Every noble work is at first impossible – Thomas Carlyle
There is no way to predict the future in detail. There is no question but that the future will be radically different and a very uncertain world. With a quickly growing global economy, there will be significantly more competition in the world markets. We will see sharp rise in disruptive innovation, new technologies, new business models, and new industries.
What will be the future of program management? The answer to that question really centers on whether or not the economy will be driven by small, innovative companies or powerful large organizations. The big looming question is, will large companies be able to survive in a disruptive world?
Luke Johnson, CEO of Risk Capital Partners, writes in Financial Times that “research shows that new and small companies create almost all the new private sector jobs, and are disproportionately innovative. By contrast, large companies are most forced to generate value through financial engineering.”
Peter Drucker said, “Business is about marketing and innovation. Anything beyond this is a cost.” The big question moving forward, is who can best market and innovate. In my book Creating You Inc., I suggest that the old ways that large companies generated a competitive advantage (e.g., high capital investments, economies of scales, patents) will become less and less important. In the past, only large companies could afford the exorbitant price tag of branding. Today, marketing is less of a barrier for small companies. Small companies are more agile and innovative however, they lack the capital that large companies enjoy.
It is important for you to develop your own conclusions about the future of program management. The purpose of this article is to share with you different facts and opinions to help you to begin that process. A key to your future success will be in your ability to understand important trends, to anticipate the future, and to develop products and services that meet new needs.
Global Trends 2030
The six game-changers NIC identified include:
In 2014, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) produced a comprehensive reported titled, “Future of Work, A Journey to 2022.” In it,
The future of work: A journey to 2022
“Small Is Beautiful: Companies will break down into collaboration of networks of smaller organizations. Specialization will dominate the world economy.”
“Corporate is King: Big company capitalism rules as organizations continue to grow bigger and individual preferences trump beliefs about social responsibility.”
“Companies Care: Social responsibility will dominate the corporate agenda with concerns about changes in climate and demographics, and embedding sustainability becoming the key drivers of business.”
The IBM Global Business Services Division believes that the digital technologies will lead to drastic changes in the economy. In the Digital Reinvention report titled “Digital Reinvention” prepared by Saul Berman, Anthony Marshall, and Nadia Leonelli, they describe how the economy will change. They explain that there are three different economies at play: 1. the organization-centered economy, 2. the individual-centered economy, and 3. the “everyone-to-everyone” economy.
“Organization-centered economies are comprised of industries characterized by high barriers to entry and capital-intense production with larger enterprises controlling product.”
The organization-centered economy was most prominent during the early part of the 20th century. This economy was driven and dominated by producer-driven consumption. Ford and its Model T is an example. They designed, manufactured, and sold standardized cars.
Today, we are in the individual-centered economy. In other words, individual needs and wants are driving the economy. Companies today are developing differentiated products based on different customers. Additionally, they are focused on providing customers a seamless experience across channels. Furthermore, they are beginning to tap into analytics from their big data sources to help drive their products and operations.
The “everyone-to-everyone” economy is “characterized by hyper-connectedness and collaboration of consumers and organizations across the gamut of value chain activities: co-design, co-creation, co-production, co-marketing, co-distribution and co-funding. In this integrated system, consumers and organizations work together to create value with transparency driving trust and effectiveness. The implication for value creation and allocation will be profound. Kiva.org, the microfinance non-profit site, is an example.”
Companies typically staff up with temps during a recovery and convert them to permanent workers as conditions improve. That hasn’t been happening. According to an article in Forbes written by Elaine Pofeldt, “currently about 20-30% of the workforce in Fortune 100 companies is made up of ‘contingent’ workers: that percentage is expected to swell to 50% by 2020.” As of 2013, the number of temporary jobs rose more than 50 percent since the recession in 2009.
The use of temporary employees has expanded into all sectors (e.g., lawyers, doctors). U.S., Adecco predicts that the “rate of growth in contingent workers will be 3-4 times the growth rate of traditional jobs and will soon comprise at least 30% or more of the global workforce.”
These temporary employment trends are symptomatic of a more basic dynamic. Companies do not last as long. Fortune started tracking Fortune 500 companies in 1955. Of the 500 companies on that list, only 71 were still there in 2008. Also, “a full one-third of the companies listed in the 1979 Fortune 500 had vanished by 1983…”
It is not certain that this trend toward temporary and contract work will continue. Unless businesses and the economy stabilize, however, this trend will likely continue. One thing is certain. To assume the economic environment will be the same as when our fathers or grandfathers had long-term and even life-time jobs—isn’t wise. It is estimated that workers today between the ages of 21 to 31 will likely have between 12 to 15 jobs.
In many ways, I believe that program managers are better prepared for the future than most. In addition to having strong program management strengths, they often have outstanding product, project, and portfolio skills. They also typically have good product launch and marketing skills. It will also be important to have subject-matter experience. To prepare for the future, my recommendation is that program managers also find and focus on a particular niche where they can become an expert and even thought-leader someday.
As subject-matter expertise, innovation, and technology become the backbone of future success, having the knowledge and skill sets below will become important across all fields or niches.
Accelerate your progress in defining and progressing towards your business or career sweet spot.
A Creating You, Inc. workshop helps you to prepare for a different future. It helps to move you away from a dependency on employers, to creating a future where you are in the driver’s seat.
The workshop will give you a significant jumpstart in discovering your ideal sweet spot, developing, and beginning to implement your action plans to create your desired business or career.
A workshop is a highly interactive experience that builds upon the insights provided in the best-selling book Creating You, Inc.
During the workshop, you will enjoy rolling-up your sleeves and getting to work. You will also receive coaching along the way to help you succeed.
To learn more about the workshops visit Creating-You-Inc.com/workshops
By David Willden,
• Author of Creating You, Inc.
• CEO, Breakthrough Practices, Inc.
• Future of Work
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