We live in a time of great promise but also great uncertainty.
Leading the Future with Sompo, Japan
May 23, 2023 at Sompo, Japan with IE Business School
Sompo is one of Japan’s top insurance companies, and seeks to be a “Theme Park for Security, Health & Wellbeing”.
Kengo Sakurada, the Sompo Group CEO says that it is mainly engaged in the four businesses of domestic P&C insurance, overseas insurance, domestic life insurance, and nursing care & healthcare.
“To prevail in an age of VUCA – the current “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous” era – we have embraced a Group Management Philosophy that calls on us “to contribute to the security, health, and wellbeing of our customers and society as a whole by providing insurance and related services of the highest quality possible,” and thereby contribute to society.
Guided by this philosophy, Sompo says is seeks a globally unparalleled, unique, and progressive “Theme Park for Security, Health & Wellbeing.”
Leading the Future
Incredible technologies and geopolitical shifts, complex markets and stagnating growth, demanding customers and disruptive entrepreneurs, environmental crisis and social distrust, unexpected shocks and uncertain futures.
How do you make sense of today’s rapidly changing world? How will you succeed in tomorrow’s world?
We explore how businesses can survive and thrive, and move forwards to create a better future. How to reimagine strategy, to reinvent markets, to reenergise people. We consider what it means to combine meaningful purpose with superior profits, intelligent technologies with creative people, radical innovation with sustainable impact.
We learn from the innovative strategies of incredible companies – Alibaba and Amazon, Biontech and BlackRock, Narayana and Netflix, Patagonia and PingAn, Spotify and Supercell, and many more.
The old codes of business don’t work anymore. The most innovative companies – from Amazon and Bytedance, to Coupang and Deepmind – succeed with new codes. So what are the new ideas to win in a fast and dynamic world of Asian renaissance, entrepreneurial supremacy, social conscience and smarter machines? What can you learn from Jio’s revolution from petrochemicals to phones, and DBS’s transformation of banking? How can you be inspired by courageous leaders like 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki, Haier’s Zhang Ruimin and Citigroup’s Jane Fraser?
Examples of topics explored, accelerating moonshot ideas and impacts:
Markets and Megatrends
- Every market is shaken up, the big shifts, challenges and opportunities
- Asia to AI, GenZ and gene-editing, carbon and wellbeing, and the super-apps
- Disruptive technologies, society and environment, disrupt or be disrupted
- The 6 megatrends shaping futures, and what they mean for me
Creating purposeful futures
- Exploring the biggest challenges, and how business can be a force for good
- Creating an inspiring purpose and direction for your business
- Linking purpose to vision, mission, strategies, goals and operations
- Framing your business to look beyond industry boundaries
Unlocking profitable growth
- Developing strategic plans from the future back, and then now forward
- Understanding customers and consumers, new agendas and behaviours
- Innovative strategies for driving and accelerating (green) growth
- Building dual portfolios to exploit today, and explore tomorrow
Powering strategic innovation
- Driving strategic innovation, connecting insights and ideas, and moonshots
- Sustainable innovation to embrace social and environmental issues
- Exploring new business models, their diversity and implications
- Innovating in more entrepreneurial ways, experimental and venture ways
Being a transformational leader
- What does it take to lead in markets of relentless change and uncertainty?
- The changing role of leaders, what you do uniquely, and what others do
- Developing a transformational approach to your business and leadership
- Being curious, creative and courageous to create a better future.
Markets are more crowded, competition is intense, customer aspirations are constantly fuelled by new innovations and dreams. Technology disrupts every industry, from banking to construction, entertainment to healthcare. It drives new possibilities and solutions, but also speed and complexity, uncertainty and fear.
As digital and physical worlds fuse to augment how we live and work, AI and robotics enhance but also challenge our capabilities, whilst ubiquitous supercomputing, genetic editing and self-driving cars take us further.
Technologies with the power to help us leap forwards in unimaginable ways. To transform business, to solve our big problems, to drive radical innovation, to accelerate growth and achieve progress socially and environmentally too.
We are likely to see more change in the next 10 years than the last 250 years.
- Markets accelerate, 4 times faster than 20 years ago, based on the accelerating speed of innovation and diminishing lifecycles of products.
- People are more capable, 825 times more connected than 20 years ago, with access to education, unlimited knowledge, tools to create anything.
- Consumer attitudes change, 78% of young people choose brands that do good, they reject corporate jobs, and see the world with the lens of gamers.
However, change goes far beyond the technology.
Markets will transform, converge and evolve faster. From old town Ann Arbor to the rejuvenated Bilbao, today’s megacities like Chennai and the future Saudi tech city of Neom, economic power will continue to shift. China has risen to the top of the new global business order, whilst India and eventually Africa will follow.
Industrialisation challenges the natural equilibrium of our planet’s resources. Today’s climate crisis is the result of our progress, and our problem to solve. Globalisation challenges our old notions of nationhood and locality. Migration changes where we call home. Religious values compete with social values, economic priorities conflict with social priorities. Living standards improve but inequality grows.
