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Andrew Curry writes: Businesses need to change in response to the changing business environment, or they will struggle. That’s the short version of our recently published Future Perspective report, The 21st Century Business, which I have co-written with Jules Peck of Jericho Chambers.

The argument goes as follows: the external environment in which businesses operate is changing significantly, in three particular ways:

When the landscape shifts, so businesses have to find new ways of working, and 21st Century Business identifies six significant shifts in the way that successful 21st companies will do business, to generate new value. These are, in summary:

Together these raise interesting questions about the way that businesses think about their customers and their markets, about their innovation processes, and about their workforce.

The underlying story is that businesses are operating in a far more open environment, and are therefore far more vulnerable to external change. In the 20th century, businesses – at least of any size – set out to manage their entivonment. Now they need to adapt to it, and have mechanisms to absorb change and then respond to it.

For me a couple of important points come out, which we write about as guiding principles.

The first is that culture is more important than strategy: in a more open environment, everyone needs to know what do do and why you are doing it.

And the second is that intrinsic, or internal, personal values are a better guide to action than extrinsic values driven by more materialist views of the world. This is true both of customers and staff. It leads to deeper, longer-lasting relationships and creates new platforms for growth.

The report is available on our website. The cover design, seen at the top of this post, is by The Futures Company’s Gus Newsam.

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