How do current trends impact your organisation?
There is a song I used to dance to in my heyday! It is called Changin by Brass Construction. The first line went something like, ‘times are changing, change with times……’ Well, times are not changing, they have already changed! There are so many examples of societal, economic, and political change we could talk about. Indeed, whole books have been written about the subject. Yes, things have changed since the days of my youth.
Hopefully I will demonstrate here, why it is imperative to be aware of changes in thinking and approach if you work for yourself, run a company, head up a non-profit organisation or even a ministry. The lack of response to change has seen organisations, corporations, businesses and even ministries reduce in their operations or even close. Here are a few examples of significant changes over the last decade.
16-YEAR-OLD GLOBAL CAMPAIGNER, REALITY TV and Football!
Who would have believed that a 16-year-old climate activist, Greta Thunberg, would be named Person of the Year in Time magazine 2019? And what about UK Women's Football featured on national television which has attracted serious corporate sponsorship? In the 21st century, you no longer need to be a world-famous pop or film star or even have the talent to be famous. It seems all you need to do is appear on reality TV shows such as the Apprentice or America’s Got Talent or just open a YouTube account attract lots of subscribers!
CONSUMER BUYING HABITS
In the UK High Street, between 2016 and 2019, major retailers closed. Amongst them Woolworths (operates in other parts of the world), Maplin (now exclusively online), British Home Stores (now online), and Toys Are Us (operate in some locations in the USA). HMV music supply stalwart has seen its market share because digital downloads have taken over CDs and DVDs. People rent music to play anywhere anytime on sites such as Spotify rather than purchase. What can we learn from these examples about our own business, or organisations?
A lack of footfall (people traffic) in the malls and high streets, caused by consumer penchant for online shopping has been partly responsible for stores closing. The effect on local communities has been significant with empty stores across a high street. These are just a few examples. Some analysts believe failed retail stores were too slow to understand the changing market and consumer buying habits.
According to various reports, the UK is heading towards a cashless society – ¾ of sales were cashless in the UK i.e. 3 out of 10. Contactless transactions are used for the smallest purchases such as coffee and a sandwich at Starbucks or the local café, where cash was once king. Certain services such as car parking no longer accept cash. Cheques (sorry my American friends would say Check!), are getting more and more rare and I suspect will cease to exist soon.
Even buskers who operate in permitted areas such as London underground, carry contact less card machines or even collect contributions via a smart phone. Even smart watches can be used for a variety of purposes. Lately in Sweden people have opted to have a chip planted in their wrist!!
Artificial intelligence are computer based applications able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence. AI computer systems or applications include visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. Many of us already use AI in our homes. For example, Alexa by Amazon and Siri by Apple can be trained to recognise your commands to play music, provide directions, switch on lights in the house and even set alarms!
THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA
According to CNBC Nearly three quarters of the world will use just their smartphones to access the internet by 2025. Smartphone users typically use their phones for posting paying bills, watching films, listening to music, designing videos, the list goes on. I even use mine as an alarm clock!
HOW CAN WE RESPOND TO SOCIETAL CHANGES?
If you are running a business, non-profit, ministry or church, it is imperative that you study and have an awareness of local and national trends in terms of culture, economics and politics. A lack of knowledge in this area will mean your mission and objectives could fail.
We don't have to like what we hear or see changing in society, but we do need an awareness and an understanding of what is happening. When we understand we can communicate more effectively with our target audience. It's called being relevant.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Madge Obaseki is known as the Healthy Growth Advocate because she addresses challenging issues impacting the organisatons. Madge is an International speaker, author and advanced trainer.
She has over 25 years of experience working in and with corporate and non-profit organisations. Her academic research interest is around retention, growth and sustainability. Her mission is to help organisation identify the reason they might be facing retention challenges and help them address the issues.
Her personal website www.madgeobaseki.com
All her social media i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter can be found ending: madgeobasekiofficial
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