Our current economic system is stretched to its limit. Global shocks, such as the global pandemic of 2020, exposes its fragility. We open our eyes to realise that we weren’t prepared for different futures, and that our drive for efficiency has left us unable to cope. Such crises will become more frequent, as change and disruption accelerate.
However, these shocks are more likely to accelerate change in business, rather than stifle it, to wake us up to the real impacts of our changing world – to the urgency of action, to the need to think and act more dramatically.
The old codes don’t work
Business is not fit for the future. Most organisations were designed for stable and predictable worlds, where the future evolves as planned, markets are definitive, and choices are clear.
The future isn’t like it used to be.
Dynamic markets are, by definition, turbulent. Whilst economic cycles have typically followed a pattern of peaks and troughs every 10-15 years, these will likely become more frequent. Change is fast and exponential, uncertain and unpredictable, complex and ambiguous demanding new interpretation and imagination.
Yet too many business leaders hope that the strategies that made them successful in the past will continue to work in the future. They seek to keep stretching the old models in the hope that they will continue to see them through. Old business plans are tweaked each year, infrastructures are tested to breaking point, and people are asked to work harder.
In a way of dramatic, unpredictable change, this is not enough to survive, let alone thrive.
- Growth is harder. Global GDP growth has declined by more than a third in the past decade. As the west stagnates, Asia grows, albeit more slowly.
- Companies struggle, their average lifespan falling from 75 years in 1950 to 15 years today, 52% of the Fortune 500 in 2000 no longer exist in 2020.
- Leaders are under pressure. 44% of today’s business leaders have held their position for at least 5 years, compared to 77% half a century ago.
Profit is no longer enough; people expect business to achieve more. Business cannot exist in isolation from the world around them, pursuing customers without care for the consequence. The old single-minded obsession with profits is too limiting. Business depends more than ever on its resources – people, communities, nature, partners – and will need to find a better way to embrace them.
Technology is no longer enough; innovation needs to be more human. Technology will automate and interpret reality, but it won’t empathise and imagine new futures. Ubiquitous technology-driven innovation quickly becomes commoditised, available from anywhere in the world, so we need to add value in new ways. The future is human, creative, and intuitive. People will matter more to business, not less.
Sustaining the environment is not enough. 200 years of industrialisation has stripped the planet of its ability to renew itself, and ultimately to sustain life. Business therefore needs to give back more than it takes. As inequality and distrust have grown in every society, traditional jobs are threatened by automation and stagnation, meaning that social issues will matter even more, both globally and locally.
The new DNA of business
As business leaders, our opportunity is to create a better business, one that is fit for the future, that can act in more innovative and responsible ways.
How can we harness the potential of this relentless and disruptive change, harness the talents of people and the possibilities of technology? How can business, with all its power and resources, be a platform for change, and a force for good?
We need to find new codes to succeed. We need to find new ways to work, to recognise business as a system that be virtuous, where less can be more, and growth can go beyond the old limits. This demands that we make new connections:
- Profit + Purpose … to achieve more enlightened progress
- Technology + Humanity … to achieve more human ingenuity
- Innovation + Sustainability … to achieve more positive impact
We need to create a new framework for business, a better business – to reimagine why and redesign how we work, as well as reinvent what and refocus where we do business.
Imagine a future business that looks forwards not back, that rises up to shape the future on its own terms, making sense of change to find new possibilities, inspiring people with vision and optimism. Imagine a future that inspires progress, seeks new sources of growth, embraces networks and partners to go further, and enables people to achieve more.
Imagine too, a future business that creates new opportunity spaces, by connecting novel ideas and untapped needs, creatively responding to new customer agendas. Imagine a future business that disrupts the disruptors, where large companies have the vision and courage to reimagine themselves and compete as equals to fast and entrepreneurial start-ups.
Imagine a future business that embraces humanity, searches for better ideas, that fuse technology and people in more enlightened ways, to solve the big problems of society, and improve everyone’s lives. Imagine a future business that works collectively, self-organises to thrive without hierarchy, connects with partners in rich ecosystems, designs jobs around people, to do inspiring work.
Imagine also, a future business which is continually transforming, that thrives by learning better and faster, develops a rich portfolio of business ideas and innovations to sustain growth and progress. Imagine a future business that creates positive impact on the world, benefits all stakeholders with a circular model of value creation, that addresses negatives, and creates a net positive impact for society.
Creating a better business is an opportunity for every person who works inside or alongside it. It is not just a noble calling, to do something better for the world, but also a practical calling, a way to overcome the many limits of today, and attain future success for you and your business.You could call it the dawn of a new capitalism.
More from Peter Fisk linked to these sessions
- Next Agenda of best ideas and priorities for business
- Megatrends 2030 in a world accelerated by pandemic
- 49 Codes to help you develop a better business future
- 250 companies innovators shaking up the world
- 100 leaders with the courage to shape a better future
- Education that is innovative, issue-driven, action-driving
- Consulting that is collaborative, strategic and innovative
- Speaking that is inspiring, topical, engaging and actionable