World map of opportunities
"World maps of opportunities": Roland Berger Strategy Consultants sees big growth potential for businesses and economies in main megatrends
- Changing the perspective on climate change, resource scarcity and demographics: the optimistic assessment
- Making the scarcity of material and human resources an economic driver of innovation and growth: Those who manage scarcity best will profit from megatrends
- Second issue of the new "THOUGHTS" series published by Roland Berger School of Strategy and Economics (RBSE)
With "Megatrends", the second issue of THOUGHTS, the experts at Roland Berger School of Strategy & Economics build on the confident economic scenario it developed for 2012. The starting point of both publications is the conviction that companies should not be confused or misled by short-term upheavals and trend reversals. Rather, they should stay focused on fundamental strengths and underlying developments. The analysis here focuses on precisely those trends that will provide a long-term framework for predicting business opportunities and risks. These megatrends are climate change, demographics and resource scarcity.
"We reinterpret the most important megatrends and look for perspectives that are not dominated by the usual threat scenarios," says Roland Berger Strategy Consultants' Chairman Prof. Burkhard Schwenker, describing the publication's objective. "It is widely assumed that we are rapidly aging, that our industry is running out of resources and that economic growth only exacerbates the climatic disaster. We pose the question differently: What new demand will be created by climate change, demographics and resource scarcity? What kinds of companies are best positioned to meet this new demand? And which economies will benefit?"
Growth potential in every part of the world
The "World maps of opportunities" examines climate change, demographics and resource scarcity and shows how they are creating new demand for products and services in virtually every part of the world. For instance, regions affected by climate change will increasingly need protection against flooding, irrigation systems against drought and productivity-boosting technologies against climate-driven declines in food production. In countries with a shrinking and aging population, labor will have to be deployed more productively. This demands new production methods and technologies. And demographic changes bring with them new consumption needs. As for regions running out of resources, the trend is toward more efficient use of raw materials, on the one hand, and the introduction of alternative energy sources and non-fossil-based solutions, on the other. "Megatrends", the latest publication in the "THOUGHTS" series from Roland Berger School of Strategy and Economics (RBSE), seeks to identify, assess and "map out" the various opportunities and gains in a systematic way.
Among the winners we can expect to find companies that are already active in the key "green" lead markets, including energy, resource and material efficiency, sustainable water management, mobility or recycling. The companies set to take advantage of the big trends will, above all, be those selling productivity improvements of various kinds. This could take the form of automation, but also age-appropriate production structures or new production materials. Other well-positioned companies are those providing collective infrastructure solutions for life in the world's mushrooming cities or, conversely, in the increasingly depopulated countryside. There are companies that offer innovative and attractive healthcare or long-term care services or can tailor products to the consumption patterns of the growing numbers of "best agers".
The economies particularly well-prepared for megatrend opportunities have a dynamic and innovative industrial sector. They need companies that are international leaders in their field and represent an intelligent cross-section of industries – including mechanical, systems and electrical engineering along with high-value technological services. Front-runners here are European countries like Germany, France, the Scandinavian countries, (North) Italy or Poland. Outside Europe, Korea is also well-positioned, as is Chile, Brazil and, of course, potentially stronger players the US and China and, no doubt, Japan, too.
Action recommendations for companies and governments
The RBSE experts have derived a number of recommendations for action from their findings. It concludes that megatrends offer considerable growth opportunities to economies or regions that pursue intelligent industrial policies. Policy must aim at strengthening industrial competence and advancing core industrial strengths, thus creating the right conditions for clustering high-value services that can join with the manufacturing sector to deliver new solutions. This requires research policies deliberately aligned along the megatrends and targeted investment in relevant research projects: energy, new materials, surface technologies, nano-electronics and organic electronics.
The winners will be those economies that focus on health, education, flexibility and mobility. They must also create an environment that encourages companies to think and act optimistically in the spirit of entrepreneurship.
The RBSE attempts, in its analytical work, to draw together the different strands of macroeconomic, microeconomic and sociopolitical developments. "We want to gain a better grasp of the complexity that increasingly characterizes our world. A more complete understanding allows us to optimize our strategies, closely dovetail concepts and applications, and design – through interdisciplinary collaboration with renowned academics – effective methods and training programs," says Prof. Burkhard Schwenker.Roland Berger School of Strategy and Economics (RBSE) is the new research, knowledge and teaching unit of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. RBSE's mission is to help business leaders master complexity and set up sustainable strategies. We build bridges between theory and practice. With innovative teaching approaches, we share our insights within our global network. In so doing, we build up a best-in-class knowledge organization.
You can find the "THOUGHTS" publications as well as further information on the Roland Berger School of Strategy and Economics at www.rolandberger.com/RBSE.
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