earth: The changing attitude towards the earth following the climate crisis, including the warming, the pollution, the depletion of resources, and the population growth.

  2. Strong economies: A change in the map of the strongest economies (in terms of GDP) and a shift from the G7 economies in the West (France, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada) to a new list of leading countries, mainly in the East and primarily: China, India. The map of developing economies, those with natural and technological resources, will change completely.

  3. Social polarization: Significant polarization within societies, which turns debates into ideological ones, those that do not morally accept the people who hold opposite positions.

  4. Demographic change in the world population: Despite the overall increase in the world, a long list of countries that are shrinking; aging of the world's population; continues beyond the cities; Growth in the middle class (and yet - growth in the gap between rich and poor).

  5. Changes in social culture and the workplace: reducing the level of married people; failure to solve the problem of the sectoral gap; growing individualism of the young; the possibility of working from home; the possibility of employment of people who are not employees in organizations; Various employed in the global job market.

Sectoral changes

Below is a concise list of the trends. Details of each of these trends, implementation methods, and challenges - are in the book itself.

Energy

The starting point: for generations, the most polluting energy.

Major change trends:

  1. Decarbonization: Moving to a clean, carbon-free world.

  2. Decentralization of energy management: transition from monopolies to many and varied electricity suppliers.

  3. Digitization: Computerization of energy production management processes.

Health

The starting point: population growth; extending life expectancy; Epidemics (COVID). All of these lead to a shortage in the scope of medical personnel in relation to the need.

Major change trends:

  1. Preventive medicine: reminders to take medications, medications adapted to population risks, identification of a disease that has not yet erupted, analysis of network traffic to locate potential suicides, and more.

  2. Democratic medicine: Greater accessibility to the needs of the services - by phone, chatbots, and more.

  3. Personalized medicine: Personalization of medicines and in the future of medical treatment, based on AI.

  4. Digitization: computerization of human condition monitoring, medical records, virtual reality integrated into training, doctor visits, and more.

  5. Improving the human body: Interventions for physical and mental improvement of the human body, by interfering with DNA and not only.

  6. Robotics and Nano-blunt: The integration of robots began in cleaning hospitals, in combination with artificial organs, in invasive photography and intervention, in constant monitoring of the blood in our body, and more.

  7. Medicines based on big data: Dedicated IoT for medicines, collection, and management of medical databases and patient behaviors, use of blockchain to transfer patient and medicine data, and more.

Learning and education

The starting point: huge investments in education that are only supposed to go and grow. In addition, the learning content and learning methods should adapt to the new world of the fourth industrial revolution.

Major change trends:

  1. Changing the learning content: Learning new skills (good citizenship, innovation, creativity, skills related to technology, skills related to interpersonal relationships, ethics, and inclusion).

  2. Changing the way they teach: more digital content; more personalized (pace and direction); more collaborative and project-based learning; in smaller portions; More immersive learning (eg integrated XR).


Agriculture

The starting point: the population is growing, and agricultural areas are shrinking. As a result, more demand for food in general and meat in particular, and thus also for more fresh water (for the benefit of crops).

Major change trends:

  1. Changing breeding methods: more automation (drones, robotics); more customization (not every plant, for example, receives the same amount of water); Integrating blockchain to improve the supply chain; more growth within communities and cities; Crops that consume less water; Genetic Engineering; and more.

  2. Changing the way food is developed (mainly meat): cultured meat; meat grown in laboratories on a cell basis; Meat printed with 3D printers.

Manufacturing and construction

The starting point: the industrial and construction sectors, as implemented today, have a very negative impact on the climate crisis. Today we can already see the beginning of the long-awaited change.

Major change trends:

production

  1. IIoT- Industrial Internet of Things: Endless devices that talk to each other and transfer information - specifically with data related to production.

  2. Preventive Maintenance: based on artificial intelligence that identifies patterns "towards failure".

  3. Digital twins: Simulation of production lines or even entire factories to perform various evaluations in a clean, cheap, and accurate way.

  4. Automation: A significant increase in automation in factories. will sharply result in the return of activities transferred to cheap labor overseas (reshoring).

  5. Robots and co-bots: Beyond automation, they will also be used as complements to humans (for example, in smart suits) and thus for a smarter and safer integrated operation.

