Thursday, 07 December 2023 04:36

Trends in innovation that’ll affect your 2024 business growth

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There's an ever-changing landscape in today's business world. It's vital for companies to constantly stay ahead of the curve for consistent growth. Failure to do so can render your business practices outdated at best and obsolete at worst.

One of my favorite events to attend each year is Ernst and Young's Strategic Growth Forum. In 2016, I was an award winner and have attended every year since.

It's fascinating to meet the individuals and companies who also attend and to note the changing trends in growth and innovation each year.

With that being said, here are a few innovative trends that stood out to me among a variety of businesses, as well as how these businesses are using them as they progress into 2024.

Having Purpose-Aligned Goals

A notable aspect of the event is the focus on supporting minority entrepreneurs with EY's Entrepreneur Access Network. One of the members, Ravi Norman, inspired me with his commitment to solving two critical challenges: Sustaining innovation through a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem and ensuring more resilient communities through energy and water efficiency and conservation.

His company, Sagiliti, uses data intelligence to reduce utility costs and improve sustainability metrics, while still prioritizing supplier diversity spend and job creation. There are companies that specialize in one – or many –  of these areas, but Sagiliti makes it a priority to satisfy all facets of the ESG journey.

More of the award recipients this year had these concentric goals for improving economic, social, and governance outcomes in a more comprehensive way. To me, this signals that an increasing number of companies are beginning to see success with these goals in mind.

While it's difficult to accomplish every one of these goals, consistent progress is an attractive company attribute that future business partners and clients alike will respect into 2024 and beyond.

Expanding Business Ecosystems Into Communities

When Apple first released the iPod and iPhone, it marked the beginning of one of the most successful ecosystems that has since attained a genuine following for their products. Some companies have an amazing flagship product that can catapult growth to new levels.

One example of this phenomenon that I encountered at the event was The Elf on the Shelf, which is a product my kids have adored over the years.

Now, my 10-year-old practices The Elf on the Shelf tradition for our younger kids. Their prior success in launching an Elf Pets line proved that an ecosystem could be created.

So, it was no surprise to hear that they plan to expand their reach even further by launching the Santaverse, a storytelling universe around the enchanted world of Santa Claus, with the hero brand The Elf on the Shelf at its center.

Needless to say, any company that has a dedicated following of users can easily expand into different service lines related to their flagship product.

Sometimes, growth is already on a trajectory with the main product, which indicates that it's time to look at the supporting areas that can be built around it.

Few brands have evolved into true massive communities. But, with today's tools like data, technology and platforms that can help you engage a large target audience, this kind of progression is much more achievable.

Integrating AI While Still Prioritizing People

In attending recent business events, I would occasionally worry about what would be discussed regarding AI becoming dominant in the world – and business in particular. However, this time I felt more confident about it, as many of the sessions were embracing AI. Additionally, they centered their focus on using AI as a resource when scaling your business.

The calculator didn't replace our brains, but it has certainly changed the way people accomplish work in various career fields. It's a tool that can be used to make things more efficient.

AI, on the other hand, is a different beast. In one of the sessions led by Hank Prybylski, EY Global Vice Chair - Transformation, he emphasized the trend of putting people and machines together to create new possibilities.

My experience aligns with this AI trend. With our companies, it's more about a blend of AI and people, rather than AI completely taking over.

As worried as I've been about AI, I'm now starting to see the opportunity it can present for businesses to scale. That is if it's used the right way, with human influence involved.

The trends shaping the business landscape in 2024 are certainly diverse and dynamic. From aligning purpose goals to expanding products into communities, successful businesses are those that adapt to different trends and leverage them to their advantage.

By staying attuned to the ever-changing business environment and implementing new innovative strategies, entrepreneurs can position their businesses for sustained growth in the future.

 

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