South African CEOs: A golden window of opportunity to disrupt
In the 21st century world of business, the only constant thing is change. According to the KPMG 2017 Global CEO Outlook, CEO’s are recognising the opportunities that come with the Fourth Industrial Revolution and are excited to make the most of it. South African CEO’s acknowledge this too.
However, they are yet to put their knowledge into practice: while the rest of the world is projecting greater investment in innovation, including new products, services, customer experience and ways of doing business, local captains of industry largely predict no new investment in these areas in the foreseeable future. This could speak to the climate of economic uncertainty they find themselves in. Globally, CEO’s have reported a loss of confidence in global economic growth, and many have taken a neutral, “wait and see” attitude toward economic change.
Regardless, many less developed Sub-Saharan economies have innovated a lot more than their current level of development would predict, and have proven that positive change is possible despite a negative economic outlook.
So is playing it safe worth it in the long run? As consumers demand more transparency and become more digitally savvy and critical, the ability to understand what customers value and how brands are perceived in the market is indispensable.
The effectiveness of any technological development depends on how companies use it to influence their customers’ decision making. By harnessing insights from nudging, CEO’s can capture the human element in the digital revolution. In other words by designing a superior process with a powerful interface that captures human intuition and brute force machine power you get a winning combination. Then you don’t only get intelligence, you get useful intelligence.
This is what our future consumers will demand and they will be unwilling to settle for a brand which can’t evolve with those demands. By applying behavioural principles to innovation, firms can get inside a consumer’s mind and improve the quality of their products and find better ways to engage with customers. This will boost competitiveness in a changing environment, securing a unique brand and identity.
When one looks at the pace of change, opposing revolutionary trends in technology guarantees failure and could lead to alienation in an increasingly digitalised market. South African CEO’s are aware of the rapid pace of technological change and its impact on their business, and now is the time to put that knowledge to use. If our leaders don’t take up the challenge and revolutionise they may lose out on a window of opportunity. An opportunity which can leapfrog their company into the digital era…and everyone knows this.
For more information:
 KPMG Global CEO Outlook; p95,133
 KPMG Global CEO Outlook; p24
 Disrupt and Grow, KPMG 2017 Global CEO Outlook; p11
 Disrupt and Grow, KPMG 2017 Global CEO Outlook; p25
 Disrupt and Grow, KPMH 2017 Global CEO Outlook; p29
 Disrupt and Grow, KPMG 2017 Global CEO Outlook; p10