future-gazing

Our 2016 Business Predictions: from virtual offices to beyond big data

By Oliver Smith 21 December 2015
Aerial view of London with The Shard skyscraper and Thames river at sunset with grey clouds in the sky
Summary

We asked a panel of business experts how they expect our world will change next year.

Our world is rapidly changing in dramatic and unexpected ways.

With 2016 rapidly approaching we’re doing our own bit of future-gazing, looking at the worlds of business, finance and culture, and how these will all soon change and evolve.

Take a look at The Memo‘s Team Predictions as well as those of our panels of business, finance and culture experts.

The world of business has been transformed by technology, with our increasingly mobile lives turning traditional desk and office business practices upside down. We sat down with the CEOs, CTOs and executives from some of our favourite businesses leading this change in the way we work.

Here’s what they are expecting to change in 2016:


 

Roberta Lucca

Roberta is co-founder of Bossa Studios and WonderLuk.

“People want their favourite brands to know them better than they do. Big data is not the solution, but segmented data is”

Consumers have had enough of being offered what brands want to offer them, what’s available, what everyone likes. Since we share so much of our personal data and preferences with Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple and all apps on our phones, it’s pay back time.

People want their favourite brands to know them better than they do, so they’re not the ones filtering the one-size-fits-all experience they still get. Big data is not the solution, but segmented data is.

These improving algorithms of pattern recognition and curation will be a big trend in 2016.

Read more: Topshop launches first 3D printed accessory pop-up with Wonderluk


 

Jeremy Waite

Jeremy is head of EMEA Digital Strategy at Salesforce.

“In 2016, privacy well go from being a niche consideration in the domain of human resources, legal and IT teams, to be a core value to which customers will respond”

In the past, it has been suggested that only 5% of the population really cared about privacy and would likely change their online behaviour based upon privacy risks. But research is starting to show that the vast majority of customers are now concerned about their personal data, how it is being used, and are nervous that their communications may be read by someone other than the intended recipient.

In 2016, privacy well go from being a niche consideration in the domain of human resources, legal and IT teams, to be a core value to which customers will respond.

With data breaches and privacy incidents regularly being reported in the press, leading organisations will shift privacy from being a legal / risk question to one that is addressed as part of the marketing strategy.

Transparency around data security, as well as providing clarity around privacy protection will not just become a legal hygiene issue, but one that impacts customer churn and in turn increases share-of-wallet and customer satisfaction.

As tempting as it is to gather valuable data as quickly as possible, in order to serve content, ads or marketing messages that deliver a perceived return on investment, the most successful marketers in 2016 will be creating such compelling customer experiences that they create more value than they capture.

To take the words of Avinash Kaushik, Google’s chief evangelist:

Information is powerful. It is how we use it that will define us”.


 

Phil Cox

Phil is head of EMEA and president of Silicon Valley Bank’s UK Branch.

“VR will move beyond the realm of the video gamer and into the office”

I’m expecting to see exciting developments in virtual reality (VR) in 2016, with VR headsets selling out over Christmas and the market valued at $5.1 billion in 2016.

Moving beyond the realm of the video gamer and into the office, VR will turn distance learning, crisis prevention training and online shopping into very real experiences.


 

Philip Colligan

Philip is CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Pic: Raspberry Pi Foundation.

“Low-cost computing will bring about a new wave of creativity”

The availability of low-cost, high-powered computing devices (like the Raspberry Pi) has already transformed the maker landscape, with millions of hobbyist engineers hacking new inventions to solve problems that matter to them.

“Devices like the Raspberry Pi zero (the world’s first $5 computer) have finally removed the cost barrier and, this year, we’ll see the impact of low-cost computing accelerate in both industry and education, unleashing a new wave of innovation and creativity.”

Watch: Philip Colligan on this RSA panel on ‘digital making‘ chaired by The Memo reporter, Kitty Knowles.


 

Edwina Dunn

The co-founder and former CEO of Dunnhumby, a British data science business behind Tesco’s Clubcard, Edwina is now CEO of consumer insights group Starcount.

“In 2016, brands will be increasingly predicting their customers’ wants and needs”

Customer insight is changing.  No longer is it enough for brands to take a rear-view mirror approach to understanding their customers, focusing on what they have already done or bought.

Next generation customer insight will draw on multiple data sources, creating a rich blend of insight that cuts to the heart of customer’s interests and passions. This allows brands to know what their customers will do; their aspirations and motivations that lead to purchases.

In 2016, brands will be increasingly predicting their customers’ wants and needs, and understanding the ‘why’ behind their purchases. This will help to inform everything from board level strategic decisions to individual customer communication, and, ultimately, the acquisition of new customers at scale.


 

Aron Gelbard

Aron is co-Founder and CEO at flower delivery service Bloom & Wild.

“Better personalised mobile experiences”

One of the most exciting technology trends of 2016 will be the personalisation of mobile experiences.

Consumers are obviously increasingly interacting with technologies on their mobiles, and limited space means that the experience needs to be bespoke and targeted to a user’s circumstances (whereas on desktop devices, with more space, users might be more tolerant of a range of options).

At Bloom & Wild, we’ll be investing heavily in personalising our app and site experience in 2016 so that our users will see products and options that are bespoke to their particular circumstances – this is part of our commitment to making our ordering experience as easy and relevant as possible.

Read more: Bloom & Wild raises millions as luxury tech booms

Take a look at The Memo’s Team Predictions as well as those of our panels of business, finance and culture experts.