  6. Triplicate prints Dimension and additive manufacturing: Development based on smart machines, which therefore enables the reduction of stocks, and more production on demand.

  7. Smart and sustainable products: Products that include smart devices, even in subjects we never dreamed of, such as yoga mats.

  8. Building green wisdom: the construction of buildings that include internal energy production, so that the energy consumption is self-sufficient; Buildings with devices that allow communication and data exchange within it (elevators, garbage room, etc.).

  9. Modular and remote construction: Possibility of modular construction in safe and controlled areas, and only after the construction is completed transfer to the destination point (for example, in the center of a busy city).

  10. Change materials: less use of aluminum, whose level of toxicity is high.

  11. Using technology to improve the construction process: drones; Complex reality and blockchain as means of improving and streamlining the building construction process.

Transportation

The starting point: there are significant changes affecting the potential of transportation, both at the level of traveling and transporting people, and at the level of transporting goods.

Major change trends:

  1. Electric vehicles: a change we all witness. In addition, there is also a change in the beginning of using green energies as a source of propulsion.

  2. Autonomous vehicles: An opportunity for a revolution in the way traffic is conducted, both people and goods. Refers not only to cars, but also to ships and drones. It is worth recognizing that the directions of application are different in the inter-locality traffic compared to the traffic within the cities.

  3. Beyond a business model of transportation and transportation services: Beyond the situation where fewer people own vehicles and many use transportation services, both specific and providers that offer integration and a combination of services.

Finance

The starting point: the world of money is changing its shape. completely. There is even a new name for the world of technological products related to changes in this world - fintech (ML).

Major change trends:

  1. The payment experience: we pay through our phones (hence: click + smile = payment); Some payments will become automatic, depending on our identity, without us even asking. Another trend related to this world - loans within a community - without the involvement of banks.

  2. Digitization of payment and money services: our digital activity with the banks; encrypted digital currencies; and more.

  3. New financial apps and service providers: digital payment vouchers, digital wallets.

  4. Improved and personalized services.

The value propositions of organizations

Digital/hybrid products

Transition from physical products to digital or integrated products.

Detail:

  1. Apps provide value - on the side or instead of the physical service.

  2. Meta-applications that mediate and optimize the relationship with specific functional applications.

  3. Cross-channel user experience. You can start the service on a certain channel, switch to another, and continue and receive an update on a third channel. This, while integrating, in some cases, between different companies (you heard a song you liked while buying a coffee, and it is added to your playlist on your favorite device for listening to music).

  4. New digital products - art, clothing, content creation by digital tools (not just their presentation); and more.

Smarter products and services

Products and services that know how to identify and recognize the situation and act accordingly, and in this way, not only optimize the tools but offer new value.

Examples:

  1. Products:

    1. Temperature control at home: turns on heating or cooling, depending on the situation, before you return from work.

    2. Smart refrigerators: that monitor what is missing and order shopping.

    3. Dog house doors: Recognizing your pet and open the designated door just for him.

    4. Cameras hover in the house in the absence of family members and manage his security.

  2. Services:

    1. Using smart maps to choose available and efficient transportation routes.

    2. Database monitoring and management, including backup, repair and maintenance work, without human involvement.


There are, of course, new solutions that offer smart products and services in integrated packages.

Personal customization

The world of general market marketing is disappearing. Companies and organizations try to offer the right product to everyone at the time it is needed. It is very important to know the right moments for each and every one.

The more data there is about everyone and what is happening, the higher the computing power, the easier it is to offer customized solutions at a higher level than what we were used to in the past.

For this purpose, companies must create a foundation of trust that will make people agree to share their personal information, so that this value can indeed be offered.

At the center of these are recommendation engines based on age, gender, activity history, and behavior of similar users. The engines can be used at different levels, from advertising to personal cosmetics, through insurance, movies, a changing service experience, and more.

The name of the game will not only be customization, as mentioned, but analysis and understanding of timing, and this combination will be a key to success.

Selling services- SAAS (subscription to the service instead of purchase)

Some readers already know about the advantages of cloud services, which are a significant part of the subscribers' perception, due to personal experience: there is no need for installations, the level of commitment decreases, and the flow of expenses changes. Beyond that, there is no need for computer specialists, backups are performed automatically, and there are many other advantages (M.L.).

