The 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey revealed a deep pessimism among business leaders of the prospects of 2020. Conducted between October and November 2019, there was no hint of a pandemic on the horizon, and yet more than half of surveyed CEOs were anticipating a decline in global GDP growth.
Cloudy outlook in 2020
PwC summed up the pessimism to one word – uncertainty. Among the many executives quoted in the PwC survey, two stood out to offer contrasting but linked views on where the economies of the world were headed and what needed to be done to rise above the challenges.
“I look at the pace of change; I look at the uncertainty in geopolitics; I look at the massive dislocation and rearrangement of global supply chains — there’s no way anybody can predict what’s going to happen in five years...The uncertainty we see today is unprecedented in the last 40 years. As a result, it’s taking growth out of the global economy,” said Spencer Fung, Group CEO of Li & Fung.
On a slightly more positive note, Jenny Sofian, CEO of Fullerton Fund Management in Singapore, cautioned that “Economies need to brace themselves for the shifts brought about by the technology wave. There is an imminent need to start building ecosystems focused on infrastructure and upskilling the workforce. Those economies which are actively developing their digital technologies and connectivity will find themselves primed to better capitalise on opportunities in the region.”
Fast forward to 2020, the world is in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic with only one certainty – unpredictability is the order of the day.
In a blog post, IDC analysts Marta Munoz and Vladimir Kroa offered a positive note: “it is important to keep track of the silver linings this crisis enables from a sustainability perspective. And particularly, when it comes to the role of technology in this crisis, there are plenty of those right now.”
On the back of these thoughts, FutureCIO spoke to Erich Gerber, SVP EMEA & APJ TIBCO on the topic of sustainable innovation, and how organisations may need to expand their transformation initiatives to include a sustainable agenda.
Click on the podcast player above to listen as Gerber answers the following questions:
- If there is one word (phrase) to describe what TIBCO is all about – what is that? And how does this description map to this year’s event theme of sustainable innovation?
- What is sustainable innovation and is it something in the radar of the office of the CIO? Why?
- Given the many concerns and priorities of the office of the CIO, can the CIO afford to spend the effort weeding through the many innovation priorities looking for that sustainable ones?
- How does a CIO mitigate against the risk of picking the wrong sustainable innovation?
- How do you create a sustainable culture of innovation?
- If you have to give one advice to the CIO on sustainable innovation, what would that be?
IDC says “this crisis is providing a training ground for companies to consider the parts of the business that can — and must — be digitised. This will be a key requirement in order to become more resilient for the future. Sustainability is, now more than ever, synonymous with business continuity and resiliency.”
With a mindset adept at change, leaders that arm themselves with the right technology and drive should be able to weather the storm of uncertainty to come out leaders of innovation.
As Robert E. Moritz, Global chairman at PwC remarked: “Changes in technology, policy and consumer behaviour will create new opportunities for success for those agile organisations who are able to develop differentiating capabilities in the area of data privacy, upskilling and sustainability.”