Here are the four mega-trends challenging Australian business in the next 20 years

Getty/Scott Barbour

It’s been more than two decades since the last Australian recession. Growth has been so strong during this period that there has been less than a handful of negative GDP prints.

It’s a period of uninterrupted economic growth that has is now stretching into its 24th year. It’s also a stretch of economic growth which has coincided with the emergence of Asia as the dominant driver of global growth. It’s been an amazing period of prosperity for the Australian economy, an economy which uniquely among developed economies escaped the harshest ravages of the GFC.

So you’d expect that Australian business is on the up and embracing the opportunities and challenges facing it.

Yet business, buffeted by political uncertainty, weak domestic consumption and an uncertain global economy, is hunkered down and lacking confidence.

This lack of confidence and the risk aversion it is driving in the boardrooms of Australian business risks wasting the opportunity that Asia presents at our doorstep. It also risks us sleepwalking through the challenges that a changing world presents.

That’s one of the messages of a new book, Australia 2034 – Luckier By Design, by AT Kearney consultants Nigel Andrade and Peter Munro.

Kearney and Munro have identified four key mega-trends which are unfolding at home and across the globe and note that Australia and Australian businesses “destiny will depend on how we respond – with the right outlook, capabilities, and strategies”. They stress that this remains firmly within our control.

The four megatrends they call “The Double-Edged Sword of Destiny” are:

  1. Asia Rising
  2. Maturing Australia
  3. Digital Tsunami, and
  4. Increased Imbalance

The authors highlight that when viewed in aggregate, “the only thing we know for sure is that the future will be very different from the past”.

But while they recognise the “difficulty, if not impossibility, of picking the specific aspects of each trend to prepare and respond to”, the authors believe that Australian business can flourish by building a capability set which they call their Capability Manifesto. It includes an expansive mindset, agile DNA and the ability to deliver more and innovative value.

How business does this is laid out in the rest of the book, and it’s well worth a read.

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