Pioneers and Transformers … Leading Airbus towards a Better Future
March 23, 2023 at Airbus, Toulouse, France
- Download Peter Fisk’s keynote “Pioneers and Transformers“.
- Read more from Peter Fisk on “Corporate Pioneers“.
Airbus is a global pioneer in the aerospace industry, operating in the commercial aircraft, helicopters, defence and space sectors.
The Toulouse-based organisation has always been at the forefront of innovating new technologies, with a pioneering spirit that has redefined the aerospace industry. Airbus’ aircraft research and design “bring people closer together, helping them unite and progress”. It strives to “continually push the boundaries on what is possible to safeguard our world for future generations.”
Airbus is a leader in designing, manufacturing and delivering aerospace products, services and solutions to customers on a worldwide scale. With around 130,000 employees and as the largest aeronautics and space company in Europe and a worldwide leader, Airbus is at the forefront of the aviation industry.
It builds the most innovative commercial aircraft and consistently capture about half of all commercial airliner orders. This is built on a deep understanding of changing market needs, customer focus and technological innovation, to offer products that connect people and places via air and space.
Megatrends and Metaverses
Growth is shifting, innovation is relentless, disruption is accelerating, expectations are high, and social tensions are rising. Making sense, and making use, of these dramatic forces of change will help you to make better strategic choices, shape markets to your advantage, and create a brighter future.
The “megatrends” may not surprise you, the question is how will they influence your future – both as challenge, and opportunity – and how, within your strategies and innovations, will you embrace the most significant forces of change?
I spent some time comparing the many different approaches to tracking and articulating these patterns of change, to find out which trends are the most common, and the most significant.
Isn’t it obvious? Technology is shaping everything? Yes, but its the implications of that, which matter.
Trends guide your future choices. It’s the oldest adage in investing, and it applies to projecting future business performance too. McKinsey’s recent analysis shows that riding the right waves of change, created by industry and geographic trends, is the most important contributor tobusiness results … a company benefiting from such tailwinds is 4-8 times more likely to rise to the top of future performers.
Sci-fi author William Gibson is often quoted saying “The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet”. That’s partly true. Add, the view of American computer scientist Alan Kay who says “the best way to predict the future is to invent it”.
The real question therefore is how will you use megatrends to help understand the possibilities, and then how can you shape your future, in the way you’d like it to emerge?
- Megatrends 2030: Compilation of all the trends
- Megatrends 2020-2030 keynote and workshop, by Peter Fisk
- Trend Compendium 2050 report by Roland Berger
- Global Megatrends 2022 by PMI
- Megatrends 2020 and Beyond by EY
- Megatrends Insights 2022 by BlackRock
- Megatrends in Travel 2023 by SITA
- Megatrends in Travel 2023 by Skift
New strategies for new futures
We live in a time of great promise but also great uncertainty.
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
- Business Futures Project by Peter Fisk
- 49 Codes to help you develop a better business future
- 250 innovative companies shaking up every market
- 100 inspiring 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