With the end of the pandemic in sight, a new U.S. administration in place, and Brexit a reality, 2021 will be a new dawn for business and government. Digital, social, and economic shifts will gain momentum, propelling companies and cities into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
As this new era unfolds, private- and public-sector leaders will require visionary thinking and actionable insights to keep their businesses profitable and their cities safe. To fill this need, ESI ThoughtLab will be conducting thought leadership research throughout 2021 to analyze how industries and cities will need to adapt their business approaches and digital strategies to succeed in the next normal.
At ESI ThoughtLab, our goal is to work with our clients to create valuable evidence-based research that helps corporate and government decision-makers stay ahead of the curve. Download our 2021 Thought Leadership Agenda today to learn more about our upcoming research initiatives and how you can participate in developing a new vision and in framing the discussion.
"The pandemic has fast-forwarded the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Companies and cities will need to act decisively in 2021 to change course or risk losing relevance."
-Lou Celi, Chief Executive Officer, ESI ThoughtLab
2021 Thought Leadership Agenda
- Everything goes digital. Digitalization will upend all industries, giving rise to remote medicine, online education, mobile banking, and smart manufacturing. From operations and sales to HR and financial management, everything that can be better done digitally, will be.
- Customers reset priorities. A year of social distancing is permanently shifting the demands, priorities, and shopping behaviors of customers across generations. Customers will expect digital experiences, hyper-personalization, and social awareness from businesses.
- The pre-pandemic workplace does not return. Now that agile and remote digital working has been shown to boost productivity, there will be no turning back. Boundaries between firms and ecosystem partners will blur, IT platforms will modernize, and the future of work will start now.
- Smart connectivity and on-cloud platforms transform business. The convergence of AI, IoT, cloud, 5G, and faster computing will speed business processes and decision-making while creating seamless connections among billions of devices, products, and services.
- Distance loses its relevance. Proximity will matter less to companies across industries, from retail and entertainment to banking and manufacturing. Customer relations will become contactless, except where personal access can provide added value or a competitive edge.
- The pandemic ends, but disruption remains. The pandemic has shown that we live in an interconnected world where disruption can occur suddenly and cascade unexpectedly. Agility and resilience will drive business success.
- Technology empowers citizens and consumers. Digital connectivity will give people greater input into political, business, and product decisions. Governments will use technology to achieve their social, economic, and environmental goals, with an eye on building digital equality.
- Cities adopt a 4.0 framework. The most successful cities will use technology, data, and citizen engagement to achieve sustainable development goals. They will use an agile ecosystem of partners to drive change and support new ways of doing business.
- Capitalism becomes inclusive. The crisis has served as a wake-up call for business to think, act, and invest for the common good. Firms will move from shareholder to stakeholder capitalism to meet the changing expectations of customers, investors, and employees.
- The US democratic tsunami will redraw the business landscape. While businesses will likely see increases in taxes and regulations, they should also expect a revitalized economy with greater geopolitical alignment and a sharper focus on sustainability and social responsibility.
Upcoming Research Initiatives
Wealth and Asset Management 4.0: How digital, social, and economic shifts will transform the industry
Investor priorities and behaviors were already changing, but the pandemic has permanently reset digital and social expectations and made hyper-personalization an imperative. Wealth service providers will need to act now to digitize customer and employee experiences and rethink growth strategies, value propositions, and products and services.
Visit our Wealth and Asset Management 4.0 microsite to learn more.
Global Aftershocks: How the pandemic will accelerate digital transformation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Digitalization will upend all industries, giving rise to remote medicine, online education, mobile banking, and smart manufacturing. From operations and sales to HR and financial management, everything that can be better done digitally, will be. At the same time, social change and the rise of stakeholder capitalism will redefine the future of business.
Download our discussion paper on this program to learn more.
The Next-Generation Cloud: How a smarter, hyperconnected cloud will drive corporate performance
The convergence of AI, IoT, 5G, and faster computing will provide firms with a high-performance omni-cloud platform that will speed business processes and decision-making while creating seamless connections between billions of devices, products, and services.
Learn more about our study The Next-Generation Cloud and how it will redefine corporate performance.
The Future of Distance
Proximity will matter less to companies across industries, from retail and entertainment to banking and manufacturing. Customer relations will become contactless, except where personal access can provide added value or a competitive edge.
Learn more about how ESI ThoughtLab plans to conduct a detailed study on the impact of distance. Key questions to explore about distance in the post-COVID world include:
- What is the impact on revenues and costs of different distancing scenarios? What is at risk and where is the upside for key industries?
- How will next-wave technologies—contactless commerce, digital twins, virtualization, swarm intelligence, AI, cloud, IoT, 3-D printing etc.—help businesses overcome distance?
- Which industries are best placed to compete using the new technologies? Which will be the winners and losers?
- What does shrinking distance imply for the future of work and the skills and processes needed to operate?
Smart City Solutions for a Riskier World: How innovation can drive urban resilience, sustainability, and citizen well-being
Successful thought leadership is a team sport, requiring close collaboration and the right blend of analytical, editorial, and marketing skills. For more information on how you can join these in-depth programs, please contact us today.