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Changing Life Trends Will Affect Future Entrepreneurs. Five Things You Need To Know

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Steve Jobs called it ‘collecting dots.’ It’s where you read and investigate several things at the same time, both historical and then looking forward. It might be researching an industry, studying the economic and industry trends, looking at technology trends, looking at what’s trending with emerging generations like Gen Z and Millennials. Well, you gather all this ‘information’ and collate it into dots to see where the dots of information intersect, where they lineup and where they might point into the future.

Speaking of the future, quite a few research, consulting and accounting firms like Gartner, McKinsey, Accenture and Deloitte publish industry reports focused on the future, either on trends, industry, or emerging markets. One of these reports by Accenture focusses on life trends which is become more and more important to Gen Z and Millennials as they seem very focused on all thing’s future be it climate, environment, housing and happiness.

The Accenture Life Trends 2024 report highlights several life trends that may provide insights on what types of companies future entrepreneurs may want to create. We will provide some insight into these life trends and hopefully provide some food for thought as it relates to current and future entrepreneurs.

Customer’s will always be number one. The article talks about how companies, due to either profitability concerns or the use of next generation technology, may actually be moving customer satisfaction down the priority list. That would be a mistake. Especially with the values of Gen Z and Millennials who expect brand trust, transparency, honesty and being kind to the planet as critical. These generations will ‘sniff’ right through any shortcoming in customer satisfaction or other values they hold dear. If you are thinking of creating a company and serving these generations, spend lots of time getting to know them, their joys and fears, then deliver a company that puts them at the center.

AI, are you talking to me? As more and more companies incorporate generative Ai into their transaction and business models, it’s going to be a two-way street as it regards customers. The level of personalization through mobile and Internet technologies has already risen quite high. Now, place an Ai tool perspective into the ‘conversations’ or interactions with customers and it’s gets really interesting. On the one hand, it can actually get more personal. On the other hand, it can go to places where the ‘brand’ humanity will suffer. Who will train the ‘language’ the Ai tool will use? Will it understand the values of the brand? Will the customer feel they are actually being heard? Interesting times. No matter what you do or employ, stay on the humanity of the brand as your NorthStar.

When did the goal become mediocrity? No one person, company or brand sets out to be mediocre. But that is exactly what could happen as you employ next generation Ai or technology across your company. Your intentions are to improve the business processes, maintain control over costs, be as efficient as possible. So, where does innovation and creativity play in this environment? Will employees have the will and latitude to be creative or will the ‘systems’ control the level of creativity in the company? Fortune favors the bold. Yet, how bold and creative will people be allowed to be in an environment designed to be technology, process and rules driven?

Are we using technology or is it using us? Not too long ago, it seemed like we adopted technology that we used for very certain things and we controlled it. Now, the technology is so sophisticated, forget about how Ai will accelerate this, that it is starting to seem like technology might be asserting its control. Algorithms that make research or buying decisions, inventory reordering programs, supply chain decision making and so on. Using Google maps for travel and it suggests an alternate route based on traffic conditions…who is making that decision? However, entrepreneurs use technology in the future, it needs to fit into our lives not control them.

The traditional life route has changed. Used to be in the 1960’s you worked hard, got married, bought a house, had kids, worked harder and then you retired to Florida. Well, that is gone. For Gen Z and Millennials today, they have no real path of milestones and definition of success. As they look at their lives, they are searching for less historical milestones and more along the lines of what defines happiness, success, purpose and ultimately some kind of balance between life and work. As a new startup or brand, you need to be aware of this generation's perspective which is more ‘life’ centric than work and know that they are still working their way through it.

Like most industry or trend reports, it’s interesting reading as most are. After all, it’s all about ‘collecting dots’ to gain some kind of insightful understanding of the future.

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