The main trends in this context:

  1. Content services: for example, on TV.


  2. Technology services: either at the level of complete software, or the use of dedicated algorithms, for example, in artificial intelligence engines. Robotics services for rent (for example, for cleaning in cities), and more.

  3. Subscription boxes: fixed subscriptions that provide you with service to your home or office on a regular basis, as a subscription. A stream from hygiene products for women, through new clothes (in accordance with artificial intelligence recommendations) to joining changing member clubs. The examples are many and varied and the field continues to develop daily.

Brokerage - less brokerage companies, more brokerage platforms

We have always used brokers services. A classic example is insurance agents; Another example is supermarkets, and there are many other intermediaries. Everyone benefits along the way. The ability to cut out the middlemen is possible today thanks to the connection of all of us online and online purchases. The trend of purchases is growing in character every day and includes a very wide variety ranging from cars, through glasses, food for animals, to even carpets.

Blockchain technology also contributes to the safety of information transfer and purchase.

Along with this trend of cutting intermediaries, Marr points to the opposite trend: new digital intermediaries. Intermediaries that combine several purchase or subscription services together, to make it easier for the user and save him a search, or alternatively to offer him offers with a more adjusted value, or a lower cost.

As part of this trend, platforms are being born that allow an individual to call another individual directly, and not necessarily the big companies we are used to on the other side. Well-known examples of this are the AIRBNB hotel service or the UBER transportation service. Other new business platforms include a site for exchanging money, purchasing grocery products, managing software projects, fr sharing vehicles, and using the masses together (for example, for collecting ideas or for financial investments).

Customer experience

For several years, we have been talking about customer experience as an important element in selling or consuming a service or product. New surveys (Berkeley) show that over 80% of customers regard the service experience as no less important than the price aspect. Half of them are even willing to pay more, to improve the experience.

The smooth improved service experience is indeed related to advanced technologies, but not only. Separating reception hours for favorites, a unique theater experience in stores are examples of unique non-technological experience options. In the technological aspect, virtual reality stars as the central upgrade.

Customer demand for companies and products based on social responsibility

Beside all the innovations that offer the individual many advantages as described so far, a significant new demand from customers is for companies that demonstrate sustainable social responsibility.

This requirement mainly refers to three aspects:

  1. Where the product is manufactured

  2. Production process

  3. The materials from which the product is made.


The world of new technologies enables research with relative ease, therefore making it easier to find out if a company meets the various requirements.

The customer's requirements relate first and foremost to food, but also to electric vehicles, packaging, and sustainable fashion, reducing plastic in cleaning products and cosmetics, handling leftover food and bottles, and more.

Organization management

Organizational meaning; authenticity

Organizations today are required for more than offering functional solutions and financial profitability. The organizations that will succeed are the ones that will also offer meaning, a contribution to a greater purpose.

Organizations that have not yet dealt with this must act to find and define their meaning and turn them into action.

Defining the meaning - it is suggested to start with the question "For what?"

Translation into action - two significant tips: 1) Communicating the meaning in and out 2) Implementation while looking at the long term and not only the near immediate term.

The organization must be authentic, including the conduct of reliability, respect for everyone, genuineness (the admission that not everything is perfect in the organization), transparency, and taking a stand.

The leader must be authentic, including the conduct of empathic leadership, be honest, have morals and ethics at a high level, be self-awareness, and bring the self and the personal to the work environment (no more different personas at home and in the office as in the past).

Examples of these leaders: Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Dan Shulman, and Michelle Romanov.

Healthy social infrastructure: ecological, authenticity, inclusion

Successful organizations will be those that have a healthy social infrastructure:

  1. Ready for success in the short term but also in the long term.

  2. Adaptive in the construction and adaptation of the workers (and I will also add - in the adaptation of the torturers and the way of operation - M.L.).

  3. Collaborative without the familiar silos where each unit operates separately; Cross-organizational sharing will bring success.

  4. Can be trusted: builds trust, is transparent, and leads through empathy.

  5. Responsible: both to the stakeholders and to the environment.


These organizations take care of the internal information security, but also the environment, taking appropriate actions to be more ecologically friendly.

