January gives business leaders a fresh start to search for new opportunities for growth and success.
It’s also a prime opportunity to look ahead and start planning for further down the track.
With that in mind we asked seven successful Australian executives what they expect to see out of 2019.
Their answers are insightful and may guide you in some of the 2019 planning you may be executing right now.
Here’s what they had to say.
Sarah Moran, Co-founder and CEO of Girl Geek Academy
The Australian Government’s tech-phobia will galvanise the tech-sector. The tech community will make its voice and vote count — forcing greater attention to innovation outcomes. We will see an independent “technology party” throw their hat in the ring for the 2019 election. Election outcomes will also hinge on greater action around climate change with strong influence from movements such as “Fair dinkum power” and SA solar led by technology leaders such as Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes.
STEM will mature its focus — kids learning coding will no longer be the benchmark for progress in STEM. We will see more attention to the benefits of STEM — with kids creating high impact outcomes and products and even building the next generation of Australian businesses using their code and tech skills.
“Her Aspiration Requires His Cooperation” — the theme of a debate being held this International Women’s Day heralds the next level in inclusion and progress of women. Focusing our efforts on helping women with their own success has got us pushing the boundaries past 30% women in tech in 2018. Getting to 50% will require men to share the load and we will see men stepping up to do this more and more in 2019.
Angela Clark, CEO of Beem It
Shift towards a cashless society: 2019 will be the year when cash truly becomes old fashioned and inconvenient. Australians will increasingly adopt innovative digital payment solutions to make payments in social settings among friends and family as well as for purchases. It is also the year that digital payments become accessible for all, with security, easy and accessibility enabling everyone from babysitters to charities have low cost or free solutions in the palm of their hand.
Security and data control as a trust mark for brands: Given the year that was, 2019 may well be the year that security, privacy and data control becomes a value proposition and “trust mark”. The decade behind us has seen our personal data become “the product” in new technology business models and it could well be the start of a new era where security and data control for customers is a foundation of trust for brands.
More enterprise-led fintechs. There will be greater collaboration between enterprise and startups as the startup landscape matures — giving birth to a new generation of Australian fintechs.
Alex Badran, Co-founder of Spriggy
The startup ecosystem comes under pressure. With an election year around the corner and US equity volatilities at recent highs, domestic investors may have a lower risk appetite. This will place increased pressure on Aussie tech companies to deliver and man startups with strong traction, who have delivered on previously set expectations, will be the ones we see funded.
More collaboration. We’ve seen an enormous culture shift between startups and the incumbents over the last few years, from a “we can build it all ourselves” mentality to one that recognises that there’s value to be had for customers, start ups and the incumbents through partnerships. I predict that in 2019 we’ll see the trend toward collaboration continue.
More customer wins. CommBank are set to introduce ApplePay early next year off the back of strong customer demand and I predict that NAB and Westpac follow suit in 2019.
David Freeman, CEO of H2coco
More omni-channel retail presence — whilst traditional retail brands will continue to grow their online presence, it’s clear that physical retail remains important to customers. There will be less pure-play online focus and more attention to omnichannel retail.
More offshore expansion — Australians retail and FMCG brands will start competing more aggressively in offshore markets. The drivers for this are the quality and innovative nature of our offering, better and reduced cost of distribution and the gradual globalisation of brands opening us up to global opportunity.
Reduced waste — There will be a far greater shift towards increased sustainability and less waste in FMCG products. Consumers will start demanding this more from brands as they have in the UK. H2coco products are created using a sustainable philosophy – we use 100% of the coconut products across our beverages and production cycle.
Laurence Schwartz, Partner of Our Innovation Fund Venture Capital
Going global will become even more of a focus for startups in 2019 with global growth prospects now high on any investor’s priority list. The Australian market is an exceptional home market but other than in rare instances, it simply doesn’t have the scale in and of itself to deliver competitive and sustainable growth opportunities for B2B tech companies. In 2019, we will continue to see more Australian tech companies expand globally, with expansion into the US market a priority. This focus will attract more investment by US-based investors into Australian-born companies.
B2B software companies will continue to emerge as the new Unicorn players. We are optimistic that several more ‘unicorn’ companies will emerge in the Australian market in the coming 12 months and we predict these will be software companies actively competing on the world stage, and specifically in the US.
Bede Moore, Director of TechSydney
Data encryption woes will continue. We will see an ongoing battle over data encryption regulations — hopefully with an ultimately positive outcome for the tech community!
Government spending. There is danger of short-term spending in an election year, but also some real opportunity to invest in important, generational projects.
Fleur Brown, CEO of Launch Group, and Founder of Entrepreneurs TV Show
Growth in Portfolio careers: Whether by choice or by default, we will continue to see professionals wear a number of hats and move beyond one fixed employer. Factors driving this trend include the shedding of fixed employment contracts, greater entrepreneurial curiosity and ambition and the need to secure revenue from a number of sources.
Social justice issues will dominate the 2019 election: Climate change action, equality for minority groups including women and asylum seekers will tip the balance of power in the 2019 election campaign. These will no longer be regarded as ‘left’ or ‘right’ issues but human rights issues. Victory will go to the party seen to be most authentically addressing these human needs.
Good citizenship a requirement for brands: Customer-activism is a growing trend and can result in swift punishment or even death for brands that get it wrong. Brands now need to go beyond ‘ticking a social responsibility box,’ PR-ing their good deeds or acting charitably purely due to external pressure. They need to proactively and actively demonstrating their citizenship towards customers and their broader target community from the outset – or pay the price.
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