2011 – the year of the “near and dear”

Here’s a glimpse into the near future, with my annual top ten predictions for 2011.

2011 is going to be an extraordinary year of change for Australian business and consumers.

This is in line with my belief that we have experienced more change in the last 2 years than in the previous 20 years and that in the next 10 years we will experience the equivalent of 100 years of change.

The 2011 business marketplace will be led by the mantra of near and dear as technology continues to collude to move us ever closer to our customers, employees, stakeholders, partners and each other.

The business marketplace will be working its way upwards in optimism and returns, but there will still be clear evidence of a two (2) steam Australian economy and definitely some road-bumps ahead on our economy, but expect far more turbulence from the US and Europe, who will remain behind us in 2011 trying to shake off the GFC and its aftermath.

An underlying conservatism will still abound in fashion and style in 2011, but it is the first time in a number of years that optimism and innovation will come back into mainstream thinking.

2011 also continues the march towards baby boomer retirement and Gen X and Y’s imminent anointment to the global boardrooms and decision making.

China and India will both continue their ascendency’s to economic and business powerhouses, with China’s growing middle class increasingly becoming a marketers dream as they strive to catch up to the West’s consumption habits and need for “things”.

So here we go my top 10 business trends, in no particular order of importance:

1. hyper me – hyper personalisation is the word that you heard, it’s got groove it’s got feeling and that’s what we’re getting more of in 2011 with the cyber universe becoming increasingly me-centric , information coming directly at us and more connections then we ever thought possible.

2. me, we and us – expect to see more online social media based opportunities than you’ve ever seen before as we ramp up communicating, sharing, working and living our lives online as this social media infant evolves into its teenage years and we all know how demanding and in your face teenagers can be!

3. let’s get together –we’re slowly realising we can’t and don’t need to know it all or do it all, matched by an increasing ease in finding those that might do or know some of it, will grow our desire to collaborate with others to achieve mutually satisfying goals.

4. hide and seek – mc’s (mobile computers including smart phones, tablets, netbooks, laptops, game devices, personal computers, cameras, watches etc.) are all receiving the special power of “omnipresent sight” . They are slowly coming to life and becoming real time real place personal assistants that know where you are, what you’re up to and what you want to do.

5. whisper sweet something’s into my ear – carrying an mc’s (mobile computer) around with you will give you an access to all areas pass that lets you know in real time that your best friend bought a dress in the retailer your walking past last week; that your sister is in the coffee shop around the corner; that the shoes you’re looking at are on special next door and available in your size; that there is a traffic delay on the road up ahead, that the person your meeting is running late and exactly when they’re due and where they currently are.

6. make me appy – apps (application or single focused software program we download on to our MC) are 2011’s must have. Businesses, retailers, government agencies, friends and relatives pretty much everybody you have contact with will be clamouring to provide you with one and for the consumers they are 2011’s trading cards, ‘cos telling your friends and colleagues about them gets you online social brownie points and virtual good karma.

7. social business – get it, embrace it, or be prepared to be left behind. Businesses and governments are finally realising that social media is not a fad but rather the next evolution of communication, expect to see the shift away from emails and traditional websites as we reach into cyberspace to join hands.

8. on the go go – we have finally crossed over to the other side of technology and from here on in our devices have to be intuitive and portable or we’re just not interested. Device makers are all scrambling to fill our pockets and handbags with irresistible toys all aimed at making our technology our constant companion.

9. a picture is worth a 1,000 words – better get your hair and makeup done, video is taking off yet again. MC’s now have live video chats built in, YouTube laps up videos faster than a thirsty dog and corporates of all shapes and sizes are turning to video and on line media to get their message out.

10. you can’t keep a good idea down – the last few years have been tough on innovation and getting new stuff to market has been an uphill climb, but with lessons learned and a new sense of economic normalcy on the horizon expect to see new tech, toys, markets, products, thinking, management styles and possibilities begin to rise from the ashes.

for previous years predictions take a look at: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

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