Organizational patterns

Organizational patterns are changing to fit the new world:

  1. Flat organizations-

    These organizations are characterized by a lot of cooperation, autonomy for employees, decentralization of decision-making to employees, significant communication in the organization, and flexibility.

  2. Fast and growing organizations-

    The organizations that develop with the MVP concept, integrate customer feedback as part of the regular activity, are not afraid of cannibalizing old products when offering new ones, and give a lot of room for internal organizational entrepreneurship.

  3. Advanced performance management-

    Setting goals at an organization-wide level with autonomy for teams to set their own goals so that they support them when performance measurement and evaluation are ongoing and not once a year.

  4. Hybrid organizations-

    Organizations that combine work from home together with physical work.

Human resource management (skills, recruitment, and retention)

People's employment conditions are changing, and this change received a significant additional boost during the Coronavirus.


The main changes:

  • The ability to work remotely.

  • Employed in various formats.


Observed trends:

  1. Basing on global databases of candidates-

    Advanced employers will even maintain a pool of candidates (such as those they may use, even if currently inactive through a contract).

  2. A diverse and inclusive workforce-

    A workforce open to people of different genders, populations originating from different places, and with different needs, some even special needs.

  3. Investment in employee experience-

    Similar to investing in customer experience, investing in corporate culture, the physical environment, and technology.

  4. Corporate Culture-

    A culture that refers to inclusion (as mentioned by Leal), lifelong learning, advanced performance measurement, and employee recruitment processes, which are not only functional, but supporting and engaging.

  5. Technology-

    advanced technology

  6. Physical work environment-

    A clean, safe, comfortable, enjoyable work environment, and as much as possible - inspiring.

Smart human-machine integration

Organizations that will succeed are those that will understand that there is a change in the structure of manpower and tasks. Part of the change is related to a redefinition of what the machine does, what the human does, and where the machine and the human work in combination.

When machines today know how to read, write, see, hear, speak, smell (yes...), touch, move, understand, and generate - the balancing equation between man and machine takes on a different place than what we were used to in previous years.

Marr presents a list of examples in which automation replaces the people, but also examples of integrated work - for example - with wearable clothes that warn people of vulnerabilities, with people teaching the robots how to work, and more - where the main message is that a combination of man and machine, can bring out the best of both.


One must prepare for the new era in which:

  1. Some human roles will be replaced by machines.

  2. More roles will be performed in combination.

  3. And there will be many new jobs for people that result from the change.


To prepare for the new era, the people must be trained in new skills, including new ones.

The list of skills is not short. It includes:

Critical thinking, complex decision making, emotional intelligence and empathy, creativity, flexibility, cultural intelligence, ethics, leadership, collaborative communication and teamwork, digital literacy, and data literacy.

Fundraising

The mobilization of resources is also changing, compared to what we are used to.

Four main trends:

  1. Crowdfunding - funding that addresses individuals (rather than companies).

  2. Funding based on blockchain coins instead of ordinary shares (Initial Coin Offering).

  3. Funding as to specific assets of the company, and not in the entire company, when the mechanism of managing the assets and selling the ownership is made possible through blockchain.

  4. Funding through dedicated SPAC funds.

Integrative collaboration

There are also trend changes in the issue of cooperatives. It is no longer enough to know how to share within teams.

The directions of sharing to which cross-organizations should be aspired. Cooperation is not isolated, with each factor separately - the right way to succeed is integrative cooperation, throughout the supply chain cycle of various companies, driving:

  1. Data sharing between organizations, in a structured way that enables integrated activity.

  2. Moving from the discourse of "I" as a company, to the discourse of "us" as a sector.

  3. Combining machines together with "human" partners.

  4. collaborations between competitors; In some contexts, they cooperate, in others, they continue to compete.

Summary

There is no doubt that this is a book that offers a great many directions and changes,each offering a small taste, which requires further deepening (reading the book itself, and beyond it- seeking for specific books to follow).

So what can be said in conclusion?

Four final pieces of advice from Marr:

There is no menu to choose from; everything that is relevant requires implementation.

Adaptability and quick response are key to success.

Don't forget to be human through this journey and new wave.

And also think about the planet; help to invest in a place and a future that we would all like to live in.

book cover
bottom of page