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All throughout 2019 I have been sharing with clients and audiences that this new decade will signify the end of many of the pillars that sustained modern society.

Our civilisation will shift away from 19th century mindsets and deviate from 20th century business models because digitalisation and machine intelligence have finally permeated every scientific and engineering discipline, catalysing the enormous potential of each; that the perfect technological storm has formed across software, hardware, computational ability, platforms, the informational potential of objects, and our own evolution towards more emotionally intelligent beings. 

Progress, or how to assess the incremental value of our achievements, used to be calculated by accounting all patent filings, discoveries and innovations attained within each century. That was the rule of thumb before digitalisation disrupted everything in its path. When in 2011 software was unofficially declared to be eating the world, the exponential rise of disruptive innovations showed that by 2014, we had already surpassed all the certified deeds that it took us a hundred years to accomplish in the century prior. If progress was a numbers game, we had already beat it. 

Progress is a notion that drove us to create the “Better” society. Progressive iterations optimised products and business practices in small, but considerable increments. That is not the speed of progress in the 2020 society. As digitalisation grows exponentially, within a handful of years it reaches a vertical velocity that accelerates everything in its way. That’s why it is disruptive. Before you know it, the startups or your competitors have beaten you at a game that you though you had mastered. The FinTech startups were never about savings accounts, mortgages or home insurance. They mined customer data and sold it. Microsoft bought GitHub and still no one got it. It took a whole 18 months to see the point of it for the majority of industry commentators. 

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So what is progress in the 2020 industry?

Value Creation. Our ability to deliver benefits based on competitive attributes that have very little to do with quantifiable items. It relies on human capital, tacit knowledge, a culture of creativity, of human-centric products and services. These attributes cannot be replicated. They are nurtured and grown from within each company. 

Innovation. Going beyond “Better” to radically transform any given thing into a superior version of itself. Innovation requires a mindset comfortable to navigate challenging environments, optimism that liberates our thinking in order to dream up limitless possibilities, passion and dedication. 

Purpose. Without a clear, meaningful reason, progress cannot happen with its true potential. 

These are the new corporate pillars, that sustain the new brand promises, the new corporate cultures, the new client collaborations and consumer loyalties. #progress2020