Futurist Bernard Salt reveals to The Capital Network’s Lelde Smits the top three surprising business trends impacting Australian companies and individuals.
Lelde Smits: Hello I’m Lelde Smits from The Capital Network. Joining me here on the streets of Melbourne is social commentator and futurist, Bernard Salt. Bernard, wonderful to speak with you.
Bernard Salt: My pleasure.
Lelde Smits: Now Bernard, you are very well known for predicting trends and social commentary. Can you tell us what do you see as the top three business trends that may be surprising to Australians?
Bernard Salt: The top three business trends may be surprising to some Australians, they might be quite predictable in many respects. The first one is the rise of knowledge work and knowledge workers. I think in order to prosper in the 21st century in Australia, and pretty much in any developed world, you need a university degree or technical training.
Lelde Smits: So it’s getting more competitive?
Bernard Salt: More competitive. Skilled work in the future is the work of the future.
Lelde Smits: That was one trend -
Bernard Salt: Then of course the rise of China. Again, fairly standard. But you cannot ignore the fact that China is the greatest wealth generating region of our time. It’s coming off a low base of course and creating extraordinary opportunities. Not just for Australia but for a number of nations. In food, energy, resources, commodities, to me that is a major factor for Australia going forward.
Lelde Smits: OK and one more -
Bernard Salt: And one more of course is the rise of lifestyle. Again I think it’s particularly unique to Australia. Australian’s have always had an obsession, from the three bedroom brick veneer on a quarter of an acre block in the 1950s to the four bedroom, two bathroom McMansion that we have on the edge of town.
We are a people that have benefited from easy prosperity and we’ve turned it into lifestyle. Even the cafés, the bars, the restaurants…
Lelde Smits: Which Melbourne certainly knows a lot about here -
Bernard Salt: If you’re doing business in Australia, always look for a thread back to lifestyle. Does it enhance their lifestyle? If it does, Australians will grab it with both hands.
Lelde Smits: When we look at this from a business perspective, where are the biggest opportunities for companies wanting to take advantage of these trends in the future?
Bernard Salt: I think the biggest opportunity would have to be about re-thinking business models. This is the idea of digital disruption if you like. If you actually link in lifestyle with knowledge work with China and digital disruption then you would actually have the four or five things that are absolutely driving business at the moment.
So, is there a way you can think laterally? How can you harness left-field thinking in you organization in order to come up with a completely new business model. I think this is the most exciting of doing business today. That the old ways of doing things are just not cutting it anymore. What the next generation wants, both as workers and consumers, is a new business model. Come up with new ideas.
Lelde Smits: Well that is certainly a wonderful way to finish the interview, new ideas. Thank you so much for sharing yours today.
Bernard Salt: My pleasure.